Colorado on the Road for Final Three
PULLMAN, Wash. — The Colorado women's basketball team hits the road for its final three scheduled contests of the season, starting with Washington State on Friday (1 p.m. MT). The final stretch will take CU to Washington and then Utah, before embarking on Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament.
Colorado (8-9, 6-8 Pac-12) knows it will have to pick up some wins down the stretch, starting with Cougars. Historically, Pullman has not been kind to the Buffs, owning a 1-8 record. CU's lone win at Beasley Coliseum came back on Jan. 7, 2012, with the Buffs narrowly escaping WSU, 57-56.
"I don't know what it is [about Pullman]," head coach JR Payne tried to explain. "We are determined to make this a great trip. It's always cold, dark, rainy and gloomy. I don't know if that has anything to do with it. We had a good practice today and we are very focused on Washington State. Both teams look a lot different now than the first time we played (Jan. 3). It will be a tough game, but we have learned a lot since then."
Washington State (9-9, 7-9 Pac-12) sits a game ahead of the Buffs in the Pac-12 standings. WSU got the upper hand in the previous meeting, picking up a 76-63 win in Boulder. Krystal Leger-Walker scored 25 points for the Cougars, while her younger sister, Charlisse, recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists.
"Everyone knows how great the Leger-Walker sisters are," Payne added. "But it's not just them. They have a lot of good pieces around them. Those two just happen to be pretty special."
Unless a schedule change pops up, the Buffs have played their last game at the CU Events Center. Colorado had success at home this season, going 7-3. On the other hand, the road has not been so kind. Colorado got its first road win of the season at California but is just 1-6 on the season.
"I think it comes down to focus," Payne added. "We need to focus on what we need to do differently and not worry so much about what kind of adjustments they [WSU] might make or what kind of changes they might throw at us. We just need to prioritize doing our jobs effectively as players and coaches. It is a difficult trip, and we need to be hitting on all cylinders."
The final stretch of the season doesn't get any easier. Colorado will hit Washington on Sunday (3 p.m. MT) and then close the season at Utah (Feb. 28). Seattle and Salt Lake City haven't been any kinder CU than Pullman has. The Buffs are 3-8 vs the Huskies on the road and 5-11 against the Utes.
CU has wins over both schools this season. The Buffs opened the New Year with a 60-50 win at home over the Huskies and CU ran away from Utah to open Pac-12 play in Boulder, 80-50.
"We need to be really dialed in," Payne continued. "You can play great basketball in this league and still not win because your opponents are all so good. Again, we just need to prioritize and put the focus on ourselves. If we handle our business, make free throws down the stretch, play the scout correctly, execute offensively, then you let the chips fall where they may. But the goal is to play great focused basketball."
Both games this weekend will be live-streamed on CUBuffs.com/WatchWBB. Fans can listen across the Colorado Radio Network online at CUBuffs.com/listen.