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Buffaloes put on defensive clinic in road win over Oregon

Holding Oregon to an 11 point half is quite a feat.

NCAA Womens Basketball: UCLA at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but the Buffaloes managed to leave Eugene with a decisive 61-48 over the Oregon Ducks.

Neither teams started the game off on a great foot, as both sides just couldn’t hit their shots. Colorado started the game out only making 6 of their first 16 attempts from the field, while Oregon somehow faired even worse. The Ducks made only 4 of 13 FG attempts in the first, and made none of their 6 attempts from deep. Both squads just kept laying brick after brick until the score settled at 13-8 to end the quarter

Colorado’s shooting still wasn’t great in the second quarter (8-25 FQ, 3-5 3PT), but they more than made up for that on the defensive end. The Buffs put the clamps on Oregon, putting on an absolute defensive masterclass. The Ducks only scored THREE points in the entire second quarter, and didn’t make a single shot from the field for the final 16 minutes of the half.

The difference-maker in the first half for the Buffaloes was their ability to force live-ball turnovers. Oregon couldn’t handle the Buffaloes’ signature pesky style of defense, as they turned the ball over 10 times in the first half alone. Colorado took full advantage of those takeaways, scoring 22 points off them to build themselves a comfortable lead. The Buffaloes really capitalized on those turnover points, heading into halftime up 31-11.

Holding a Pac-12 team to an 11 point half is a very impressive feat and it felt like the Buffs were going to easily cruise to a dominant victory, but that’s not what we saw in the second half. Oregon came back from the break with a vengeance and Colorado couldn't resolve their shooting struggles. The Ducks managed to outscore CU 17-14 in the third quarter, but that cushiony 20 point lead at the half ensured that the Buffs held a 45-28 lead heading into the final period.

Things started to get ugly in the fourth. The Ducks had all of a sudden found their footing and began to make a run at the game. A 15-5 Oregon run, fueled by the Buffaloes missing 8 of their 9 shots during that period, cut Colorado’s lead down to a measly 7 points. It felt like Oregon had all the momentum of their side and could very realistically come back to win, but 7 points from Frida Formann down the stretch put the game away and secured a Buffaloes’ win. At the final whistle, Colorado won by a score of 61-48.

Sunday’s game in Eugene proved to be the Buffs’ worst shooting performance of the season. Colorado finished the game making only 27 of their 78 attempts from the field (34%) and 4 for 18 from deep (22%). The Buffaloes’ exceptional defense won them this game, allowing Oregon to make only 2 of their 16 from three point range (12.5%) and forcing 15 Ducks turnovers. If the Buffs had shot the ball with their usual efficiency, they would’ve likely beat the Ducks by a margin of 40+ points. That unfortunately didn’t happen, but a win’s a win.

Despite the team having a down-game offensively, Aaronette Vonleh carried the Buffs to a win. Her 16 points and 10 rebounds truly made a difference, as she was the only Buffalo to hit double digit figures in any category. When nobody else could get going, Netty continued to be Colorado’s most reliable option on both ends.

Colorado now moves to an overall record on 17-3 and a conference record of 7-2. The Buffs’ will continue their gauntlet of the northwestern Pac-12 members, facing off against both Washington schools next week on the road. The Buffaloes will be back in action next on Friday against Wazzu in Pullman. Tipoff will be at 8:00 pm local time.