By HEATHER REEVES
Despite a Cougar comeback late in the game, the Colorado Buffaloes bulled over the BYU women’s basketball team Saturday night 84-68.
The 16th ranked Buffs made it difficult for the Cougars to win the game by shooting 55 percent from the field, 83 percent from the line and 80 percent from the perimeter, even with Kari Gallup’s commanding 28 points.
“It’s pretty tough to beat a team who shoots like that on their home court,” head coach Trent Shippen said.
Even with the Buffalo dominance, the Cougars played strong and made it a two-point game late in the second half. But free throws and three-pointers made the difference for Colorado.
Once the Cougars cut the lead to two, forward Barbi Carmichael fouled a CU player on a three-point shot. The free throws from that foul were the beginning of four consecutive three-point shots for the Buffaloes, answered by only one Gallup three-pointer.
This left the Cougars down by eight with 2:07 to go in the game.
BYU committed two fouls in a row allowing the Buffaloes to increase the margin to 12 with just over a minute left in the game.
In the last minute of the game Colorado scored the final six points off of free throws and fast breaks.
“They were able to convert on their fast breaks and capitalize on their free throws,” Shippen said.
The Cougars played up to the Buffaloes’ level of play in the second half by improving their shooting percentage from 32 percent in the first half to 63 percent in the second half. Even though BYU scored 41 of its 68 points in the second half, Colorado took advantage of the 25 Cougar turnovers and ran away with the game.
“People don’t understand how tough Colorado is,” Gallup said.
Gallup had an outstanding game, shooting 59 percent from the field, 60 percent from three-point land and was two for two at the line. Gallup led both teams in scoring by a large margin, racking up 10 more points than the two top scorers for Colorado, Jenny Circle and LaShena Graham.
“The girls played quite well,” Shippen said, “Colorado had the home court advantage and they have a great winning tradition, but we didn’t played scared. We played with more courage this time.”
The Cougars played well considering their opponent. The Buffs were the 1996-97 Big 12 Tournament Champions and are ranked second in the Big 12 conference. Colorado also made it to the Midwest Regional Semifinals in the NCAA Championships. During Colorado’s 1995-96 season the Buffs made it to the second round of the NCAA Championships. The Buffaloes have been ranked first or second in their conference every year since 1989.
BYU is trying to shake off its loss to Colorado as it prepares for Tuesday’s home opener against Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds are out for a repeat, as they beat the Cougars last year. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.