Throughout the season, the Colorado women's basketball team has received a lot of attention for its defense.
The 21st-ranked Buffaloes have one of the toughest defensive units in the country, and that's a big reason why they are sitting at 19-5 overall, 8-5 in the Pac-12 Conference.
For the Buffs to make any kind of significant postseason run, however, they know their offense has to show up, too.
During Friday's 55-42 win at Arizona, the Buffs were solid on offense, but still had 20 turnovers and made just 33.3 percent of their shots (10 of 30) in the second half. They also missed four consecutive free throws in the final 2 minutes, but by then they had a 12-point lead.
Head coach Linda Lappe wasn't concerned with the offense after the game, however, because she felt the Buffs took good shots that just didn't fall.
"I think we could have had a little bit better sense of urgency, but our players did a nice job of moving the ball, sharing the ball on the offensive side," she told the school's athletic website. "We took the shots that the defense gave us."
The Buffs have actually seen some better offensive performances of late. They made 40.4 percent of their shots in a 65-49 win at Southern Cal on Feb. 3 and then made 44.9 percent in an 84-59 win against Oregon on Feb. 10.
Perhaps most importantly, the Buffs are getting more individual players into the act on offense.
Senior point guard Chucky Jeffery has been the team's go-to player on offense for a few years now, and she's continuing to do that. Jeffery, despite scoring just eight points on Friday, has averaged a team-high 14.5 points in conference play.
Sophomore Jen Reese has stepped up in recent games. She had 15 points on Friday and has averaged 11.0 per game the last three games. Lexy Kresl has posted 8.8 points the last five games and Brittany Wilson has averaged 10.4 in that stretch.
Freshman Arielle Roberson has also found her groove again after a mid-season lull. She has averaged 10.0 points the last four games.
In addition to their scoring, the Buffs have started to share the ball better in recent games. They had 15 assists against Arizona, and that came after a 17-assist game against Oregon.
About the only concern on offense at this point is turnovers. CU had 20 against Arizona. That was just the third time this year they had as many as 20, and the first time since Dec. 14, but they have flirted with that number a lot in conference play. CU has had at least 17 turnovers in six of its last seven games.
Lappe said after Friday's game that CU can't afford to have that many turnovers at this stage of the season. She said the Buffs need to work on their passing and get it in their minds that they need to be in the 12-14 range for turnovers.
Sunday's opponent, Arizona State, has forced 17.7 turnovers per game this season and ranks among the best in the conference at producing steals (9.3 per game), so the Buffs know they have to be sharp.
"They're a good basketball team," Lappe said. "They can play some more zone, they can play some man. We'll have to be ready to play a great game against them."
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CU women's hoops preview
SUNDAY: The No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes (19-5, 8-5 Pac-12) visit the Arizona State Sun Devils (11-14, 3-10) in a 2 p.m. game at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona.
BROADCAST: Radio -- KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play. Online -- Pac-12.com
STORY LINES: CU has won four in a row, including a 55-42 win at Arizona on Friday. ... Arizona State is riding a six-game losing streak, including a 54-46 loss at home to Utah on Friday. ... CU defeated the Sun Devils 57-43 on Jan. 18 in Boulder. CU's Chucky Jeffery had 19 points and 16 rebounds in the win. ... CU is second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (allowing 53.2 points per game). ASU is also solid on defense, allowing just 59.0 per game. ... CU has been one of the Pac-12's better rebounding teams, with a plus-4.6 average rebounding margin in conference play. ASU has been out-rebounded by an average of 1.1 boards per game. ... Both teams are averaging 16.0 turnovers in conference play. ... CU has been a much-better shooting team during Pac-12 play, hitting 38.2 percent of its shots, compared to just 34.7 for ASU.
KEY STAT: Colorado has held 10 opponents below 50 points this season, breaking a school record. ASU has the lowest-scoring offense in the Pac-12, at just 59.4 points per game. The Sun Devils are averaging just 54.8 points in conference play and have been held under 50 five times in 13 conference games.
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 58-35 in her third season at CU and 108-71 overall. Charli Turner Thorne is 300-193 in 16 seasons at ASU and 340-232 for her career.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Chucky Jeffery, 5-10, Sr. (13.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.5 spg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Jr. (8.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.4 apg); G Lexy Kresl, 5-11, So. (6.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg); F Arielle Roberson, 6-1, Fr. (11.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg); C Rachel Hargis, 6-4, Jr. (4.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg). Arizona State -- G Adrianne Thomas, 5-9, Jr. (5.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.8 apg); G Micaela Pickens, 5-8, Sr. (5.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg); G Promise Amukamara, 5-8, So. (7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.8 spg); F Janae Fulcher, 6-3, Sr. (11.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg); C Joy Burke, 6-5, Jr. (7.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg).
SERIES: CU leads 10-2, with both of ASU's wins coming last season. The Buffs are 3-1 in Tempe.
UP NEXT: CU will host Washington State on Friday at 7 p.m.