BOULDER - Arizona State forced 24 Colorado turnovers, built a big lead and held off a late rally to claim a 60-47 Pac-12 Conference win Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.
Colorado drops to 16-8 overall and 5-8 in the Pac-12. Arizona State improves to 16-8, 7-6 in league play.
Arizona State scored 26 points off Colorado miscues. The Sun Devils also held a sizeable advantage on the boards, 43-25. Arizona State's 15 offensive rebounds also translated into 13 second chance points.
"We just have to get better," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. "Arizona State is a team where most of their players have been to the NCAA Tournament. We've gotten better since the last time we've played them but we're just not there yet."
Colorado had a much better time against Arizona State's defense than it did in the first meeting when the Sun Devils held the Buffaloes to a record-low nine first half points en route to a 64-43 win. Ashley Wilson scored in the lane on a driving layup to give the Buffaloes an early 9-8 lead at the 12 minute, 15 second mark of the first half.
The teams stayed even over the next five minutes. Rachel Hargis supplied the sixth tie of the first half on a baseline jumper with 6:46 remaining, knotting the score at 15-15.
A turnover led to an Olivia Major fast break bucket which gave Arizona State the lead for good. That score sparked a 12-2 Arizona State run as the Sun Devils led 27-17 with 2:41 left. CU cut the deficit back down to six on back-to-back layups by Lexy Kresl and Ashley Wilson.
Colorado was able to get within four early in the second half. Jen Reese hit a pair of free throws, and the Buffaloes were down just 31-27 two minutes in.
Arizona's front court duo of Kimberly Brandon and Janae Fulcher then took over. Both scored four points during a 10-0 run that put the game seemingly out of reach. The Sun Devils led by as much as 18 in the second half. Fulcher scored a game-high 16 points off the bench.
Colorado had one final push. Wilson scored five straight points to spark a 12-1 run. Unable to hit a 3-pointer to that point of the game (0-for-10) Kresl drilled CU's first to trim ASU's lead to 51-41. Chucky Jeffery then hit her first bomb, and added a free throw a minute later to help the Buffaloes creep to within 52-45 with 3:17 left.
But the Buffaloes would get no closer. The Sun Devils were able to corral just enough offensive rebounds and hit enough free throws to pull away.
"We are disappointed of course, but we did make a step to get better," Wilson said. "We are still getting better. We saw some things we liked, and few things we didn't like. We need to take something out of this loss. We can't just hang our heads low. It's something to take out of this loss. We did get better."
Jeffery had 10 points to lead Colorado, but struggled from the field, making just 3-of-12. Wilson had nine points off the bench, Kresl and Reese each added seven. Jasmine Sborov had a team-high seven rebounds to go with five points and three steals.
Colorado plays just one game next week as the Buffaloes host travel partner Utah on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 5 p.m. The game will be televised live on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain.