Ultimately, however, it was the middle part of the game that hurt the Buffs most in a 67-62 loss to Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena.
CU trailed by just two in the final minute before Oregon put the game away at the free throw line.
"At the end of the game it didn't happen exactly how we wanted it to happen by any means," CU head coach Linda Lappe said after her team's third straight loss. "But at the same time, I thought our team fought. I thought we had good effort down the stretch.
"I really think we lost the game to come out of the second half. The start of the second half is where we weren't ready.
"We didn't come out with any sort of fire. We wanted to make sure that we kept our foot on the gas pedal. We just became pretty lackadaisical and they came at us."
Junior Chucky Jeffery hit a milestone in becoming the 24th player in school history with 1,000 career points and led the Buffs with 18 points. Freshman Lexy Kresl contributed a career-high 17 points, tying her career high with five 3-pointers.
Led by those two, as well as freshman Jen Reese, CU (15-7, 4-7 Pac-12) built a 34-21 lead during the first 18 minutes.
Oregon (13-10, 5-6) closed the half on a 5-0 run, which seemed harmless enough ... until the Ducks then scored the first 13 of the second half, stretching the run to 18-0.
During that run, CU went 8:04 without a point, and 9:20 without a field goal.
"Within a matter of three minutes, we lost our lead," Lappe said.
CU continued to battle, tying the game at 44 on a Jeffery 3-pointer with 12:29 to go.
That was followed by a stretch of nearly 9 minutes during which Oregon went on a 16-4 run. CU was scoreless for 4½ minutes during that Oregon run.
Jeffery then sparked a 10-0 spurt, capped by a Kresl 3-pointer with 49.4 seconds left that cut the Oregon lead to 60-58. Oregon, however, hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final 47 seconds.
In all, Oregon hit 28-of-32 free throws, including 11-of-12 by Amanda Johnson, who had a game-high 26 points. All but three of Johnson's points came in the second half.
CU was just 3-for-5 at the line.
"You have to give Oregon credit. They came out, they executed, they really drove the ball at us in the second half," Lappe said. "They obviously had it in mind to get to the free throw line and that was what they did."
Despite a strong start, CU finished with another poor shooting performance, making just 34.7 percent (26 of 75), including 21.2 percent from 3-point range (7-of-33).
"I would say it's primarily related to confidence at this moment," Kresl said of the team's shooting woes. "We need to get that back a little bit. We've been working on it a lot. I think we're over-thinking it. One we just let it come back to us and let it be natural, it'll come back."
The Buffs had an eight-point lead at the half, their largest half-time lead in Pac-12 play. ... CU is now 1-4 in conference play when leading at the half. ... CU had won seven games in a row decided by five points or less before Saturday. ... The Buffs have out-rebounded each of their opponents during their three-game slide. They were 13-0 when out-rebounding the opposition before that. ... Oregon has now won back-to-back games for the first time since a 6-0 start to the season.