KANSAS CITY, Mo. - One freshman forward started, one finished. No matter the order of appearance the recipe provided a winning combination for Colorado.
Arielle Roberson and Jamee Swan combined for 37 points on 71 percent shooting as Colorado defeated Missouri-Kansas City, 78-55, Sunday afternoon at the Swinney Recreation Center on the UMKC campus.
Colorado improved to 2-0, claiming its 15th straight win over nonconference regular season opponents dating back to 2010. UMKC drops to 2-2.
Swan, making her first career start, scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half to give the Buffaloes a good start. After picking up her third foul early in the second half, Roberson stepped in scoring 19 of her game-high 23 points in the last 20 minutes.
Roberson was 9-of-12 from the field, hit all five free throw attempts and grabbed six rebounds. Swan was 6-of-9 from the floor had three rebounds and an assist.
The freshman front court duo helped the Buffaloes dominate in the paint, outscoring the Kangaroos 42-14 inside.
"I give all the credit to my teammates," Roberson said. "We knew coming out of the locker room we needed to push the ball and run more, really turn it up in the second half.
"I knew I had to bring defensive intensity and that led to offensive intensity for everybody."
Roberson and Swan were the beneficiaries of a Colorado offense that picked apart the UMKC zone; putting on a passing clinic from all five positions. The Buffaloes had 17 assists on 32 made shots and overall shot 47 percent for the game.
That offense ran through forward Jen Reese and center Rachel Hargis. Playing in the high post, Reese and Hargis continually made the right pass, either finding Roberson and Swan on the low block or dishing out to continue through the guards.
Officially the two combined for six assists, but their initial reads led to plenty of good looks for the Buffaloes all afternoon.
Reese also had 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds. Hargis made 3-of-4 field goals finishing with eight points.
"Our four post players, Arielle, Rachel, Jamee and Jen really dominated the game," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. "They really understood what we were trying to do in our zone offense. I thought they did a fantastic job of being a presence on the inside."
After Lauren Dudding put UMKC up with a 3-pointer on its initial possession, Colorado scored nine straight including two buckets from Swan.
UMKC briefly retook the lead with a 7-0 run of its own for a 10-9 advantage six minutes in. Roberson and Swan had back-to-back scores to put CU up for good.
The Kangaroos kept CU close early. Eilise O'Connor scored eight of her 10 points in the first half as UMKC pulled to within two at 18-16, but then the Buffaloes went to work. Colorado scored on five of its next six possessions during an 11-0 run to take a 29-16 lead. Hargis had a three point play and Roberson and Reese each scored on put-backs off CU misses.
"The start was important, we really needed that to kick-start our momentum," Swan said. "Starting off great helps us finish great."
Offensive rebounding was key for the Buffaloes, grabbing 19 which led to 22 second chance points. Overall Colorado enjoyed a 44-29 advantage on the boards.
"Offensive rebounding was a huge improvement (from the season opener)," Lappe said. "We crashed the glass against the zone and got a lot of put-backs. The effort on the offensive glass was fantastic.
Colorado led by nine at the half (36-27). UMKC's Kim Nezianya quickly converted conventional 3-point play to cut the CU lead to six, and also gave Swan her third foul. From there Roberson shined.
The San Antonio native scored 14 points in the first six minutes of the half as the Buffaloes began to pull away. She scored six in a row as CU rebuilt a double-digit lead at 46-35. After a pair of Hailey Houser free throws, CU put the game away with a 13-0 run. Following a Reese jumper and a transition layup from Lexy Kresl, Roberson scored the next seven as the Buffaloes won their fifth straight nonconference regular season game away from Boulder.
Nezianya led UMKC with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Colorado returns home to host the 26th annual Omni Hotels Classic Nov. 23-24 at the Coors Events Center. The tournament starts with Auburn vs. San Diego State on Friday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. followed by Colorado and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday the consolation game will be played at 5 p.m. followed by the championship at 7:30 p.m.