Kansas 67, No. 19 Colorado 52

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The Colorado Buffaloes missed center Rachel Hargis - along with plenty of shots.

The fifth-seeded Buffaloes were trounced by No. 12 seed Kansas 67-52 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night on their home floor.

Colorado (25-7) came into the game riding high, ranked 19th and eagerly awaiting their former foe from the Big 12.

But they lost Hargis to a sprained right MCL last week in practice and couldn't stop the Jayhawks, who had five players in double figures led by Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis with 14 each.

''I think we missed her a lot,'' Arielle Roberson said. ''... She's definitely a great defender and whether it's her presence or her communication and intensity that she brings, that's what we missed. She's also good at helping, directing people on defense and I don't think we had that tonight.''

Chucky Jeffery said Hargis ''was definitely our best defender on the floor. Rachel is steady. She's a big girl. She can defend the paint. I think she would have been a great matchup for Carolyn Davis, so we really missed that a lot.''

The Buffaloes also missed plenty of shots - Roberson and Jeffery, their two leading scorers, combined to shoot just 5-for-29 from the floor. Roberson finished with 11 points and Jeffery eight.

''We knew ... if we could take them out, then we had a good chance to win,'' Davis said. ''I think we did a great job executing that and defending them and keeping them off the board and making them take tough shots.''

Chelsea Gardner and Charlicia Harper each scored 12 for the Jayhawks and Monica Engelman added 10 points.

The Jayhawks (19-13) lost five of seven coming into the NCAA tournament, so, although they're out to prove they're much better than that, they're not about to harp on the no-respect thing.

So, no, they don't feel slighted that the selection committee made them a 12.

''We lost a lot of games down the stretch,'' Davis said.

When she and Goodrich were asked if they felt snubbed, their coach, Bonnie Henrickson, stepped in and said: ''I'll be honest, we were just excited to have the opportunity to play.

''We were sitting on pins and needles and grateful for the selection committee to give us a chance to play. So, we're just thrilled with the opportunity. And we're not going to get caught up in that.

''It doesn't matter who you play, it doesn't matter where you play - but it does matter how you play.''

The Jayhawks proved that, using a 15-0 spurt spanning halftime to take control and advance to face fourth-seeded South Carolina on Monday at the Coors Events Center.

The Buffaloes saw their first trip to the NCAA tournament in nine years come to an unexpected end. All the more maddening, it came against their former foe from the Big 12 that always seemed to have their number.

Both teams were coming off a two-week layoff, having last played on March 9, but the Jayhawks shot 45 percent to the Buffaloes' 25 percent, and Colorado made just five of 29 shots after halftime.

''It's tough to win games when you shoot the ball 25 percent and then you don't play defense either,'' Buffs coach Linda Lappe said.

The Buffaloes raced out to a 14-4 lead, and it looked as if they were going to exact some payback for all those losses to Kansas back in their days in the Big 12.

They were wrong. The Buffaloes saw their big lead wither away quickly as the Jayhawks closed the first half on a 33-13 run to take a 37-27 halftime lead.

Roberson, whose brother, Andre, also lost his first-round NCAA game when the Buffaloes' men's team were bounced by Illinois on Friday night, said ''we don't want to hang our heads too low. ... looking back the journey we had, it was a great run and it's a lot to build on.''


Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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