MONTECATINI, Italy – Five Colorado players scored in double-digits as the Buffaloes rolled to an 80-47 win over the Toscana All-Stars Friday evening at the Palivinci.
Colorado freshmen Bri Watts and Haley Smith made great first impressions. Watts recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs for the Buffaloes. Smith scored 12 points on 6-of-8 from the field.
Smith scored the game’s first two baskets as Colorado vaulted to a 14-0 lead. The Buffaloes led 24-7 after the first of four 10-minute quarters.
Smith scored again on consecutive buckets midway through the second quarter, including a steal and breakaway layup, giving CU its largest lead to that point at 39-14.
“I had so much fun (in our first game),” Smith said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect transitioning from high school to college, but I thought it went well, and we played well as a team.”
Toscana’s Fabbri scored seven of her 10 points in the final minutes of the second quarter to cut the CU lead to 43-28 at the half.
But the Buffaloes clamped down defensively in the second half, allowing only 19 total points. Toscana shot just 28 percent for the game and Colorado forced 27 turnovers.
The Buffaloes looked crisp at times, shooting 48 percent and dishing out 19 assists. On the flip side, Colorado had too many turnovers themselves (26), but to their credit, the team played well in spurts despite stepping on a basketball court for the first time since the final practice at the Coors Events Center on Aug. 12.
Colorado held a substantial size advantage and it showed in the rebounding numbers. The Buffaloes held a 59-25 edge on the boards, and actually had more offensive rebounds (29) than Toscana had total.
Watts had six offensive rebounds alone while hitting 6-of-12 from the field. She used her 6-foot-2 frame to box out on defense and post up on the offensive end.
“It was a great experience,” Watts said. “I love using my body, even though I really still need to learn how, but it makes my job a lot easier.”
All 12 of Colorado’s available players scored and saw between 11 and 22 minutes of action. Watts topped the Buffaloes in that category as well. Rachel Hargis scored 10 points off the bench in her first action since a knee injury last March.
“We were very balanced offensively and rebounded the ball well,” CU head coach Linda Lappe said. “We need to get sharper and will as we go along. We’ll be ready for the next game.”
Jasmine Sborov and Ashley Wilson were the other two in double-digits, scoring 10 each. Jen Reese had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Colorado will enjoy a day of sightseeing in Florence on Saturday before heading for Rome Sunday to play its second game. The Buffaloes will play at 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. MT) against the Lazio All-Stars.