What went right: CU played an exceptional second half on both ends of the floor to rally from 17 down to win going away.
What went wrong: A poor first half - both offensively and defensively - put CU in a big hole. That forced them to play catch-up throughout the second half.
Star of the game: Quinessa Caylao-Do. The sophomore scored a career-high 18 points - triple her previous best of six - and pulled down three rebounds.
What's next: The Buffs will play at North Carolina on Sunday.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Throughout her freshman year with the Colorado women's basketball team, Quinessa Caylao-Do often looked like a newcomer to the college game.
In her first game as a sophomore, she looked like a confident veteran.
On Friday night, Caylao-Do scored a career-high 18 points to lift the Buffaloes to a come-from-behind 71-60 victory over Samford at the Pete Hanna Center.
"I definitely feel a lot more confident this year," said Caylao-Do, who scored all of her points in the final 12 minutes, 10 seconds.
The Buffs needed that confidence, because Friday was shaping up to be an embarrassing loss on opening night before she turned it on.
CU trailed by 17 points, 31-14, at halftime. Shooting just 19 percent from the floor, the Buffs tied for the fifth-lowest scoring first half in program history.
In the second half, however, the Buffs outscored the Bulldogs 57-29, coming within one point of tying for the 10th-highest scoring second half in team history. The Buffs outscored the Bulldogs 10-0 in the final two minutes to pull away.
"During halftime, our coaches talked to us and gave us a pep talk and just told us to relax and play basketball," Caylao-Do said. "Be aggressive and don't let anything deter us. Second half, we came out hard."
After the break, the Buffs connected on 61.8 percent of their shots, forced Samford into 11 turnovers and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 19-11.
Caylao-Do sparked the charge, going 3-for-4 from 3-point range and displaying aggressiveness on offense she rarely showed a season ago.
"Freshman year was definitely a test for me and I was able to reflect on how I did freshman year and I was able to get a feel for the pace and get used to how college basketball is," she said. "(In the offseason), working on my off time and getting in the weight room more, I think that definitely helped."
Perhaps most impressive is that CU rallied without getting much offensively from star point guard Kennedy Leonard, who had just seven points, only three of those - all on free throws in the final 14 seconds - in the second half.
Junior Alexis Robinson had 16 points and six rebounds, freshman Annika Jank had 16 points and eight rebounds and freshman Aubrey Knight had six points and 11 rebounds.
"I feel like everyone plays an important role on the team, from the starting five to the players on the bench," Caylao-Do said. "Even though one person has an off game, I think we're all talented enough and able to pick up each other.
"Kennedy, even though she didn't shoot the greatest, she still created for us."
In the second half, Leonard attempted just one shot from the floor, but dished five assists.
CU has won 18 consecutive season openers. ... The Buffs scored 24 points off of turnovers. ... CU's starting five included Caylao-Do, Leonard, Robinson, Jank and Zoe Correal.
Colorado 71, Samford 60
At Pete Hanna Center
Caylao-Do 5-12 5-7 18, Robinson 6-17 2-2 16, Leonard 2-8 3-6 7, Correal 0-0 0-0 0, Jank 7-11 1-1 16, Bunn 2-6 0-2 4, Thomas 2-5 0-0 4, Knight 3-6 0-1 6. Totals 27-65 11-19 71.
Nichols 7-14 0-0 15, Brown 3-9 2-2 8, Williams 0-5 0-0 0, Crozier 7-10 4-5 18, Fitzgerald 2-6 3-4 8, Battle 0-0 0-0 0, Serup 0-1 0-0 0, Omar 0-0 0-0 0, Woolard 5-8 0-1 11, Armstrong 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-53 9-12 60..
Score by quarters:Colorado862334—71Samford17141613—60
3-point field goals — Colorado 6-19 (Caylao-Do 3-4, Robinson 2-9, Jank 1-1, Knight 0-3, Leonard 0-1, Thomas 0-1), Samford 3-14 (Nichols 1-6, Fitzgerald 1-2, Woolard 1-1, Williams 0-3, Brown 0-1, Serup 0-1). Rebounds — Colorado 38 (Knight 11), Samford 34 (Nichols 12). Assists — Colorado 12 (Leonard 5), Samford 18 (Brown 12). Turnovers — Colorado 19, Samford 23. Total fouls — Colorado 19, Samford 14.. Fouled out — None. A — 381.