What went right: The Buffs were aggressive all day with their defense and rebounding. They also kept their poise down the stretch and got contributions from several players.
What went wrong: CU was unable to take full advantage of an awful first quarter by Miami. That kept the Hurricanes in it early. Aside from that, there wasn't much to complain about with this one.
Star of the game: Annika Jank. The freshman had 14 points and 12 rebounds and hit big shots throughout the game.
What's next: The Buffs will host the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic at Coors Events Center on Friday and Saturday. They will play Mississippi Valley State on Friday at Noon.
Last Sunday, the Colorado women's basketball team built a big lead against a talented ACC team, and then buckled when North Carolina rallied for the win.
On Saturday, the Buffaloes once again built a big lead against a talented ACC team, but this time, they kept their poise and picked up a significant 67-61 win against Miami at Coors Events Center.
"We talk all the time about being the toughest team, being the hardest-working team and being really disciplined," CU head coach JR Payne said. "We were not perfect for 40 minutes, but we were those things for 40 minutes; if not, really close to 40 minutes. I'm wildly proud of that, because that's where we want our program to be."
Senior Brecca Thomas came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points and freshman Annika Jank posted the first double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) of her career to lead the Buffs (3-1), who handed the Hurricanes (2-1) their first loss. Miami came into the game ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches' poll and just outside the Associated Press Top 25.
"It's definitely a big confidence booster, because we knew from the (scouting report) that Miami was going to be aggressive," Thomas said. "We were very prepared. It was a good fight. We had a couple of runs, they had a couple runs, it went back and forth, but we buckled down and did what we needed to do."
CU led by as many as 18 points against North Carolina last weekend before falling in overtime. On Saturday, the Buffs led by as many at 15 points, but were challenged several times to respond to Miami rallies.
The Hurricanes were a stunning 0-for-16 from the floor in the first quarter, with CU jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Just four minutes into the second quarter, however, Miami had the lead, 16-14.
It was back-and-forth for a while until Miami went up 31-29 with 6:27 to go in the third. CU then went on a 14-0 surge, sparking a 21-5 run to close the quarter.
Miami didn't go away, though, pulling within five late in the fourth.
The Hurricanes could never get any closer, however, because Thomas, Jank or others came through with big shot after big shot. Kennedy Leonard, who struggled all night with her shooting, made five consecutive free throws in the last 32.1 seconds to seal the win. Leonard made just four of her first 11 free throws and was 1-for-8 from the floor.
"It's always nice to see us win that way, because then you know you can do it," Thomas said of the Buffs coming up with big plays down the stretch. "You know you can buckle down and do the little things. I thought it was a really fun win and a good win."
Defensively, the Buffs set the tone early with their aggressive, swarming zone. They kept that up most of the night, as Miami made just 34.3 percent of its shots.
The Buffs also won the battle of the boards, 43-38. That included 35 defensive rebounds that kept the Hurricanes from piling up second-chance points.
"We always focus on rebounding in practice and so I tried to get after it tonight because that was one of our keys," Jank said. "I truly believe that rebounding wins games and we know that Miami is a great crashing team, so our main key was to box out and I think we did a great job of doing that."
Janea Bunn added nine rebounds and Aubrey Knight had seven, as the Buffs delivered a win that made their coach proud.
"We had been in this scenario last weekend and it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to," Payne said. "I thought we just showed a lot of poise down the stretch.
"That is something we can use next game and next game and in March we can use that type of reminder."
Sophomore guard Quinessa Caylao-Do left the game with her left arm in a sling, but the Buffs were unsure of the extent of her injury. ... Junior guard Alexis Robinson, who missed the previous game with a concussion, was cleared to play at halftime, and provided a second-half spark, with seven points in 13 minutes. ... Miami's one point in the first quarter was the lowest ever for a CU opponent in any quarter. The Hurricanes were also the first team to shoot 0 percent for a whole quarter against the Buffs. ... Thomas' previous career high was 12 points, which she tied on Wednesday. ... Jank is the first CU freshman with a double-double in points and rebounds since Arielle Roberson in 2013.
Colorado 67, Miami 61
At Coors Events Center
Harris 1-4 1-2 3, Banks 4-11 3-4 11, Gray 2-11 5-5 10, Mortensen 4-6 0-0 9, Davenport 3-7 0-0 6, Bailey 3-6 0-0 8, Mason 0-2 0-2 0, Petithomme 0-1 0-0 0, Marshall 1-7 1-2 3, Hof 3-6 0-0 6, Geldof 2-6 1-2 5. Totals 23-67 11-17 61.
Bunn 3-6 2-3 8, Jank 6-14 2-2 14, Caylao-Do 1-2 0-2 2, Leonard 1-8 9-16 11, Knight 2-5 0-0 4, Robinson 3-6 0-0 7, Thomas 7-9 2-2 16, Correal 1-1 3-7 5, Hollingshed 0-1 0-0 0, Diop 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-52 18-32 67.
Score by quarters:Miami1231225—61
3-point field goals — Miami 4-18 (Bailey 2-3, Gray 1-7, Mortensen 1-2, Marshall 0-4, Banks 0-2). Colorado 1-12 (Robinson 1-3, Leonard 0-4, Jank 0-2, Knight 0-1, Thomas 0-1, Hollingshed 0-1). Rebounds — Miami 38 (Davenport 8), Colorado 43 (Jank 12).Assists — Miami 14 (Banks 5), Colorado 12 (Leonard 8).Turnovers — Miami 19, Colorado 24. Total fouls — Miami 27, Colorado 18. Fouled out — Harris. Attendence — 1,450.