What went right: The Buffs were able to stay close due in large part to strong free throw shooting, finishing 21-for-24.
When went wrong: One night after this answer was "nothing," the response could be "everything." CU shot only .302 and was outrebounded 53-39.
Star of the game: Bri Watts. The seldom-used junior provided a first-half spark in her first action of the season, recording two rebounds and a career-best three assists in just 11 minutes.
What's next?: The Buffs visit state rival Colorado State Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
On Friday night, the Colorado women's basketball team enjoyed its best shooting performance of the young season in a rout of UMass.
On Saturday, the Buffaloes struggled through their worst night from the field, and it cost them against Florida. Unable to get into a rhythm offensively and failing to counteract the Gators' size advantage inside, CU dropped an 83-61 decision in the championship game of the 29th annual Omni Classic.
"You've got to give credit to Florida. They came out and played really, really hard and I thought in the second half made every little play," CU coach Linda Lappe said. "They built a lead we really couldn't come back from.
"We are disappointed we didn't show up a little better on our home floor."
The Buffs topped the 50 percent mark for the first time on Friday (.525) but couldn't find the mark on Saturday, making just 8-of-29 shots in the first half and finishing with a .302 percentage from the floor. CU had not shot below 41 percent in any of its first four games.
CU's frustrations extended to the 3-point line, where the Buffs went 2-for-14.
"I think especially early on we were having trouble with the flow of our offense," CU junior Haley Smith said. "We weren't really taking shots that we practice. So once we were able to correct that late in the first quarter, and kind of work more in the flow and run our offense and get our shots out of that, things were working a lot better."
The Buffs never led, as Florida used 3-pointers from Highlands Ranch native Carlie Needles to bookend an early 12-2 run that gave the Gators a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
To CU's credit, the Buffs kept attempting to rally back in the game, putting together their own 12-2 run in the second quarter that trimmed the deficit to four.
That number set the standard the Buffs simply couldn't climb over, as each Florida run was answered by the Buffs just long enough for the hosts to get within four points. It occurred for the final time midway through the third quarter when a pair of Jamee Swan free throws brought CU within 46-42 with 5 minutes, 16 seconds left in the frame, but yet another 12-2 run by the Gators allowed Florida to steadily pull away over the final quarter and a half.
Freshman guard Kennedy Leonard led CU with 16 points and six rebounds, while Smith added 11 points. Solid free throw shooting allowed CU to stay close early, with the Buffs ultimately finishing 21-for-24 from the line, but CU also was outrebounded 53-39.
The loss dropped CU to 3-2 with a challenging trip to state rival Colorado State on deck Wednesday night.
"That was a big positive — we did exerted a lot of energy in coming back, but we made plays and came back," Lappe said. "Obviously you want to be able to take that momentum and continue to move that forward. But we didn't make enough plays to do that."
Ball State defeated UMass 81-54 in the tournament's third-place game.
Florida 83, Colorado 61
At Coors Events Center
Willimas 2-2 4-5 8, Needles 2-8 0-0 6, Anderson 1-2 0-0 3, Christinaki 4-10 0-1 8, Lorenzen 3-7 0-0 6, Young 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 4-9 3-4 11, Peoples 3-7 8-11 14, Dimaite 3-3 0-0 6, Westbrook 3-5 0-0 7, Copeland 0-3 0-0 0, Fleming 4-7 0-2 8, Batchelor 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 32-72 15-23 83.
Swan 2-7 6-6 10, Correal 1-3 2-2 4, Leonard 5-14 4-4 16, Smith 4-12 3-4 11, Huggins 1-7 0-0 2, Ellis 3-6 2-2 8, Robinson 2-9 3-4 7, Watts 0-2 1-2 1, Thomas 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 19-63 21-24 63.
Halftime — Florida 39-33. 3-point goals — Florida 4-15 (Needles 2-4, Anderson 1-1, Westbrook 1-3, Christinaki 0-1, Miller 0-1, Peoples 0-1, Copeland 0-3, Batchelor 0-1); CU 2-14 (Leonard 2-6, Huggins 0-5, Robinson 0-1, Thomas 0-2). Rebounds — Florida 53 (Fleming 8, Lorenzen 8); CU 39 (Swan 7). Assists — Florida 16 (Christinaki 4); CU 13 (Robinson 3, Watts 3). Total fouls — Florida 29, CU 20. Fouled out — Williams. A — 1,666.