SAN ANTONIO - Rachel Hargis and Chucky Jeffery each had double-doubles as Colorado defeated Texas-Pan American 67-49 in the first game of the UTSA Holiday Classic Tuesday afternoon at the Convocation Center on the UTSA campus.
Colorado continues its historic start, moving to 10-0 for just the third time ever, and on Tuesday, the Buffaloes did it on defense.
Colorado held UTPA (4-10) to just 31 percent shooting and dominated on the boards. The Buffaloes registered a season-high 54 rebounds, led by a career-high 11 from Hargis who also used her considerable size advantage at 6-foot-4, for a personal-best 12 points. It was the first career double-double for Hargis, the Robinson, Texas, native who also registered a season-best three blocked shots.
"It felt nice to be able to come home and perform in front of my family and friends," Hargis said. "To help bring a win to the team is always nice."
For Jeffery it was her fifth double-doubles of the season as the junior guard had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Lexy Kresl also had 14 points as four Buffaloes scored in double-figures. Freshman Jen Reese had 10.
The defensive tone was set early as the Buffaloes held UTPA to 21 percent in the first half. Hargis also provided the initial offensive spark as she had six quick points. Jeffery capped off a 9-0 run as CU built a 15-5 lead mid-way through the first half.
UTPA's best offensive push of the first half followed as Laquita Garner scored six-straight points and finished off an 8-0 Broncs run with a short jumper, cutting the CU lead to 15-13 with 7 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
But UTPA didn't hit another field goal the rest of the half and CU responded with an 11-0 sprint which featured scores by five different Buffaloes, including Jeffery and Hargis. Donna Jackson broke the run with two free throws and CU led 26-15 at the break.
"Defensively we stayed focused and steady," head coach Linda Lappe said. "One of our goals coming in was to make them make the mistakes, not for us to make the mistakes. We were solid defensively, especially in the first half."
UTPA crept back into the game early in the second half from the line. The Broncs hit six-straight free throws at one point and a pair from Johnondra Patterson brought UTPA to within 39-30 with 12:08 left.
Colorado's Julie Seabrook ended that run in strong fashion with a layup and free throw to put CU up by double digits for good. Reese added an and-one of her own the next time down the floor as the Buffaloes extended the lead to 55-39.
Colorado then kept UTPA at bay, with some success from the line of its own. The Buffaloes hit 11-of-13 freebies in the second half, including a pair in the final minute by Brenna Malcolm-Peck, who scored her first points since Dec. 30, 2009.
Brenna's twin sister Meagan was a key figure in CU's best rebounding performance in terms of numbers in four years. Meagan Malcolm-Peck had a season-best nine rebounds with a team-best five on the offensive end. CU had its most rebounds since grabbing 58 at Colorado State on Dec. 1, 2007. Seabrook joined the rebound party with six to go with seven points
"Any time you can get a win away from your home floor is exciting," Lappe said. "We played solid and did enough to win. We didn't play our best game; didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but I told our team we showed a lot of maturity...'let's do what we can do to score' and (tonight) it was pound the ball inside."
Jackson finished with a game-high 16 points for the Broncs.
Colorado will face Creighton in its second game of the UTSA Classic on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 4 p.m. The game can be heard live on KKZN AM 760 and online at BuffsTV.