Colorado’s Quinessa Caylao-Do dribbles past DaCHE Williams on Wednesday at Coors Events Center.
Colorado's Quinessa Caylao-Do dribbles past DaCHE Williams on Wednesday at Coors Events Center. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

Fast break

What went right: The Buffs had five different players score in double figures and seven get at least seven points. They also out-rebounded FAU 44-31 kept the lead throughout.

What went wrong: A few defensive lapses and too many turnovers (21) allowed FAU to stay in the game all night.

Star of the game: Brecca Thomas. The senior tied her career high with 12 points, while also finishing with four assists and two steals.

What's next: The Buffs will host Miami on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Coors Events Center.

 

Colorado women's basketball coach J.R. Payne would love to see her team play clean, crisp games this season.

She has no problem accepting ugly victories, however.

On Wednesday night, the Buffaloes played well at times, battled themselves at times and came away with a 76-69 win against Florida Atlantic in the home opener at Coors Events Center.

"I don't know if we're going to win pretty this year," Payne said. "We may not have a lot of pretty games, but a game like this is one that we can get the win — that's fantastic — but also I think it's one that we can really learn from. There's a lot of things that we did well, there's also a lot of things that are fixable things that we can do better by Saturday (against Miami). So, it's a great game for us."


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Kennedy Leonard had 15 points, five assists and six steals to lead the Buffs (2-1), while senior Brecca Thomas came off the bench to tie her career high with 12 points and contribute four assists. Thomas had scored 11 points in her previous 20 games combined.

"It's always fun," Thomas said of her individual success, "but it's even more fun celebrating as a team."

The young Buffs, which have eight new players this year, continued an early-season pattern of up and down play, but also getting contributions from a variety of sources.

Senior Zoe Correal (11 points, six rebounds), junior Janea Bunn (seven points, 10 rebounds) and freshmen Annika Jank (11 points, six rebounds), Aubrey Knight (10 points, three rebounds) and Mya Hollingshed (nine points, three rebounds) all gave significant contributions.

"To be able to see each person grow a little bit each day is a really big blessing," Leonard said. "You get worried sometimes that you have a bunch of new people, but at the same time I think the growth has been positive and I think it will only get better."

Wednesday provided several teaching moments for the Buffs, who led by as many as 16 points and threatened to pull away several times. FAU runs of 7-0, 11-1 and 7-0 kept the Owls in it and made Payne sweat a little more than wanted.

"It's always closer than I want it to be, but maybe we get more out of that," Payne said. "I think we're a team that has to learn that when things start to snowball in the wrong direction, you have to dig your heels in and get stops. You have to get stops, you have to secure defensive rebounds and that's how you can keep from losing a lead or keep from the other team snowballing."

Fortunately for the Buffs, they were able to maintain their lead throughout and finish on the winning side.

"I thought it was a good win," Thomas said. "It was a tough win, but it was just a great team effort. When you have everyone doing their job and everyone stepping up like they need to do - of course we have things we need to get better at, but for us to come out and just grit it out and be tough and finish strong, I think it was good for everyone to be able to see that we can will ourselves to win a game if we need to."

Notable

Junior guard Alexis Robinson missed the game with a concussion. ... CU has had seven different players score in double figures this season. ... Sophomore Mathilde Diop, a transfer from Arizona Western College, made her CU debut.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

Colorado 76, Florida Atlantic 69

FLORIDA ATLANTIC (0-2)

Doyle 4-4 2-4 11, Gabriel 1-4 0-0 2, Ford 4-11 4-6 13, Cedeno 8-17 5-7 24, Kency 2-13 1-2 6, D. Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Cowan 0-3 4-7 4, Myers 4-4 1-2 9. Totals 23-58 17-28 69..

COLORADO (2-1)

Bunn 3-8 1-2 7, Jank 5-11 0-1 11, Caylao-Do 0-3 1-2 1, Leonard 5-14 4-4 15, Knight 4-8 2-3 10, Thomas 4-7 2-4 12, Correal 4-7 3-4 11, Hollingshed 3-4 1-2 9, Diop 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-62 14-22 76..

Score by quarters:

Florida Atlantic 15 19 21 14 — 69

Colorado 22 19 22 13 — 76

3-point goals — FAU 6-16 (Cedeno 3-9, Ford 1-3, Kency 1-3, Doyle 1-1), Colorado 6-12 (Thomas 2-3, Hollingshed 2-2, Leonard 1-3, Jank 1-2, Caylao-Do 0-2). Rebounds — FAU 31 (Doyle 8), Colorado 44 (Bunn 10). Assists — FAU 9 (Kency 3), Colorado 14 (Leonard 5). Turnovers — FAU 16, Colorado 21. Total fouls — FAU 17, Colorado 24. Fouled out — Gabriel (FAU), Correal (CU). A — 1,503.