Refreshed Buffs Set to Take on Utah on Monday
BOULDER – It's all about Pac-12 Conference play for head coach JR Payne and the Colorado women's basketball team. Colorado completed its non-conference slate last Tuesday and now has to dig in for 20 consecutive conference matchups, beginning with Utah on Monday (noon MT, Pac-12 Networks).
Colorado (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) has lost its last three, including a nail-biter at Denver that resulted in CU's third straight loss in five days. After the game at Denver, neither the coaching staff nor the players were making excuses.
"I'm not one to make excuses," Payne expressed after the close loss. "I'm not going to talk about fatigue. I mean we certainly had a chance to win the ballgame. I'm not going to make that excuse. I mean obviously, three games in five days are tough, no matter what. This [Denver] is a really scrappy tough, good team. But they beat us."
Sophomore Jaylyn Sherrod, who scored a career-high 22 points in the loss, echoed the message.
"Fatigue is mental, so it didn't matter if we were tired from the Oregon's. It didn't matter if we were tired from having a week or two straight of practice. Fatigue is mental and I think we fought through it. Personally, for one of the first times I've seen this year, we fought through fatigue and we're going out there and just try to rally together and fight adversity."
CU's three-game skid has not been all bad. Senior Mya Hollingshed bounced back from a rough game against No. 10 Oregon, scoring a season-high 21 points in the Buffs' loss at No. 17 Oregon State. The Houston, Texas native, then went out and recorded her third double-double of the season at Denver, finishing with 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Hollingshed's three double-doubles in the early part of the season rank first in the Pac-12 and seventh in the NCAA.
Danish freshman Frida Formann returned to her early season success against the Pioneers. She totaled a season-high 17 points at DU. Formann has scored in double-figures in three of her first five career games. She also picked up her first career start against Denver.
Utah (2-1, 1-1 Pac-12) had a delayed start to the season. The Utes did not get going on the court until having to travel to No. 10 Oregon. Utah then went on to upset No. 15 Oregon State, also on the road, marking the first time Utah beat a top 25 opponent on the road since 2018. The Utes also picked up a 73-63 win over Montana State in their only scheduled non-conference game of the season.
Last season the Buffs and Utes split the series with a game apiece. Each school won on the road. The Buffs' win (80-70) came in the Pac-12 opener. Sherrod led the way for CU with a then career-high 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Utah returned the favor a few weeks later in Boulder, handing CU an 84-69 loss. Utah hit 16 3-pointers in the win.
Monday's tip is scheduled for noon MT. Thad Anderson and former Denver Nugget Earl Watson will have the call on the Pac-12 Network. The game will also be available on the TuneIn app and the Colorado Radio Network (CUBuffs.com/Listen).