FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado used a stifling defensive effort and an early 18-point run to shut down Colorado State 72-53 Sunday afternoon at Moby Arena.
Four CU players scored in double-digits. Chucky Jeffery and Lexy Kresl each had 14 points while Meagan Malcolm-Peck and Jen Reese each added 12.
Colorado, 3-0 for the first time since 2003-04, forced the Rams (1-3) into 21 turnovers which translated into 25 points for the Buffaloes, many of those coming in the game's opening minutes.
After CSU's Meghan Heimstra scored on the opening possession of the game, Colorado reeled off 18 straight points over the next nine minutes. During that span the Rams missed the four shots they attempted and had eight turnovers which turned into 13 CU points.
Brittany Wilson hit a pair of 3-pointers, Kresl had a conventional 3-point play on a driving basket and Meagan Malcolm-Peck topped the run off with a third 3-pointer to put CU 18-2.
Reese gave CU its largest first half lead at 22-4 on a pair of free throws with 9:35 remaining. CSU's leading scorer Kim Mestdagh, coming off a 35-point effort against Tulsa, began to settle her team down and recorded eight of the Rams first 13 points to cut CU's lead to 26-13 with 5:35 left.
But Reese countered with six straight to help the Buffaloes take a 38-22 advantage at the break.
"I thought we came out ready to play," head coach Linda Lappe said. "We came out with a lot of energy, and a lot of focus."
Colorado kept the pressure on into the second half. Jeffery scored eight points in the first eight minutes as the Buffs extended their lead to 54-24.
Mestdagh allowed CSU to keep pace by hitting 7-of-12 shots, and getting to the line in the second half, helping the Rams cut the lead back down to 13. A 9-2 CSU run, capped by a Mestdagh bucket trimmed CU's lead to 60-47 with 4:45 left in the game.
After a CSU called a timeout following Mestdagh's bucket, it was Malcolm-Peck's turn to respond. The junior forward hit a 3-pointer out of the timeout to push the lead back to 16. On the next possession, Malcolm-Peck grabbed the rebound off a Kelly Hartig miss and the Buffs turned that into a long jumper from Kresl to go back up 65-47 with 3:55 left.
"We knew defense and rebounding were going to be the two things that would win this game, and we did a superb job," Lappe said.
Colorado won the battle of the boards 37-28. The Buffaloes matched their scoring balance in rebounding as well. Rachel Hargis had a career-high tying eight rebounds, Reese had seven, Kresl pulled down six and Jeffery and Malcolm-Peck each had five.
Mestdagh led CSU with 19 points. Heimstra had nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Colorado will return home to host the 25th annual Omni Hotels Classic Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-26 at the Coors Events Center. Montana State and Wisconsin will meet in the first game Friday at 5 p.m. followed by CU hosting Valparaiso at 7:30 p.m.