What went right: The Buffs buckled down defensively after a tough first quarter, rebounded well and didn't back down when falling behind early.
What went wrong: Turnovers continue to pile up for this team, as they finished with 20. That contributed to a slow start that made the Buffs play catch-up.
Star of the game: Alexis Robinson. The junior guard tied her career high with 22 points, hitting nine of 15 shots. She also had seven rebounds and three steals.
What's next: CU will host Southern California on Friday at 6 p.m. at Coors Events Center.
SEATTLE - During the past couple of seasons, the Colorado women's basketball team hasn't been known for its ability to recover from tough starts.
On Sunday, however, the Buffaloes broke the mold and got a much-needed victory.
Janea Bunn and Kennedy Leonard sparked a second-half rally, and Alexis Robinson had a big game in leading the Buffs to a 66-61 win against Washington at Alaska Airlines Arena.
"Every win you feel like you need and want so desperately, but I think this was a really big win for our team, to come on the road and get it is fantastic," CU head coach JR Payne said.
CU (11-4, 2-2 Pac-12) won a game in which it rallied from a halftime deficit for just the fourth time in the past two years, outscoring the Huskies 40-27 after intermission.
Robinson tied her career high with 22 points, helping the Buffs overcome another 20 turnovers and a slow start against the Huskies (6-9, 0-4).
Washington's Amber Melgoza scored 28 points, including the Huskies' first 13 of the game, to stake them to a 13-3 lead. Washington led 26-13 early in the second quarter before CU pulled within 34-26 at halftime.
Led by Bunn and Leonard, the Buffs took control in the third.
Bunn and Leonard both converted three-point plays in an 8-0 surge coming out of the break, and CU dominated the Huskies 22-9 in the quarter.
In the third, Bunn had 10 of her 17 points, while Leonard had eight of her 14 points in the frame.
A second three-point play by Bunn, with 3 minutes, 41 seconds to play in the third, gave CU its first lead of the game, 39-38, and the Buffs never trailed again.
CU led by as many as 11 points in the fourth before holding on for the win. Melgoza had 12 fourth-quarter points to get the Huskies within three late.
"When they were getting back in the game, we just needed to stay calm, cool and even keeled and win the game," Robinson said. "Just stay as even as possible."
Robinson scored 12 of her points in the final 12 minutes, 17 seconds. She also had seven rebounds and three steals.
"It was a huge game for Lexi; she needed it, we needed it," Payne said. "Her points were obviously what we needed, but her rebounding effort made a huge difference in this ball game."
For the Buffs, it's the first time they've won two conference games this early in the season since the 2012-13 campaign.
"It doesn't matter if it's a pretty win, if everybody plays well and feels good," Payne said. "It matters that the team came in, at least for the second half, executed a game plan and came out with a road split. That's big for this young team."
The Buffs are now 4-13 under Payne when trailing at halftime. ... Leonard had seven turnovers — many of them early — but added six rebounds, three rebounds and two steals. ... CU guard Quinessa Caylao-Do, a Seattle native, had seven points and a team-high five assists for CU.
COLORADO 66, WASHINGTON 61
COLORADO (11-4, 2-2 Pac-12)
Bunn 7-12 3-3 17, Jank 2-8 0-0 4, Caylao-Do 2-7 3-3 7, Robinson 9-15 1-2 22, Leonard 4-11 6-7 14, Thomas 1-5 0-0 2, Hollingshed 0-0 0-0 0, Knight 0-1 0-0 0, Castro 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-59 13-15 66.
WASHINGTON (6-9, 0-4)
Johnson 4-8 2-2 10, Wieburg 1-3 0-0 3, Melgoza 10-18 4-6 28, Collier 0-1 0-0 0, Moser 2-6 0-0 5, Semebene 0-3 0-0 0, Henson 1-9 0-0 3, Rooks 1-1 2-2 4, Griggsby 3-7 0-0 6, Peterson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 23-58 8-10 61.
Colorado 9 17 22 18 - 66
Washington 20 14 9 18 - 61
3-point goals - CU 3-14 (Robinson 3-6, Leonard 0-4, Caylao-Do 0-2, Thomas 0-2), Washington 7-24 (Melgoza 4-6, Henson 1-7, Wieburg 1-3, Moser 1-3, Griggsby 0-2, Johnson 0-1, Semebene 0-1, Peterson 0-1). Rebounds - CU 38 (Jank 9), Washington 31 (Johnson 9). Assists - CU 9 (Caylao-Do 5), Washington 16 (Henson 6). Steals - CU 13 (Jank, Robinson 3), Washington 15 (Johnson, Moser 4). Turnovers - CU 20, Washington 18. Total fouls - 15, Washington 17. A - 2,141.