On paper, Thursday's game between Denver and Colorado figured to be a tough battle throughout.

On the only paper that mattered -- the postgame stat sheet -- it was a blowout.

Chucky Jeffery scored 20 points, Lexy Kresl added 13 and Colorado's defense dominated in a 71-36 rout of the Pioneers at Coors Events Center.

"We expected a really good basketball game and unfortunately CU played the only really good basketball game," said DU head coach Erik Johnson, whose team defeated the Buffs 70-69 a year ago.

After two subpar games on the defensive end, CU (8-0) played suffocating defense against the Pioneers (6-3).

"Defensively, we really stuck to the game plan," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. "We played a really smart game and I thought our players really executed and played with a tremendous amount of focus. We were on a mission and I felt like you could see that. Our players really responded to everything that DU threw at us."

CU is 8-0 for just the third time in program history, which dates back to 1975. The Buffs also started 8-0 in 1992-93 (15-0 start) and 1980-81 (12-0).

To remain unbeaten, the Buffs focused their efforts on DU's top two scorers -- Kaetlyn Murdoch and Quincey Noonan. Together, they came in averaging 17.3 points per game. They combined for 10 points, on 5-for-15 shooting, against the Buffs. Murdoch had a season-low eight points.

"That was huge," Jeffery said. "They were keys in the game plan. We knew we couldn't let them come in our gym and go off, because they're capable of it. We frustrated them a lot. Our defense was on."

Colorado’s Julie Seabrook (right) fights her way toward the basket while being guarded by Denver University’s Maiya Michel (left) during their
Colorado's Julie Seabrook (right) fights her way toward the basket while being guarded by Denver University's Maiya Michel (left) during their basketball game at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado December 8, 2011. (Mark Leffingwell)

Johnson said CU's defense wasn't a surprise, "but, I was just disappointed that we weren't able to handle it any better than we did."

The defense allowed the Buffs to keep the lead throughout the first half, despite 14 turnovers.

Julie Seabrook sparked the offense with six straight points late in the half, though, and then CU closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 28-17 lead into intermission. The last two buckets of the half came on Jeffery 3-pointers, including a half-court buzzer-beater.

With the way Jeffery's been shooting lately -- 9-for-10 on Thursday and 29-for-41 (71 percent) the past three games -- it's no wonder that shot went in.

"As soon as it left my hand, it felt good," said Jeffery, who is averaging 25.3 points in the last three games.

Kresl drained a 3-pointer to start the second half and that ignited a 24-8 run.

"That run was great," said Kresl, who had all 13 of her points in that surge. "The energy was good right out of the half. We hit the first shot of the half and we just kept going. Our defensive pressure stepped up a lot and we hit the boards a lot harder. We started trying harder, I feel like."

CU's win prevented the Pioneers from a Front Range sweep. DU had already defeated Air Force, Colorado State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming this season.

"We've been really excited to play them again just because of last year and also because they have beaten every other Colorado team," Seabrook said. "We couldn't let them sweep the state. Obviously we didn't let that happen and it's awesome. We're really excited about that."

Mostly, the Buffs were thrilled to beat a quality opponent. DU is a favorite in the Sun Belt Conference and its only losses have come against undefeated foes -- Vanderbilt, UTEP and Colorado.

"They're going to win a lot of games," Lappe said. "They're picked to win their league. We thought it was going to be a tough game and we wanted to come ready. We wanted to make sure we were the aggressors. We wanted to make sure we threw the first punch."

Colorado 71, Denver 36 DENVER (36)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

Michel 23 1-5 0-0 0-0 4 1 2

Murdoch 31 4-8 0-0 0-0 4 1 8

Noonan 29 1-7 0-1 0-0 3 2 2

Smith 28 3-8 0-1 4-6 2 0 10

Shell 21 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 1 2

Van Riper-Rose 27 1-7 1-4 1-2 3 1 4

Johnston 17 2-6 0-2 0-2 0 0 4

Powell 12 2-7 0-1 0-0 3 0 4

Wirth 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Janecek 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Tisch 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 2

Totals 200 15-50 1-9 5-10 23 6 36

Assists (8): Smith 5, Noonan, Shell, Powell.

Steals (10): Noonan 3, Murdoch 2, Smith 2, Van Riper-Rose, Johnston, Powell.

Turnovers (16): Noonan 4, Smith 4, Michel 2, Murdoch 2, Johnston 2, Shell, Van Riper-Rose.

Blocked shots (0): None.

COLORADO (71)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

MM-Peck 26 2-4 2-3 0-0 6 3 6

Seabrook 30 4-5 0-0 0-0 4 0 8

Hargis 18 2-7 0-0 0-0 2 1 4

Kresl 21 5-9 3-6 0-0 3 2 13

Jeffery 33 9-10 2-3 0-0 6 1 20

Lee 4 2-2 2-2 0-0 0 0 6

B. Wilson 21 1-7 1-5 0-0 4 4 3

A. Wilson 19 3-3 1-1 2-2 5 4 9

Sborov 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 0 0

BM-Peck 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Reese 21 1-5 0-0 0-0 4 0 2

Team 1

Totals 200 29-52 11-20 2-2 38 15 71

Assists (20): Jeffery 6, B. Wilson 4, Hargis 3, Reese 3, A. Wilson 2, M. Malcolm-Peck 2.

