Fast break box
What: Colorado held UCLA to 12 points in the second half and just three made field goals in the final 20 minutes.
What went wrong?: Junior forward Jen Reese suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the first half. Her status is uncertain.
Star of the game CU forward Arielle Roberson produced her second straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds
What's next?: Colorado hosts USC in the regular season finale for both teams Sunday at noon.
Anyone who saw the Colorado men's basketball team make only one of 15 field goal attempts in the first 10 minutes against Arizona a week ago and thought they were seeing something rare was wrong.
The UCLA women took a three-point advantage over CU into the locker room at halftime Friday night but emerged to make just one field goal in the first 11 minutes, 27 seconds of the second half. The Bruins made just one of their first 18 field goal attempts in the half and CU built a nine-point lead.
Colorado eventually ran away to a 62-42 victory at the Coors Events Center to secure its first winning streak since mid-December and give twin guards Ashley and Brittany Wilson a happy birthday. The outcome set up a rematch between the Buffs and Bruins next week in Seattle in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Depending on the outcome of the regular season finales Sunday, one team will be the No. 8 seed and the other will be the No. 9 seed.
Colorado coach Linda Lappe and her players said afterward they believe they are finally getting back to playing the kind of basketball they proved they were capable of during the first two months of the season when they were 9-0 at one point and ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation.
"I felt like, watching it, we had six or seven defenders on the floor at any one time," Lappe said of her team's defensive intensity following halftime.
The Bruins, who came into the game as the worst shooting team in the Pac-12, finished the second half shooting 12 percent, making just three of 25 attempts.
The Buffs have now held their last two opponents to 10 and 12 points respectively in the second halves of those games. The Buffs came back against Arizona last week because of the first of those remarkable second-half defensive performances. On Friday night at halftime, Lappe implored her team to play the second half against the Bruins like it was trailing by 20 once again.
The Buffs obliged.
"I've been saying it for about three or four weeks now that we're getting better," Lappe said. "Even though you couldn't always see it, other people couldn't see it, I could see it.
"I could see it in how we were playing. I could see it on film. I could see it in practice. ... Now we're starting to get that edge that we didn't have. We feel like the season is not over and we want to play well down the stretch here."
Arielle Roberson and Jamee Swan led the Buffs with 14 points each. Roberson added 11 rebounds. It was her sixth double-double of the season and her second consecutive such performance.
Roberson said the Buffs are finally playing with a sense of urgency, something that has been lacking throughout Pac-12 play.
"Definitely," she said. "... Both seconds halves we've had the past two games have really felt that way. I know, I just said it's a mindset, but we can feel it and I feel like it gets our crowd into it and it makes things much more fun and then you want to play harder. So I think we're definitely finding it and everyone can feel it."
Colorado's second-half was made even more impressive by the absence of junior forward Jen Reese.
The Buffs trailed by three in the final minute of the first half when Reese stepped into the lane on defense to stop UCLA guard Nirra Fields' path to the basket.
Fields collided hard with Reese who went to the floor and stayed there for several minutes. Reese didn't come out of the locker room after halftime until play had resumed. She emerged with her left arm in a sling with what CU reported as a shoulder injury.
Her status for the Sunday's regular season finale against USC and the Pac-12 Tournament is uncertain.
"I think, honestly, their bench players especially stepped up and ours didn't," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "I thought especially when Jen Reese came out, it could have been, 'Oh, it's going to be too hard.' But they weren't in the pity pond at all. They came out and fought stronger, and I think they fought for each other."
Swan said the Buffs weren't about to let the game slip away after watching Reese sacrifice for the team with a gutsy defensive play.
"I think it's like a family thing," Swan said. "When somebody in your family is injured, you do the best that you can to make sure they know that you care. I think that's what we all did."
Colorado athletic director Rick George said CU has submitted a bid to host games in the WNIT assuming the Buffs don't win the Pac-12 Tournament to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. George said he believes CU has a good chance of hosting a game or two if the Buffs end up in the WNIT. ... Haley Smith scored a career best 11 points and also grabbed eight rebounds in what was clearly the best game of her young career.