BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Caroline Williams denies she has ice in
But she didn't show any nerves as she made a clutch 3-pointer
with the game on the line and Vanderbilt nearly blowing a 17-point
lead to a feisty Colorado team Sunday.
"I looked at it as just another shot," said the Vanderbilt
guard, who had missed her previous 3-point attempts. "It is at a
big point of the game, but you can't look at it more than just
another shot, be relaxed and knock it down."
Williams scored 21 points and Carla Thomas had 26 points and
seven rebounds as Vanderbilt (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today/No. 16 AP) survived a scare to defeat
Colorado 81-76 on Sunday.
"I know she's a great 3-point shooter, one of the best in the
country, but she's also a warrior," Vanderbilt coach Melanie
Balcomb said of Williams. "She plays 40 minutes a game, provides
stability on the court, is confident and never gets ruffled."
Balcomb also got a boost from Thomas, whose sore back made her a
question mark for the game.
"I didn't know I could go until the shootaround," Thomas said.
"I felt all right and let my adrenaline get me through."
Christina Wirth added 14 points for Vanderbilt (1-0), which is
unbeaten in four games with Colorado.
Jackie McFarland led Colorado (1-1) with 27 points and 12
rebounds. The Buffaloes have lost 17 straight times to ranked
teams, last beating one, Baylor, on Jan. 7, 2004.
Vanderbilt extended its lead to 17 points when Thomas connected
on her first four shots of the second half. Dee Davis' layup made
it 57-40 with 13:07 left. Colorado regrouped and got within 64-58
with 6:11 left. Jasmina Illiac scored eight points in the run.
"The comeback was the best thing about this afternoon,"
Colorado coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We could have packed
it up and folded and allowed this to be a 20-point game."
It didn't happen. The Buffaloes closed to 69-65 with 1:57 to go
after a free throw from Whitney Houston.
Then it was Vanderbilt's turn to play through adversity.
Williams calmly hit a 3-pointer 15 seconds later and Davis buried
two free throws to give Vanderbilt breathing room at 74-65.
McFarland had two conventional three-point plays as Colorado
made a last comeback bid to get it to 76-74 with 23 seconds left.
Williams and Davis sank two free throws apiece to preserve the win.
"We had to get our composure back," Williams said. "We have
to work on closing the deal sooner when it's not so tight."