FORT COLLINS — For the better part of Wednesday night, Jamee Swan sat on the bench and watched her teammates play.
When it came to crunch time, though, the Colorado senior was the best player on the court.
“I kind of figured: go big or go home,” Swan said. “If I was going to foul out, I was going to foul out, but I sure as heck was going to play as hard as I could when I was in and when I could.”
Swan finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in CU’s 64-63 loss to rival Colorado State, doing almost all of that damage in the fourth quarter.
Through three quarters, Swan had just three points and two rebounds, because she was on the court for only seven minutes, with four fouls.
Swan picked up two fouls early in the game and went to the bench. She got another one early in the second quarter and went back to the bench. Within 90 seconds of re-entering the game late in the third quarter, she got her fourth foul.
“I felt like every time I’d be in position (on defense), it would always be a foul,” she said. “I tried to create the same situation on the other side, but it wasn’t working. It was just hard to figure out how the refs were calling it because it didn’t seem very consistent and it was really hard for me to figure out my game without knowing how the refs were calling the game.”
When Swan picked up her fourth, with 1:57 to go in the third, head coach Linda Lappe decided to leave her top scorer and rebounder in the game, despite the risk of losing her for the night.
“Sometimes it’s just based on feel,” Lappe said. “My feeling was that if I took her out again so quickly, she would never really get to be a part of the game, and I knew we needed her to be a part of the game.
“She did a nice job of being aggressive in there and not playing timid and it ended up being a good thing for us.”
Swan had nine points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter, helping CU to have a shot at the end.
“It meant a lot that my team had enough confidence in me even after the three quarters prior,” Swan said. “For me that was just huge. That was the only reason I could do what I did in the fourth quarter.”
Swan’s foul trouble wasn’t the only thing that hampered CU during the first three quarters.
During those quarters, the Buffs made just nine of 26 shots from 2-point range. Luckily, they were 6-for-14 from 3-point range. For the night, the Buffs were 7-for-15 from beyond the arc.
“Execution is what it came down to,” said Lauren Huggins, who had 11 points and went 3-for-5 from 3. “We put each other in good positions to score and we made second reads and we were able to hit good shots.”
CU had won five in a row against the Rams before Wednesday. The Buffs still lead the all-time series 35-12. … CU junior forward Zoe Beard-Fails missed her third consecutive game with a concussion. … CSU junior Elin Gustavsson, who led all players with 22 points, has averaged 23.7 points in three career games against the Buffs, scoring 20-plus points each time. She had a career-high 28 against CU on Nov. 29, 2014.