DENVER – The University of Denver women's basketball team fell at home, 71-63, to Northern Colorado on Sunday afternoon.
The squad looked as if it were going to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011-12, but the Bears pulled away in the final minutes of the contest on an 11-2 run.
Leading the way for DU was Madison Nelson for the second time this season, as the sophomore totaled 17 points and 12 rebounds, recording her first career double-double.
Lauren Loven and Claire Gritt finished just behind Nelson, each tallying 14 points.
Jordyn Alt only scored two points, but the senior was huge off the glass snatching 12 rebounds.
As a team, the Pioneers shot 21-for-57 for 36.8 percent from the field, while going 9-of-21 for 42.9 percent from behind the arc.
Briana Johnson and Gritt got things going for the Crimson and Gold in the first, starting the squad on a 7-2 run.
After UNC cut the lead to two at 7-5, Loven came off the bench to drain a huge three for Denver.
The Bears then worked the lead down to one, 15-14 with 2:58 to play in the first before Jasmine Jeffcoat connected with a lay-in.
Northern Colorado took its first lead of the game at 18-17 and then added to it with a trey. Loven responded with a three of her own, cutting the lead to one as the first quarter came to an end, with the score of 21-20.
In the second, UNC started where they left off with another three from Savannah Smith, the second of the day for the guard.
Within the first three minutes of the second, the Bears had scored another 10 points and held a 31-25 lead.
DU then retook the lead a few minutes later thanks to a Samantha Romanowski triple, 38-37. A Nelson lay-up a minute later followed by another Jeffcoat bucket put the Pioneers on top at the half, 42-37.
Through the break, the Crimson and Gold were shooting 15-for-28 for 53.6 percent from the field and 8-of-13 from behind the arc.
Despite trailing by five at the break, the Bears came out to start the third hot, starting the period off with an 8-0 run.
Northern Colorado's defense also came out of the half inspired, as they held Denver scoreless for the first six and a half minutes of the quarter.
A pair of free throws from Johnson brought the Pioneers within one, 47-46, but a UNC two-point jumper on the other end returned the lead to three.
DU finally got back within one, 55-54 with a huge Nelson three with eight and a half minutes to play.
Alt returned the lead back to the Pioneers, 61-60 with less than three minutes, but a Bears three from Savannah Scott returned the lead to UNC.
The final few minutes continued to go Northern Colorado's way, as the team finished the game on an 11-2 run.
Denver returns to the court on Thursday to take on Wyoming inside Hamilton Gymnasium.