In a rematch of a 75-59 Buffs win late in non-conference play, Colorado utilized a 12-2 run at the beginning of the second half to advance to the third round of the WNIT by defeating Southern Utah, 79-68.
"I really like how we opened up the second half, I thought that was the difference in the game," said head coach Linda Lappe. "We came out with a different level of confidence."
Saturday night's opponent wasn't the only throwback to non-conference play. CU's balanced scoring effort - four finished in double figures - was reminiscent of box scores from November and December.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Arielle Roberson set the tone for the second half by knocking down a three only nine seconds into the second half. Rachel Hargis extended the Colorado lead to 12 by hitting a spinning lefty banker, forcing a Southern Utah timeout.
A few more Roberson field goals and a Jamee Swan put-back later, and the Buffs looked to be safely on to the round of 16, leading 40-23. But Colorado's struggles with the press-break, along with the Thunderbird's aggressiveness allowed Southern Utah to cut the lead to nine with 3:18 remaining.
"We just had to slow down a little bit," said Lappe. "We were going too fast.
After a few timeouts from Lappe, Colorado's ballhandlers slowed down and hit free throws to seal their trip to the third round of the WNIT.
Roberson led all CU scores with 15 points and 11 boards. Hargis - who broke CU's games played record in her 133rd appearance in black and gold - had an efficient 12 points. Lexy Kresl added 12 and Brittany Wilson continued her sharp shooting from behind the arc, tallying 11 points.
Colorado will face the winner of Monday night's St, Mary's-UTEP matchup. Date and site will likely be determined late Monday.
"We don't want Ashley (Wilson), Brittany (Wilson), or Rachel (Hargis)'s careers to end just yet," said Roberson. "We want them to go out with something positive. It feels like an honor, honestly, to be playing with these three seniors."