Fast break

What went right: The Buffs were dominant on the glass early and got contributions from several different players in building an 18-point lead. They took a 15-point advantage into halftime.

What went wrong: In the second half, the rebounding aggressiveness disappeared, and so did the Buffs' lead. North Carolina controlled the rebounds in the last 25 minutes.

Star of the game: Kennedy Leonard. The junior scored 24 points — 13 of those in the final 15 minutes — and had seven assists and six rebounds for the Buffs.

What's next: The Buffs will host Florida Atlantic in the home opener Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Coors Events Center.

Colorado women's basketball coach J.R. Payne has always stressed rebounding with her team, and Sunday was a perfect example of why she delivers that message.

In the first half on Sunday, the Buffaloes were dominant on the glass and built a big lead.

In the second half, they were dominated in that department, coughed up their lead and fell to host North Carolina, 87-80, in overtime at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Junior point guard Kennedy Leonard had 24 points — 13 of those in the fourth quarter and overtime — seven assists and six rebounds to lead the Buffs (1-1), but they still fell short of a third consecutive 2-0 start.


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"It is as simple as rebounding," head coach JR Payne said of the difference in the game. "It's not just the actual rebounds; it's what rebounding brings to a team. It's the fact that we weren't on the offensive glass, so we didn't have second-chance opportunities. We weren't on the defensive glass, so they had second-change opportunities."

CU led by 18 at one point in the first half and took a 15-point advantage into halftime. That was due in large part to the Buffs' rebounding. The Buffs had a 29-19 advantage on the boards in the first half, scoring 14 second-chance points.

The second half belonged the Tar Heels (1-1), who out-rebounded the Buffs 29-13 in the final 25 minutes. CU was outscored 55-33 after halftime, with just two second-chance points.

"The rebounding switch that they turned on and we turned off (in the second half) culminated in a much more aggressive Carolina and a much-less aggressive Colorado," Payne said. "I think they just raised the intensity and we didn't go with them."

Taking advantage of turnovers was big, as well. The Buffs outscored UNC 16-4 in the first half in points off of turnovers. In the second half, UNC had a 13-3 advantage.

Paris Kea had 28 points and nine assists for North Carolina, while Jamie Cherry had 26 points. Jocelyn Jones (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Taylor Koenen (10 points, 10 rebounds) both posted double-doubles.

For CU, Alexis Robinson added 16 points, while freshman Annika Jank had 15 points and seven rebounds.

Now, the Buffs will try to regroup as they prepare for Wednesday's home opener.

"(The players) understand that every game is an opportunity to get better and learn from and that has to be our mindset moving forward," Payne said.

Notable

Through her first two collegiate games, Jank is averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. ... Jank also had four blocked shots. ... Freshman Aubrey Knight had eight rebounds, leading the Buffs for the second game in a row. ... CU attempted 20 3-pointers in the second half (one shy of the school record for a half) and 34 overall (three shy of the record for a game). ... CU had 17 offensive rebounds in the first half, and just three after halftime.

North Carolina 87, Colorado 80

COLORADO (1-1)

Caylao-Do 3-11 1-2 9, Bunn 1-1 1-2 3, Robinson 6-20 1-2 16, Leonard 8-17 4-5 24, Jank 6-13 2-2 15, Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Correal 2-6 0-0 4, Hollingshed 1-1 0-0 2, Knight 3-10 1-2 7. Totals 30-80 10-15 80..

NORTH CAROLINA (1-1)

Koenen 4-6 2-2 10, Cherry 10-20 2-2 26, Kea 11-20 4-8 28, Murray 1-7 0-0 2, Bailey 5-11 0-0 10, Jones 5-8 1-2 11, Sullivan 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Van Nes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-74 9-14 87..

Score by quarters:

Colorado 25 22 12 15 6 — 80

North Carolina 20 12 19 23 13 —87

3-point goals — Colorado 10-34 (Leonard 4-10, Robinson 3-14, Caylao-Do 2-6, Jank 1-3, Knight 0-1), UNC 6-19 (Cherry 4-11, Kea 2-5, Koenen 0-2, Jones 0-1). Rebounds — Colorado 42 (Knight 8). UNC 48 (Jones 11). Assists — Colorado 17 (Leonard 7), UNC 23 (Paris 9). Turnovers — Colorado 17, UNC 23. Total fouls — Colorado 21, UNC 18. Fouled out — None. A — 2,181.