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Buffs Improve to 10-0 with win over SMU

Dec 17, 2021

BOULDER – The Colorado women's basketball team picked up right where they left off after a 10-day hiatus with a 78-55 win over SMU Friday night at the CU Events Center. 

Colorado improved to 10-0 on the season while the Mustangs fell to 4-6. 

"It's hard to come off a 10-day break without a game," said head coach JR Payne. "That's always difficult for any team but it's exciting that we beat a good SMU team tonight."

Junior Quay Miller led the way for the Buffs in scoring with 20 points. Mya Hollingshed pitched in with 19 of her own and seven boards and Lesila Finau finished with a season-high 13 points.

"It's always a fun night when Peanut [Tuitele], Mya [Holllingshed] and the other post players are playing well," said Miller. "We just all complement each other well. We know our strengths and we feed towards those and make each other look good."

SMU's leading scorer was Savannah Wilkinson with 15 points and Jasmine Smith with 13. 

Colorado's defense was solid Friday, forcing 18 SMU turnovers and scoring 24 points off them. The Buffs also converted on nine 3-pointers and were perfect (9-9) from the line for the first time this season. 

"I don't want to seem ungrateful for a 20-point win. I just want more," said Payne. "I know, these guys also want that. We're all excited that we won by 20 but we also are all going to stew about some of the things we didn't do effectively. I think that's a sign of a good team."

How it happened
Peanut Tuitele got things going with a pull-up 3-pointer on the Buffs' first possession to give Colorado an early 3-0 lead. After a sloppy first quarter from both sides, Colorado used a late 11-2 surge to take a 21-10 lead into the second period of play. Hollingshed had four points in the run, Tameiya Sadler and Jaylyn Sherrod each pitched in with a pair of their own and Finau had four including a smooth layup off a steal. 

"I figured we have such a veteran team that can acclimate," said Payne. "The first few minutes sometimes are rough after a break. I thought these guys did a really great job of just pushing through and knowing that it may not be beautiful, but we're still going to play hard."

Colorado continued its strong play into the second quarter, opening on a 9-0 run. The Buffs dominated in the second frame, containing SMU to just 3-of-11 shooting from the field and allowing just nine points as Colorado took a 41-19 lead into the half. 

The Mustangs came out of the locker room hot, connecting on their first four shots and going on an 8-0 run. With 7:54 left in the third, SMU cut its deficit to as little as 14. As the Mustangs slowly bit away at the CU lead, Colorado's defense held them off, forcing seven turnovers in the third quarter leading to seven points on the other end. SMU had another blitz late in the third though, and after a 6-0 run to end the quarter, Colorado's lead stood at 55-38.

Hollingshed quickly extended the Colorado lead early in the fourth with a pair of 3's as part of an 11-4 CU run. SMU struggled throughout the quarter and the Buffs held them at bay the rest of the game en route to a commanding win.

"When Pac-12 play comes around we have to be perfect every night," explained Hollingshed. "There can't be those mishaps because a team can get hot and we'll look up and we're down by 20. We're just trying to fix those things now so when that time comes, we can adjust and just play out of that and just be adaptive towards that."

Turning Point 
With the game tied 8-8 early, the Buffs used an 11-2 scoring run late in the first quarter to develop a comfortable lead and never looked back. 

Payne's Buffs will have the weekend off before returning Monday for a matinee matchup with San Francisco at 1 p.m. at the CU Events Center.

CU improved to 10-0 for the third time in the Payne era…The Buffs improved to 20-10 at home in December and 54-29 at home in the Payne-era… Colorado's 22-point lead at halftime (41-19) was their largest of the season... Lesila Finau had 13 points on 5-5 shooting in the first half,… Mya Hollingshed passed Dian Hiemstra (1981-84) for 15th on the scoring list with 19 points (1383 career)… Jaylyn Sherrod matched her season-high with six rebounds (11/14/21 at Air Force)... The Buffs forced seven of SMU's 17 turnovers in the third quarter… CU won by 20+ points for the fifth time this season.