No. 17 CU Claims Key Road Win Over Rams

Led by a 12-for-17 shooting effort from senior center <b>Tera Bjorklund</b>, the No. 17 University of Colorado women's basketball team earned a key 81-74 road win over Colorado State in its first non-conference game unaffiliated with a larger tournament Wednesday night at Moby Arena in Fort Collins.

Bjorklund led all scoring in the game, posting 28 while grabbing nine rebounds; coming up just a single board short of her second double-double of the season.

Three other CU upper classmen also scored in double figures in the win. Forward Randie Wirt had 14, and guards Veronica Johns-Richardson and Kate Fagan had 13 and 17, respectively, in Colorado's sixth win of the season.

Joy Jenkins and Lindsay Thomas had 17 points each for Colorado State, which shot better than 59 percent from the field in the first half and, in fact, held a 40-39 advantage at halftime.

The Buffs held significant advantages in field goals (51.6% to 50%) and free throws (76% to 43%), which helped Colorado to claim victory down the stretch after a clutch three-pointer from Vanessa Espinoza closed the CU margin to 74-70 with about two minutes remaining. Espinoza was fouled after stealing the ball on the subsequent possession, but missed both free throws; opening the door for the senior Wirt to seal the victory with a pair of free throws with 1:32 left.

Wednesday night was the 35th meeting between the in-state rivals with the Buffaloes holding a 26-9 all-time advantage. CSU had won the last two previous matches played in Fort Collins in 1999 and 2001, but lost a 65-51 decision in the team's meeting last season in Boulder.

Despite what would seem like a lopsided rivalry, no subtleties seemed lost in the eyes of Colorado State.

"I really didn't understand what it was, but then you're in the locker room and everybody is talking about it," senior Jasi Ferrucho said after her team's practice Tuesday morning. "When everybody starts talking about it, you just want to go out and kill CU."

The Rams have now dropped two in a row after opening the season with wins over Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin. CSU fell to Boston College 75-61 in the final game of the Coors Colorado Classic on Nov. 29.

Colorado improves to 6-1 overall, with the Buffs' only loss coming to then-No. 15 Minnesota in the championship game of the Subway Classic in Minneapolis on Nov. 23.

The Buffs have claimed victory in the two other pre-conference play tournaments they have hosted; using wins over Old Dominion and Notre Dame to sweep the WBCA Classic on Nov. 15, and then again last weekend in the 17th Annual Coors Classic following convincing wins over Idaho State and Cal.

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