Steals (9): M. Malcolm-Peck 2, Hargis 2, Jeffery 2, Seabrook, Kresl, A. Wilson.

Turnovers (19): Jeffery 9, B. Wilson 4, Seabrook 2, Hargis 2, M. Malcolm-Peck, A. Wilson.

Blocked shots (0): None.

Halftime score: Colorado 28, Denver 17.

Technical fouls -- none.

Attendance -- 1,965.

"That was huge," Jeffery said. "They were keys in the game plan. We knew we couldn't let them come in our gym and go off, because they're capable of it. We frustrated them a lot. Our defense was on."

Johnson said CU's defense wasn't a surprise, "but, I was just disappointed that we weren't able to handle it any better than we did."

The defense allowed the Buffs to keep the lead throughout the first half, despite 14 turnovers.

Julie Seabrook sparked the offense with six straight points late in the half, though, and then CU closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 28-17 lead into intermission. The last two buckets of the half came on Jeffery 3-pointers, including a half-court buzzer-beater.

With the way Jeffery's been shooting lately -- 9-for-10 on Thursday and 29-for-41 (71 percent) the past three games -- it's no wonder that shot went in.

"As soon as it left my hand, it felt good," said Jeffery, who is averaging 25.3 points in the last three games.

Kresl drained a 3-pointer to start the second half and that ignited a 24-8 run.

"That run was great," said Kresl, who had all 13 of her points in that surge. "The energy was good right out of the half. We hit the first shot of the half and we just kept going. Our defensive pressure stepped up a lot and we hit the boards a lot harder. We started trying harder, I feel like."

CU's win prevented the Pioneers from a Front Range sweep. DU had already defeated Air Force, Colorado State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming this season.

"We've been really excited to play them again just because of last year and also because they have beaten every other Colorado team," Seabrook said. "We couldn't let them sweep the state. Obviously we didn't let that happen and it's awesome. We're really excited about that."

Mostly, the Buffs were thrilled to beat a quality opponent. DU is a favorite in the Sun Belt Conference and its only losses have come against undefeated foes -- Vanderbilt, UTEP and Colorado.

"They're going to win a lot of games," Lappe said. "They're picked to win their league. We thought it was going to be a tough game and we wanted to come ready. We wanted to make sure we were the aggressors. We wanted to make sure we threw the first punch."

Colorado 71, Denver 36 DENVER (36)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

Michel 23 1-5 0-0 0-0 4 1 2

Murdoch 31 4-8 0-0 0-0 4 1 8

Noonan 29 1-7 0-1 0-0 3 2 2

Smith 28 3-8 0-1 4-6 2 0 10

Shell 21 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 1 2

Van Riper-Rose 27 1-7 1-4 1-2 3 1 4

Johnston 17 2-6 0-2 0-2 0 0 4

Powell 12 2-7 0-1 0-0 3 0 4

Wirth 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Janecek 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Tisch 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 2

Totals 200 15-50 1-9 5-10 23 6 36

Assists (8): Smith 5, Noonan, Shell, Powell.

Steals (10): Noonan 3, Murdoch 2, Smith 2, Van Riper-Rose, Johnston, Powell.

Turnovers (16): Noonan 4, Smith 4, Michel 2, Murdoch 2, Johnston 2, Shell, Van Riper-Rose.

Blocked shots (0): None.

COLORADO (71)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

MM-Peck 26 2-4 2-3 0-0 6 3 6

Seabrook 30 4-5 0-0 0-0 4 0 8

Hargis 18 2-7 0-0 0-0 2 1 4

Kresl 21 5-9 3-6 0-0 3 2 13

Jeffery 33 9-10 2-3 0-0 6 1 20

Lee 4 2-2 2-2 0-0 0 0 6

B. Wilson 21 1-7 1-5 0-0 4 4 3

A. Wilson 19 3-3 1-1 2-2 5 4 9

Sborov 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 0 0

BM-Peck 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Reese 21 1-5 0-0 0-0 4 0 2

Team 1

Totals 200 29-52 11-20 2-2 38 15 71

Assists (20): Jeffery 6, B. Wilson 4, Hargis 3, Reese 3, A. Wilson 2, M. Malcolm-Peck 2.

Steals (9): M. Malcolm-Peck 2, Hargis 2, Jeffery 2, Seabrook, Kresl, A. Wilson.

Turnovers (19): Jeffery 9, B. Wilson 4, Seabrook 2, Hargis 2, M. Malcolm-Peck, A. Wilson.

Blocked shots (0): None.

Halftime score: Colorado 28, Denver 17.

Technical fouls -- none.

Attendance -- 1,965.