Buffs Take Care of Business in Exhibition
BOULDER – The Colorado women's basketball team took the court for the first time in the 2021-22 season on Monday night, defeating Colorado School of Mines 63-52 in exhibition play at the CU Events Center.
Monday's exhibition was the first time the Buffs have played in front of an unrestricted home crowd in over a year.
"They just make a great atmosphere," junior Jaylyn Sherrod explained. "Every time you see people who consistently come to games—it just feels good. You get to wave and speak to fans after. It's just good. I know Kindyll's [Wetta] family was here. I know Maura's [Singer] family was here. It was just good to see family and people who have been supporting us for so long."
11 different Buffs scored on the night and the team led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter. Sherrod led CU with nine points to go with two assists in her first action since the Buffs' upset of No. 1 Stanford.
"I was kind of nervous," Sherrod added. "It was my first time back playing since January and my first time playing in front of people since two years ago. So it was just more like focusing in. I have my teammates to support me. I have my coaches to support me. It was a pretty smooth transition.
Another Buff that returned to the court on Monday was sophomore Maura Singer. She's in her third year with CU but got her first collegiate playing after sitting out the previous two seasons. Singer played in eight minutes and had two assists and a defensive board.
"I had the adrenaline kick in this morning," Singer noted. "I was nervous at shootaround. It ended up being really good. I was cheesing hard when I got in. I got all blushy in my face. My team was hyping me up. They really made it easy for me."
Freshman Kindyll Wetta snagged a team-high six rebounds to go with her two points and four assists. Senior Peanut Tuitele posted six points and three rebounds. Senior Tayanna Jones went 4-of-6 from the field with eight points.
Boulder native, Denali Pinto led all scorers with 11 points for the Orediggers.
How It Happened
It took a little more than 10 minutes for the Buff offense to get into the flow on Monday. CU trailed 15-12 after the first quarter and turned the ball over eight times.
Colorado quickly kicked it into gear at the start of the second quarter. A 3-pointer from Mya Hollingshed tied the game at 15 and the Buffs never looked back. Colorado opened the second with a 14-2 run, building a 29-17 lead. The Buffs lead hit 14 points, 33-19, by the break, capping the half with a Sherrod layup. CU's defense forced nine Oredigger turnovers in the quarter and held the opposition to just four points in the quarter.
"I'm proud of our team," head coach JR Payne said. " Early in the season, especially this early, there's going to be some really good things and there's going to be some really bad things and a whole lot in the middle. I thought we were pretty typical. I thought we had spurts where we did some really good things and transitioned defensively in spurts. We were not so good in spurts as well, but that's ok. As long as we continue to learn, grow and attack those areas that weren't as sharp as we wanted."
The CU lead hit 20 for the first time in the early goings of the third quarter, 39-19. Quay Miller, also making her CU debut, pushed the Buffs' lead back to 20, 44-24, with just over four minutes to play in the third. Colorado's lead didn't dip back below 20 points until the 2:12 mark of the fourth quarter.
Mines outscored the Buffs 26-14 in the final period, but Buffs had already backed off by that point. The CU bench got quality time in the fourth quarter, getting some of its younger players key minutes.
"I love that everyone played," Payne continued. "I thought everyone that came in the game gave tremendous effort. No one was perfect, offensively or defensively, but I thought our effort was really good."
Colorado will look ahead to its season opener on Nov. 10. The Buffs will travel to Stillwater, Okla., to start the 2021-22 campaign against former Big 12 rival Oklahoma State (7:30 p.m. MT).