No. 13 Buffs Finish Off Buffalo for Home Sweep

If there was ever a doubt in the minds of any of the No. 13 University of Colorado women's basketball team as to the outcome of their homestand-concluding matchup against the lowly Buffalo Bulls Saturday night, it lasted all of ten seconds. Here is a game recap.

Ten seconds after Colorado center Tera Bjorklund claimed the opening tip, point guard Kate Fagan nailed a three from the top of the key; beginning a forty-minute long dismantling of the visiting Bulls, who never led during Colorado's 98-47 stomping of Buffalo Saturday night at the Coors Events Conference Center.

Colorado's 51-point margin of victory was easily the most impressive of the Buffs' season, and is the single largest since CU's 96-44 victory over Bowling Green on Nov. 23, 2001.

"We dominated this team, and we should have dominated this team," Colorado head coach Ceal Barry said after the game. "The most important thing is that we finish with an 11-1 (nonconference) record, and we finish strong this week going into the conference portion of our season."

Fagan led the Colorado offensive charge with a career night, as the senior shot 8-of-12 from the floor and a 7-for-11 mark from beyond the three point line which tied a personal best, on her way to a career-best 24 points in 24 minutes of action.

"I just haven't been that open in a long time for such a long period of the game," Fagan said of her performance Saturday, which just edged out her previous season best of 23 points against Harvard on Nov. 22. "Sometimes you're open and they just close in on you, but I was just open possession after possession."

Four other Colorado players also scored in double figures during Colorado's highest offensive output of the season; most notably Bjorklund, who overcame a relatively quiet first half to score 16 in the game and come just a single rebound away from claiming her third double-double of the season.

Amber Metoyer and freshman Emily Waner each scored 12 while combining to shoot 8-17 from the field and 4-8 from the three point line in the win.

Freshman Leslie Howard also came off the bench to post career highs in points (11) and minutes (16).

"All week long we got a chance to play our bench and I think that's real important for us," Barry said of her team's now-completed three-game homestand, during which Colorado led comfortably enough in each to allow the Buff bench ample playing time. "We're going to need those players in the next 16 games. We're in good a position and I'm really excited to get conference play going."

The Buffs stretched their early lead to 10-2 less than five minutes in as Bjorklund made her presence felt inside, fighting to convert two of the three buckets the 6-foot-5 upper-classman made in the first half.

The second of Tera's successful post moves went through a BU double team of juniors Hollie Cook and Jessica Kochendorfer. This opened Colorado's lead to double digits just shy of the 16:00 mark.

With Colorado converting on half of the shots it took in the first half (14-28), the Buffs found no problem embarking on a deafening 21-2 run to begin the game. This lasted until just inside the twelve-minute mark when BU senior Kim Kipela converted on one of two free throws, and an ensuing offensive rebound was put back in by Kochendorfer, making the score 21-5 with 11:40 remaining.

BU's best run of the first half, though, would occur over a 90-second span as the opening frame neared its close. Scores from three different Bulls, including long balls from freshman Kelly Calderone and Allison Bennett, accounted for an 8-0 Buffalo run which brought the Bulls to within 21.

Colorado countered with a 9-2 run of its own to close the half, helped by the elevated play of junior reliever Veronica Johns-Richardson; who scored each of her five first half points in the final three minutes.

The 5-foot-9 forward finished a lengthy opening frame with a driving left-handed layup with three seconds left in the half, bringing CU's 42-14 to a telling conclusion.

Buffalo scoring to open the second half was slow but steady as the Bulls embarked on the unenviable task on chipping away at a 28-point halftime deficit on the road.

BU sophomore point guard Brooke Meunier accounted for every one of her teams' eight points to open the second half, scoring four different times from four different places on the floor.

Meanwhile, Colorado seemed to have little problem continuing its electrifying tempo from the first half.

Such consistency between halves is not a quality of Colorado's team game which has always been present this season.

"This game and our last game against Syracuse were our best offensively," coach Barry said. I think we're moving the ball well. I feel like our last two games were our best offensively."

Statistically speaking, Saturday night's win was indeed CU's most offensively complete.

The Buffs shot stellar figures from the field (23-57; 49.3%), and beyond the arc (16-37; 43.2%). The Buffs shot only slightly worse against Buffalo in the second half than they had the first, and actually improved on its three-point percentage from the opening twenty minutes.

Colorado has been so dominant as to defeat opponents by greater than 30 points just three times in franchise history, the last coming at the tail end of the 1994-95 season concluding with a defeat of Kansas State in the Big 8 title game.

In addition to extending its current win streak to eight games, Saturday night's win also improved on the program's record against nonconference opponents to an incredible 49-2 in the last 51 games.

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