As far as the competition went, Monday's exhibition matchup against Southern Nazarene wasn't exactly the perfect primer for what the Colorado women's basketball team will face in the regular season.

But with only a week remaining until that season opener, coach JR Payne now has a better grasp on what her Buffaloes need to work on before tipping off the season for real on Nov. 6 against Northern Colorado.

CU cruised to a 93-43 win Monday night at the CU Events Center, basically dominating the Storm in every facet of the contest. Yet a rash of missed layups — the Buffs finished a solid .453 from the floor but missed a number of easy attempts under the basket — combined with a shortened rotation necessitated by a few minor injuries gave Payne more than a few things to review before welcoming the Bears next week.

"I was hoping to get these live reps," Payne said. "We've been shorthanded and have had some practice guys in and out of the gym. To be able to have a live game situation is all we wanted out of this. We had a list of things that we need to work on and get better at, but we also have a list of things we did well tonight. And some freshmen got a lot of minutes and a lot of live experience, and that's good for us."

The game remained competitive for only about four-plus minutes, as Southern Nazarene managed to stay in a 6-6 tie early. The Buffs, however, quickly ended the drama on the scoreboard by scoring the final 18 points of the first quarter, eventually making it a 23-0 run while holding the Storm scoreless for about eight and a half minutes.


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CU led 45-19 at halftime and 67-32 at the end of three quarters.

Playing her first competitive game since suffering a shoulder injury late last season that later required surgery, sophomore Aubrey Knight led three players in double figures for the Buffs, going 8-for-9 from the floor with a team-leading 17 points to go with seven rebounds. Freshman forward Sirena Tuitele paced the Buffs' 44-35 advantage on the glass with a team-best eight rebounds.

"I think at this point we wanted to play someone who wasn't ourselves," senior guard Kennedy Leonard said. "We had a scrimmage, but that's not the same as putting on the uniform and playing a real game. I think they threw some curve balls at us in some aspects, but we have a lot of room to improve upon. I'm excited to get back to work."

The Buffs played without three freshmen, with Emma Clarke currently overseas competing with the Australian U18 team at the FIBA Women's Asian Championships in India. CU also played without guard Cameron Swartz and forward Kai Volcy, both of whom are trying to shake off minor injuries.

Payne wasn't certain of Volcy and Swartz will be ready for next week's season opener, but said Clarke should be back in time to make her Buffs debut against UNC.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07

Colorado 93, Southern Nazarene 43

At CU Events Center

SOUTHERN NAZARENE

Perez 1-2 0-0 2, Berry 2-9 4-6 10, Niehues 2-5 0-0 4, Gillette 4-7 0-0 9, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Glover 1-5 0-0 3, Soap 2-3 0-0 6, Schwake 0-4 1-2 1, Schroepfer 1-4 0-0 2, Mouser 0-1 0-0 0, Sarda 0-3 2-2 2, Isler 0-0 0-0 0, Foster 0-1 0-0 0, Beard 0-2 2-2 2, Bent 0-0 0-0 0, Schieldnight 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-51 9-12 43.

COLORADO

Caylao-Do 2-6 2-4 7, Robinson 5-8 1-1 13, Leonard 3-9 6-6 13, Jank 2-9 0-0 4, Hollingshed 3-8 2-2 9, Knight 8-9 1-2 17, Finau 2-4 0-0 4, Carter 3-5 1-1 8, Diop 3-4 3-3 9, Tuitele 3-13 3-3 9. Totals 34-75 19-22 93.

Score by quarters:

Southern Nazarene 6 13 13 11 — 43

Colorado 24 21 22 26 — 93

3-point field goals — Southern Nazarene: 6-28 (Berry 2-7, Soap 2-3, Gillette 1-4, Glover 1-4, Schwake 0-3, Schroepfer 0-2, Sarda 0-2, Mouser 0-1, Foster 0-1, Beard 0-1; Colorado: 6-20 (Robinson 2-5, Hollingshed 1-5, Leonard 1-3, Caylao-Do 1-2, Carter 1-2, Jank 0-1, Finau 0-1, Tuitele 0-1. Rebounds — Southern Nazarene 35 (Jones 6); Colorado 44 (Tuitele 8); Assists: Southern Nazarene 9 (Perez 3), Colorado 16 (Leonard 6). Total fouls — Southern Nazarene 17, Colorado 10.