For the 14th time in program history and the first in Linda Lappe's tenure, the University of Colorado women's basketball team took down a top ten opponent, beating Louisville, 70-66.
"I am really proud and happy for our players," said Lappe. "They have worked hard since the end of last season to do what we did tonight."
CU (9-0) held All-Big East guard Shoni Schimmel in check from the beginning as she finished with four points off 2-for-12 from the field. Schimmel, known for her distribution skills, only notched two assists, while turning the ball over four times.
"That's the second time I have played (Schimmel) and I knew that I wanted to shut down a Big East All-American," said Brittany Wilson, who turned in a remarkable defensive effort. "It was just a great thing to be able to shut her down and not let her score in the first half."
The Buffs and Cardinals played the first half at a breakneck pace, with 20 combined turnovers. Colorado took a 36-30 lead into halftime from a Rachel Hargis banker in the paint off a smooth feed from Chucky Jeffery, who finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Colorado started the second half frigid from the field. The Buffs failed to convert on a field goal attempt until an Arielle Roberson tallied two of her 13 points with a layup at the 15:12 mark.
The Buffs would continue to struggle on the offensive end until a 10-0 run figured to send Louisville home disappointed, as CU led 64-51 with just over two minutes remaining.
However, the Cardinals' pressure forced Colorado into seven turnovers in the final two minutes. With 53 seconds remaining, Louisville cut the deficit to three with a put-back by Megan Deines.
CU would regroup, as Wilson and Jeffery each sunk a pair of free throws, putting the lead at seven. Louisville would capitalize off more Colorado miscues, going on a 5-0 spurt, and putting Wilson at the line with just 13 seconds to go with the score at 68-66.
Wilson missed both free throws, but Jen Reese snuck in behind the Cardinals box-out to snare the rebound and bank in the two most pivotal points of her career, ensuring a CU victory, the first over a top ten team since Lappe and her 2001-02 Buffs knocked off Stanford in the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16.
"Holy cow," said Lappe on Reese's rebound and put back. "I felt like we were in trouble if Jen doesn't get that put back. It was all effort."
The Buffs will likely be featured in next week's AP poll, which comes out Monday. The Buffs play Utah Valley State on Saturday, the 22nd, after a break for finals.