Colorado's Chucky Jeffery shoots a layup on Friday, Nov. 25, during a basketball game against Valparaiso University at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder.
Photo by Jeremy Papasso
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Colorado's 4-0 start hasn't been easy.
It's only appeared that way.
On Friday, the Buffaloes routed Valparaiso 60-32 at Coors Events Center in the opening round of the Omni Hotels Classic.
CU is 4-0 for the first time since the 2000-01 season, and all four wins have come by at least 13 points.
"We've put in a lot of hard work, so that's why it looks easy," sophomore guard Ashley Wilson said. "In a sense, it's just a reward for us because we work hard."
Chucky Jeffery just missed a double-double, with 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Lexy Kresl and Brittany Wilson chipped in 10 points each. Defensively, CU gave up its fewest points since a 64-29 win over Texas Southern on Dec. 14, 2007.
"Our defense was outstanding," head coach Linda Lappe said. "We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different players, so that was fun to see. It was good to see us all work together.
"I thought our defense really spurred us and led us."
Going for their third straight Omni Classic title, the Buffs will take on Wisconsin (2-4) at 7:30 p.m. today. Valparaiso (0-4) and Montana State (3-2) will meet at 5 p.m. in the third-place game.
CU got to the championship game by shaking off some early rust and rolling past the overmatched Crusaders. Valparaiso got within19-13 late in the first half, but the outcome was no longer in doubt by halftime.
Sparked by Jeffery, CU closed the half on a 16-0 run. Jeffery scored all of her points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to cap the run.
"I was excited," said Jeffery, who had nine points in the final 2 minutes of the half. "We just were feeling it. That run was big for us, especially going into halftime because we had all the momentum and it kinda just flattens out the other team."
CU has done that a lot this season. This was the third time in four games that the Buffs had a run of at least 15-0. Friday's run actually stretched to 21-0 when Kresl scored the first five points of the second half.
"That's what we practice and what we know we have to do," Jeffery said of getting a big lead early. "Because if we come out flat, the same thing could happen to us. We know that every time we come out, we have to throw the first punch. We have to be aggressive, we have to play defense hard. That's just what we're taught."
During their 21-0 run, the Buffs held the Crusaders scoreless for 10 minutes, 3 seconds. CU's lead never dipped below the 19-point mark after that.
"We're showing a little bit of the attitude of when we get somebody down, we want to keep going," Lappe said. "I think that's important, too, not to let teams come back and get back into the games, but to keep your foot on the gas pedal and keep going. ... If you can always get your runs and never let the other team really get their runs, you're going to win a lot of games."
So far, that's what the Buffs have done, and that's what they'll look to do tonight against Wisconsin.
"It feels real good, but we can't take it for granted," Ashley Wilson said. "Now we've just got to keep going and keep getting better and better."
SATURDAY: The Colorado Buffaloes (4-0) host the Wisconsin Badgers (2-4) at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game of the Omni Hotels Classic at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Radio 760 AM, with Mike Rice handling play-by-play duties.
STORYLINES: This is the third consecutive year that CU has reached the championship game in its own tournament. ... CU has four players averaging at least 11 points per game -- Chucky Jeffery (14.5), Brittany Wilson (12.5), Lexy Kresl (12.5) and Jen Reese (11.0). ... The Buffs are allowing just 50.8 points per game and opponents are shooting just 32.6 percent from the floor. ... Wisconsin's Taylor Wurtz has scored at least 14 points in all six games this season. ... Badgers point guard Jade Davis is from Highlands Ranch High School.
KEY STAT: Colorado is 14-6 in Omni Hotels Classic championship games, including wins over Loyola Chicago last year and Harvard in 2009.
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 22-16 in her second season at CU and 72-52 overall. Bobbie Kelsey is 2-4 in her first year at Wisconsin and overall.
PROBABLE STARTERS (2010-11 stats): Colorado -- G Chucky Jeffery, 5-10, Jr., 14.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 5.5 agp; G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, So., 12.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 spg; F Meagan Malcolm-Peck, 6-2, Jr., 6.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg; F Julie Seabrook, 6-3, Sr., 5.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg; C Rachel Hargis, 6-4, So., 6.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg. Wisconsin -- G Jade Davis, 5-9, Sr., 5.5 ppg, 3.5 apg; G Taylor Wurtz, 6-0, Jr., 17.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg; G Morgan Paige, 5-9, So., 9.0 ppg, 2.2 apg; F Ashley Thomas, 6-2, Sr., 7.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg; F Anya Covington, 6-2, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg.
SERIES: Wisconsin won the only other meeting, 60-59, on March 21, 1982 in the first round of the AIAW National Tournament in Austin, Texas.
UP NEXT: Colorado will host San Francisco on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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