Buffs Conclude Home Slate This Weekend
BOULDER — Things around CU Events Center have been different this season, to say the least. This weekend the Colorado women's basketball team will add another to the list.
Colorado (7-9, 5-8 Pac-12) will take on USC (6 p.m.) on Friday and No. 8 UCLA (1 p.m.) on Sunday to conclude the home schedule as is. Normally, that would put the focus on the team's two seniors, Mya Hollingshed and Annika Jank. Instead, it's just going to be business as usual.
"We are going to find a way to celebrate our seniors when the season is over," head coach JR Payne explained. "We want to celebrate them in the best way possible. They deserve a great celebration. It's very difficult to do that when no one can be in the building. Families can't be here. They wouldn't be able to walk on the court even if they could be here. It just wasn't how we wanted to celebrate these guys."
The Buffaloes have been good at home in this shortened season. CU holds a 6-3 record at the CU Events Center, with the three losses coming against No. 6 Arizona, a good Washington State team and Oregon State.
Normally the Buffs get another handful of games at home to pad that record in the non-conference season. This year was two non-conference games and then right into the belly of the beast that is the Pac-12. That has not seemed to phase the Buffs at all. CU's 5-8 mark in the conference is its best record through 13 conference games in the last eight years.
"I think we've handled the Pac-12 a lot better than in the past," Payne continued. "We are still relatively young. I think we only have five upperclassmen. We are a more experienced ballclub. I think we are playing pretty well with all things considered. We have a lot of players that don't practice a lot and we are asking them to play in games and different roles.
"As a coach, I look at the games I think we should have won. I look back at even the USC game and I think we missed 12 layups and however many free-throws. We missed 11 free-throws and lost by three to Arizona. There are so many games that we should have won in my option. That's frustrating. I do like how we've been playing in these closer games. We've played pretty well and done some good things. I think our ballclub is learning. We can have higher IQ conversations about things we should have done."
Friday's game will be the second time the Buffs and Trojans have seen each other this season. USC squeaked out a 56-52 win in Los Angeles in January, but as Coach Payne pointed out CU had its chances. Peanut Tuitele and Hollingshed led CU with 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Buffs only shot 35.2 percent in the game, while USC went 50 percent from the field.
USC (9-7, 7-6 Pac-12) has picked up three straight wins over Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. Sophomore Alissa Pili was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week, posting back-to-back double-figure games. She scored 17 against UW and 18 at WSU last week, in her first two games back from injury.
UCLA (11-3, 9-3 Pac-12) has a winning streak of its own. The Bruins have won their last seven games. The first meeting between the two teams was postponed due to UCLA not having enough healthy players.
Both games will be streamed online at CUBuffs.com/WatchWBB. The game can be heard across the Colorado Radio Network, locally on AM 630 and online at CUBuffs.com/Listen