LOS ANGELES -- For just the second time as a college player, Brittany Wilson got a chance to play in her hometown.

She looked mighty comfortable in leading the Colorado women's basketball team to a 55-41 win over Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament at the Galen Center.

Wilson scored 21 points, just one shy of her career high and 13 more than her season average, in helping CU to its first conference tournament win in five years.

"I don't think it made a difference with me being home or being in Colorado," she said. "It is great to be home, I love this place, I love California, but I knew we had to come home and get this win. I was willing to do whatever it took, whether it was defense, offense or whatever my team needed me to do."

Wilson started the game with a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 18 points in the first half alone. Junior Chucky Jeffery was stellar, as well, with her seventh double-double of the season. Jeffery had 20 points and 14 rebounds.

CU (18-12), which will face California (22-8) tonight, had its last conference tournament win in the first round of the 2007 Big 12 Tournament against Texas Tech.

"I thought our team did a lot of nice things tonight," head coach Linda Lappe said.

Especially in the first half. The pace was turtle slow early on. When Utah's Cheyenne Wilson drained a 3-pointer with 14 minutes, 26 seconds to go in the first half, it gave the Utes a 10-8 lead.

Utah (15-15) then went 9:03 without a point, but CU didn't do much to take advantage, scoring just eight points during the stretch.

"From the start, we had trouble scoring," Lappe said. "At the beginning of the game, missing a lot of easy shots, and then they started falling toward the end of the first half."

Utah broke its scoring drought with a free throw at the 5:23 mark, but went another 4:35 without a point after that. In all, CU went on a 22-1 run after Cheyenne Wilson's 3-pointer, taking its biggest lead all season against a Pac-12 team, 30-11.

Utah had just one point in a stretch of 13:38 and finished the first half 6-for-26 from the floor. CU led 32-15 at halftime, it's biggest halftime lead in Pac-12 play.

"I love the lead that we were able to build at the end of the first half," Lappe said. "I thought that was key as we headed into the second."

CU built its lead because it got aggressive on offense. Brittany Wilson, Ashley Wilson and Jeffery repeatedly went to the rim and took the ball right at the Utah defense.

"That was just the game plan, to come out and attack the rim," said Jeffery, who was 10-for-16 from the line, including 7-for-8 in the final three minutes. "We changed up our game plan a little bit. We knew that they weren't as good as they were before when we played them in transition defense, so we wanted to attack the rim as much as we could."

CU and Utah split their season series and both games came down to the wire, including Utah's 61-56 overtime win in Boulder on Feb. 18.

Utah threatened to push this one to the wire, too. The Utes' two front-court stars, Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski, combined for 21 points during the first 15 minutes of the second half to cut the CU lead to seven, at 43-36.

CU closed strong, however, outscoring the Utes 12-5 in the final 5:13.

"We knew that they were going to go on their run and we had to go on ours and ours hadn't come yet (in the second half)," Brittany Wilson said. "We were just waiting for our run. You look up and see that it's down to seven, but you don't get nervous."

Coming into the game, CU was just 2-2 in Pac-12 games in which it had double-digit leads, so Lappe was pleased with how her team closed this one out.

"They came at us in the second half, but we fought back and hit some free throws down the stretch," she said. "Our defensive effort tonight was really, really solid and that's what helped us get the victory."

Utah's 41 points was the lowest total by a CU opponent since a 71-36 win over Denver on Dec. 8. The previous low for a CU opponent in Pac-12 play was Utah's 52 points in the conference opener on Dec. 31. CU was 0-8 was scoring 55 or fewer points in Pac-12 play before Wednesday.

"We know we needed this win," Ashley Wilson said on the KKZN post-game radio show. "It's a good win to build us up, get us going, lead one win into the next."

Colorado 55, Utah 41 COLORADO (55)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

MM-Peck 31 0-5 0-3 0-0 4 1 0

Seabrook 22 1-7 0-3 0-0 6 3 2

B. Wilson 32 6-13 3-6 6-8 5 3 21

Sborov 23 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 2 0

Jeffery 33 5-13 0-1 10-16 14 0 20

Kresl 27 1-5 0-2 2-2 3 2 4

A. Wilson 20 1-3 4-4 0-0 3 1 6

Hargis 12 1-4 0-0 0-0 3 2 2

Team 3

Totals 200 15-51 3-15 22-30 43 14 55

Assists (4): Seabrook, B. Wilson, Jeffry, A. Wilson.

Steals (8): B. Wilson 2, Jeffery 2, Seabrook, Sborov, Kresl, A. Wilson.

Turnovers (12): Jeffery 3, A. Wilson 3, B. Wilson 2, Sborov 2, Kresl, team.

Blocked shots (1): Kresl.

UTAH (41)

MIN FG 3PT FT Rb PF TP

Wicijowski 37 6-15 0-0 6-8 6 1 18

Plouffe 40 3-15 1-5 1-2 9 4 8

Rodrigues 29 0-10 0-4 2-2 6 3 2

Wilson 35 3-4 2-3 2-2 2 2 10

Messer 38 1-3 1-3 0-1 4 4 3

Bridgewater 8 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

Sitivi 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 0

Morris 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Team 6

Totals 200 13-51 4-15 11-15 35 17 41

Assists (5): Plouffe 3, Wicijowski, Rodrigues.

Steals (4): Plouffe 3, Wicijowski.

Turnovers (15): Plouffe 5, Wicijowski 3, Messer 3, Bridgewater 2, Wilson, Sitivi.

Blocked shots (4): Plouffe 3, Wicijowski.

Halftime score: Colorado 32, Utah 15.

Technical fouls -- None.

Attendance -- N/A.