BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Chucky Jeffery wasn’t about to let a tender left ankle keep her off the floor.
Not on senior day and especially not after the nearly 3,600 fans braved blizzard conditions to arrive at Coors Events Center.
Sore ankle and all, the senior guard scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in her final regular-season home game to help No. 20 Colorado hold on for a 68-61 win over Washington on Sunday.
The Buffaloes (22-5, 11-5 Pac-12) won their seventh straight game as they took a step closer to securing one of the first-round byes for the conference tournament.
“It’s truly satisfying,” Jeffery said. “We knew what was at stake, but we just wanted to come out and play it like a regular game.
“They’re a great team. They can score the ball, so for us to come out and hold them to 61 points, I think that’s really good for our team.”
Arielle Roberson led four Buffaloes in double figures with 16 points.
The Huskies (19-8, 11-5) were led in scoring by Kristi Kingma, who finished with 19 points. Jazmine Davis was held in check most of the afternoon, scoring just nine points. She entered the game averaging 19.6.
“I thought both teams played pretty well, but they made a few plays down the stretch to give them a chance to win the game,” Washington coach Kevin McGuff said.
Jeffery came up big for the Buffaloes even with a balky ankle. She fell awkwardly early in the second half and sat on the bench for nearly four minutes as trainers examined her ankle.
With her leadership missing from the floor, the Huskies worked their way back into the game. Although tentative on the ankle the rest of the way, Jeffery did help calm things down when she entered back into the game, especially late in the contest.
She had two key passes that set up baskets from Jen Reese in the final two minutes that ultimately helped the Buffaloes seal the win.
“There’s a comfort level with having Chucky on the floor,” coach Linda Lappe said. “I liked how the team stepped up and never really gave up the lead in the second half. I saw a lot of heart and energy tonight.”
In addition to her big day on the boards, Jeffery finished with 11 points and four assists. But she also had seven turnovers, which she attributed to nerves on senior night.
“I was being a timid a little bit but I got back in it and I just kept playing basketball,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s about the team and not about senior night or anything like that. It’s about us coming out and winning basketball games.”
Soon after the final buzzer, Jeffery was handed a microphone and addressed the crowd, thanking them for turning out under such snowy conditions. She also thanked her teammates and coaches for helping her to such a standout career. She’s currently 10th on the school’s all-time scoring list as well as sixth in rebounding and fourth in assists.
As for her vow not to cry, well, she couldn’t quite make that happen.
Neither could her teammate and close friend Brittany Wilson, who finished with 13 points. Asked about what Jeffery meant to her, Wilson began dabbing her eyes with her jersey.
“She’s been a great leader,” Wilson said.
Wilson also drew the assignment of guarding Davis, relishing the role of trying to stop her.
“I knew she’s a big asset to their team, a great player,” Wilson said. “I just wanted to be her worst nightmare and I think that I did the best that I could with that.”
Hours before the tip, Colorado posted a statement on its website imploring fans to be careful on their way to the game. A winter storm swept through the area and was expected to drop nearly a foot of snow. High winds also made travel treacherous.
The Buffs close out the regular season with games at Oregon and Oregon State before the start of the Pac-12 tournament.
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