What went right: The Buffs responded well to a tough start. After trailing 10-2 early, the Buffs outscored the Tigers 45-30 during the final 16:15 of the first half.
What went wrong: CU built a 10-point lead before Missouri switched to a zone defense. CU didn't respond well to that zone, and it allowed Missouri to go on a 16-4 run and change the game.
Star of the game: Jamee Swan. She had 17 points (on eight for 11 shooting) and eight rebounds for the Buffs. She also had a pair of blocks and asserted herself in the paint all afternoon.
What's next?: The Buffs host Presbyterian on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Colorado women's basketball team was at its best on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, Missouri was even better.
CU coughed up a 10-point second-half lead at Coors Events Center and lost to the undefeated Tigers, 79-75.
"I thought we played our best basketball of the season," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. "It's always too bad when the end doesn't come out the way you want it to come out. But, I really like the change we made with our team this week and how we're playing together and how we're executing offensively and defensively at times.
"We just didn't make enough plays in the end. You have to give Missouri credit; they did."
It was the second year in a row that the Buffs (4-5) had a double-digit lead in the second half against the Tigers (10-0). Last year, at Colombia, Mo., the Buffs led by 15 in the second half before falling, 53-50.
"It's very frustrating," said senior Jamee Swan, who led the Buffs with 17 points and eight rebounds. "We did really well through the first half and into the second and we just kind of lost the oomph, I guess, to push us through."
CU closed the first half on a 14-1 run and then Swan scored the Buffs' first eight points of the third quarter to push their lead to a game-high 10 points, 55-45, with 6 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the quarter.
Missouri, which primarily plays man defense, then switched to a zone, and that changed the game.
"That was different for us because we were expecting a 90 percent man team," Swan said. "When they went to zone, I think it stunned us and we stopped moving."
Against the zone, CU strung together turnovers and quick, poor shots. Missouri took advantage on the other end, going on a 16-4 run to regain the lead late in the third.
CU made seven of nine 3-point attempts in the first half, but the Tigers' zone shut that down, and the Buffs were 0-for-3 after the break. That did leave the middle of the court open, and CU had multiple layup opportunities, but missed several of them.
On defense, CU took away Missouri's 3-pointers, too. The Tigers were 6-for-12 in the first half, with Sierra Michaelis doing most of that damage. She had 18 of her 21 points in the first half. In the second half, the Tigers were just 2-for-3 from 3-point range, and Michaelis didn't have a 3-point attempt.
"We knew we couldn't give (Michaelis) one more open 3," Lappe said. "They were setting a lot of screens for her to get open. Our guards did a tremendous job getting through those screens (in the second half)."
Unfortunately for the Buffs, that left their interior defense vulnerable and "that's really how they scored in the second half," Lappe said.
Cierra Porter had 10 of her 21 points during Missouri's pivotal 16-point run, getting most of them near the hoop.
The Buffs lost for the fourth time in their last five games, and dropped to 0-3 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Despite that, Lappe is pleased with how her team responded to a rough stretch a week earlier.
"I'm really proud of how we played and the fight we played with and the intensity and the passion we played with."
Kennedy Leonard had 14 points and five assists for the Buffs, while fellow freshman Alexis Robinson had 11 points and five assists. ... Lauren Huggins went down late in the game with an injury, but minutes later was walking OK and appeared and be fine. ... CU is now 42-29 all-time against Missouri, a former Big 12 Conference rival.
Missouri 79, Colorado 75
At Coors Events Center
C. Porter 8-9 5-6 21, Frericks 3-9 3-5 9, S. Cunningham 2-8 3-4 7, L. Cunningham 2-4 2-2 8, Michaelis 7-14 2-4 21, Doty 0-0 0-0 0, Mo. Stock 0-0 0-0 0, B. Porter 0-2 0-0 0, Ma. Stock 0-0 0-0 0, Hudyn 1-3 0-0 3, McDowell 3-7 2-2 8, Robinson 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 26-57 19-25 79..
Beard-Fails 2-8 4-4 8, Swan 8-11 1-2 17, Leonard 5-12 1-2 14, Smith 3-5 0-0 7, Huggins 2-2 0-0 6, Ellis 1-6 2-2 4, Robinson 4-8 2-2 11, Watts 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 2-4 0-1 4, Correal 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 29-58 10-13 75..
Halftime — Colorado 47-40. 3-point goals — Missouri 8-15 (Michaelis 5-9, L. Cunningham 2-2, Hudyn 1-1, S. Cunningham 0-2, McDowell 0-1); CU 7-12 (Leonard 3-4, Huggins 2-2, Smith 1-1, Robinson 1-2, Thomas 0-2, Beard-Fails 0-1). Rebounds — Missouri 33 (S. Cunningham 8), CU 30 (Swan 8). Assists — Missouri 14 (S. Cunningham 3), CU 17 (Leonard, Robinson 5). Total fouls — Missouri 20, CU 21. Fouled out — Frericks, Smith.