Whether halftime provided inspiration or inner peace, the Colorado women’s basketball team certainly looked better for having a break Saturday in the first round of the WNIT.
Playing at home against North Dakota, the Buffaloes burst out with an 8-1 run to start the second half, built the lead to as many as 12 points and stayed on top the rest of the way for a 68-59 victory. CU will host a quarterfinal game on Monday at 7 p.m. MST against Western Kentucky.
UND (0-1) kept in range as senior center Emily Evers came through with career-best totals of 21 points and 18 rebounds, but the visitors could get no closer than four points as time wound down. Colorado (1-0) was led by Jen Reese (21 points, eight rebounds), who grabbed a key offensive rebound off a free throw in the final seconds and converted a conventional 3-point play to seal the contest.
The Buffs were nursing a four-point lead and turned the ball over with 38 seconds to go, but Jamee Swan stepped in front of a pass for a critical steal. Swan finished with 16 points and six rebounds, and Lauren Huggins closed with 11 points.
North Dakota will play in the consolation round on Nov. 21. UND held a 34-31 lead at halftime, with Evers taking charge underneath with 14 points and nine rebounds. Leah Szabla was the only other UND player to finish in double figures, putting up 15 points and four rebounds.
North Dakota shot just 32 percent from the field and missed all seven of its 3-point attempts. CU did a nice job of moving the ball around in registering 18 assists on 25 made shots; the Buffs were 5-of-12 from 3-point range.