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Gritty Effort Earns Colorado 76-65 Win Over UCLA In Pac-12 Tournament

Buffs will meet Stanford in the second round

USA TODAY Sports

A 12-6 second half run helped springboard Colorado women's basketball to a gritty 76-65 win over UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.

Colorado jumped out to a quick 17-10 lead over the Bruins. However, a CU field goal drought of nearly seven minutes gave UCLA some momentum. When Arielle Roberson hit a three-pointer to break the drought, the Buffs found themselves down 22-20. Rachel Hargis reclaimed the lead for the Buffs at the 6:08 mark with an old-fashioned three-point play. Colorado and UCLA would trade baskets down the stretch, finishing the half tied at 29.

CU's final three regular season games featured herculean second halves, and for the first few minutes of the second half against the Bruins, it looked like the Buffs might start to pull away. Baskets by Haley Smith and Ashley Wilson gave CU a 35-31 lead at the 18:30 mark, but UCLA quickly responded with buckets from Corinne Costa and Nirra Fields, who scored 24 points for the Bruins.

Ashley Wilson took the lead back with a free-throw, but UCLA ran off seven unanswered points to take a 42-36 lead.

With time ticking away on their season, Brittany Wilson and Lauren Huggins hit back-to-back three-pointers to knot the game at 46. Zoe Beard-Fails entered the game and gave the Buffs some valuable minutes, grabbing offensive boards and hitting free-throws to give CU a 51-48 lead - a lead that would not exchange hands for the rest of the afternoon.

Three-point shooting helped make the difference in Colorado's third win over UCLA this season. CU nailed eight three-pointers, matching the amount the Buffs have hit in the final five games of the regular season.

Brittany Wilson fought through foul trouble, scoring 17 points in 23 minutes. Ashley Wilson added a career-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Lexy Kresl added 14 points off the bench.

Colorado will face No. 4/3 Stanford in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament tomorrow at 1 p.m. MST.