The Colorado women's basketball team had defensive issues all last season. If Saturday night's exhibition game is any indication for this year the Buffaloes are back to their stingy ways.
Colorado clamped down on the University of South Carolina-Aiken, holding the Pacers to 29.5 percent shooting in an 86-46 win.
Senior Jamee Swan scored 19 points to lead Colorado. Freshman Kennedy Leonard had 14 points and eight assists and fellow freshman Alexis Robinson finished with 13 points.
It was an impressive debut for the newcomers.
"We're going to rely on them a lot," CU coach Linda Lappe said. "I don't even look at them as freshmen anymore and they've earned that."
Colorado held a 47-29 advantage on the boards despite no player reaching double figures in rebounds.
The teams played under the new four-quarter format in which each half is split into 10-minute periods. The Buffaloes weren't as sharp in their first 10 minutes as they were in the second. The Pacers hit 8-of-17 shots in the first and were down just 19-18. Colorado did force two shot-clock violations and Swan had two blocks in the period.
Once the Buffaloes adjusted the Pacers had more turnovers (16) than field goals (10) the rest of the game.
"I liked our defensive effort, especially in quarters two, three and four," Lappe said. "It took us a little bit of time to understand what USC-Aiken was doing. They came out with a lot of intensity, a lot of aggressiveness and put us on our heels. I like the way we responded."
The clampdown started in the second quarter and gave the Buffaloes control. Colorado outscored USC-Aiken 27-8 and didn't allow a point the first 3:23 of the quarter. The Pacers were just 2-for-13 in the period due to Colorado's strong defense.
The Buffaloes had six steals and forced eight turnovers. Makenzie Ellis and Leonard had steals on consecutive possessions that led to fast-break layups for Colorado.
Leonard said she had butterflies even though it was just an exhibition game.
"It's the first college game so obviously there's always butterflies," she said. "Butterflies are good because people say it shows you care. It was a good dress rehearsal but we'll be even more ready next week."
Colorado continued its tough defense in the third period. The Buffs held USC-Aiken to just three field goals and eight points while building a 42-point lead. Robinson's 3-pointer late in the quarter capped a 30-point period and a 76-34 lead for the Buffaloes.
Colorado 86, USC-Aiken 46
sitouris 5-12 1-2 11, Aupont 2-6 2-3 8, Loven 3-8 1-2 8, Johannsen 3-7 0-0 6, Gilreath 2-2 0-0 4, Ware 1-5 0-0 3, Ball 1-8 0-0 3, Durian 1-4 0-0 2, Duff 0-3 1-2 1.
Swan 7-10 5-6 19, Leonard 6-9 0-3 14, Robinson 6-9 0-1 13, Smith 4-10 0-0 9, Correal 4-4 1-2 9, Ellis 4-5 0-0 8, Beard-Fails 1-5 5-8 7, Thomas 1-5 2-3 4, Huggins 1-3 0-0 3.
3-point field goals — SC-Aiken (5): Aupont 2, Ball, Ware, Loven; Colorado (5): Leonard 2, Smith, Huggins, Robinson. . Total fouls — USC-Aiken 17, Colorado 14. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.