Utah’s Taryn Wicijowski goes up for a shot during Saturday’s game against Colorado in Salt Lake City.
Utah's Taryn Wicijowski goes up for a shot during Saturday's game against Colorado in Salt Lake City. ( Francisco Kjolseth )

SALT LAKE CITY -- Colorado's 11-0 start in women's basketball was nice.

It wouldn't have meant a whole lot without a win Saturday, though.

Buckling down in the last eight minutes, CU rallied to defeat Utah 58-52 at the Huntsman Center in the first-ever Pac-12 Conference game for both teams.

"The most important start is the 1-0 in conference," Buffs head coach Linda Lappe said after the game on KKZN AM-760. "This is what we're playing for. We're playing for the conference. We've been looking forward to this for a long time.

"To be 1-0 and to get our first road win (in conference play) I think is tremendous and it shows a lot of heart by all of our players."

Colorado needed a whale of comeback to improve to 12-0 for just the third time in school history.

Chucky Jeffery scored nine of her 13 points in the final eight minutes as CU closed the game on a 14-0 run to stun the Utes (7-5, 0-1).

"That's just our mentality," said Jeffery, who also had seven rebounds and five assists. "We knew that we can't give up. There were times we got down, but we never stopped believing."

Julie Seabrook scored 17 points (one off of her career high), pulled down seven rebounds and drained a career-high four 3-pointers. Brittany Wilson added 14 points and four assists.

It was Seabook and Wilson who kept the Buffs close most of the afternoon. Even with their efforts, Utah threatened to pull away.

Iwalani Rodrigues hit a jumper with 9:17 to go, putting Utah ahead 50-41. That was the last field goal for the Utes, though.

Rodrigues' two free throws with 8:33 to go gave the Utes a 52-44 lead, but they didn't score again, as CU's defense was relentless from that point.

"We said, 'We've got to bear down, get back down to our defensive principles and that's how we were going to get back in the game,'" Jeffery said.

The strong defense coincided with Jeffery's offense finally showing up. She hit the first bucket of the game for CU, but had just four points going into the final eight minutes.

"We knew Chucky had to get some scores," Lappe said. "If she's not scoring, it's going to be tough for us."

Jeffery sparked the final run with a three-point play with 7:27 to go. About a minute later, she missed both free throws after an intentional foul by Utah. But, she came back to sink three straight buckets to put the lead back in CU's hands.

"I was getting a little bit frustrated with missing easy shots," she said. "(Assistant) coach Jennie (Baranczyk) pulled me aside and said, 'You've got to keep your composure. This is your team; you've got to lead them.'"

Part of Jeffery's late success came from her attacking the hoop and taking the ball right at Utes point guard Janita Badon, who had four fouls.

"I was just going hard to the rim and we went on from there," she said.

CU had a tough time all afternoon against Utah's impressive frontcourt duo of Michelle Plouffe (13 points, five rebounds) and Taryn Wicijowski (16 points, 11 rebounds).

With those two clogging the middle, Seabrook, who teamed with Plouffe and Wicijowski on the Canadian Junior National Team, found another way to score. She was 2-for-7 on 3-pointers before Saturday, but hit 4-of-6 against the Utes.

"I've been feeling pretty confident from there," she said. "Today, they pressured a lot on the inside and were really physical. I didn't get a lot looks from in there, so I had to step it up somewhere else. They were sagging off on me on the outside, so I felt like I had a lot of open shots and I've been really working on that over the break."

With the win, Colorado has now won six straight games away from Boulder, including five this season. The Buffs are 8-1 in their last nine away from Boulder.

"We kind of got over our road curse finally, as of last year, and hopefully we continue to build off of this," Seabrook said.

The Buffs will have two more road games next week, at Washington and at Washington State.

Notable

Lappe is 30-16 as CU coach. Only two coaches in program history got to 30 wins quicker: Sox Walseth (in 36 games) and Maureen "Rene" Portland (in 45 games). ... The Buffs went just 4-11 in conference road openers during the Big 12 era. ... CU is a perfect 5-0 on New Year's Eve games, and got its first-ever win on Utah's home floor (1-7). ... Utah had the biggest run (14-0) allowed by CU all season, and handed the Buffs their largest deficit of the year (10 points, at 48-38). ... CU outrebounded the Utes 41-30. It was the 11th straight game that CU had the edge on the glass.

Colorado 58, Utah 52

COLORADO (58)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

Seabrook 36 6-9 4-6 1-1 7 1 17

Hargis 13 0-3 0-0 0-0 5 4 0

Kresl 29 2-5 1-2 1-3 6 0 6

MM-Peck 30 2-6 2-5 0-0 3 1 6

Jeffery 38 6-14 0-1 1-4 7 1 13

B. Wilson 29 5-12 3-6 1-2 3 1 14

A. Wilson 9 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Reese 16 0-1 0-1 2-4 7 0 2

Team 3

Totals 200 21-53 10-21 6-14 41 8 58

Assists (13): Jeffery 5, B. Wilson 4, M. Malcolm-Peck 2, Seabrook, Reese.

Steals (7): M. Malcolm-Peck 2, Seabrook, Kresl, Jeffery, B. Wilson, A. Wilson.

Turnovers (17): Jeffery 5, Seabrook 3, Kresl 3, Hargis 2, B. Wilson 2, Reese 2.

Blocked shots (2): Hargis, Kresl.

UTAH (52)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

Plouffe 39 5-16 1-3 2-2 5 2 13

Wicijowski 36 6-11 0-0 4-4 11 3 16

Badon 29 4-9 0-0 0-0 3 5 8

Rodrigues 38 5-16 1-9 2-2 3 0 13

Messer 37 0-2 0-2 0-0 2 1 0

Wilson 7 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Bridgewater 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 1 0

Rolniak 13 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 0

Team 3

Totals 200 21-55 2-14 8-8 30 14 52

Assists (8): Plouffe 4, Rodrigues 3, Badon.

Steals (8): Plouffe 5, Badon 2, Wicijowski.

Turnovers (11): Plouffe 4, Badon 3, Wicijowski, Messer, Bridgewater, Team.

Blocked shots (4): Wicijowski 2, Rolniak 2.

Halftime score: Colorado 31, Utah 29.

Technical fouls -- None.

Attendance -- 717.