Buffs Return to Action
BOULDER – The Colorado women's basketball team will be back on the court for the first time in 18 days, taking on Southern California (7 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks) on Friday.
The 11-0 Buffs were scheduled to travel to Oregon State and Oregon for the opening week of Pac-12 play last weekend. Instead, the team got hit with the COVID bug and had to postpone the trip. CU wasn't the only team that had health and safety issues last weekend, only Washington State, California and Stanford were in action out of the 12 teams in the league.
The Buffs remain one of three undefeated Division I teams left standing along with No. 4 Arizona and No. 19 North Carolina.
"We don't talk about it," head coach JR Payne explained. "I'm sure our team knows. I'm sure our staff knows. We just always want to go 1-0 on game day. If we can continue to do that, then we'll be happy."
The 18-day in-season break is CU's longest break in between games since a 21-day layoff from Dec. 8 – Dec. 29, 1979. The Buffs had six canceled games last season, but never an entire weekend of play.
"The biggest thing [for us] is just flow [of the season]," Payne added. "You get into such a rhythm during the season. It's practice, practice, practice, play, rest, practice, practice. Right now, we have no flow. There's no rhythm. We haven't gotten up and down in I don't know how many days. That is the biggest thing. We have talent. We have great players. We have toughness. We have everything we need to be successful it's just really trying to get back in some sense of a rhythm."
Colorado has been limited in personnel numbers since having to postpone. The Buffs have yet to have a full squad back at practice and will have to wear masks during the game, something the team is adjusting to.
"Every team is going to go through adversity," Payne continued. "The teams that are going to be successful are the teams that can say – I read (former CU men's assistant/current men's head coach at George Mason) Kim English's quote on Twitter 'So what. Now what?' I think that's our mindset. If we have seven healthy [players], then we're playing and we have high expectations for those seven or however many there are. We pride ourselves on playing in a certain way and to a certain standard, and we will continue to do that."
On the other side of the court, Southern California (7-3) has had to battle a long break as well. The Trojans last played on Dec. 18 against Texas Southern and have since had their game against Long Beach State canceled and their first conference weekend against Arizona and Arizona State postponed. The Pac-12 announced the USC and Arizona game will be made up on Sunday, due to Utah's continued shutdown.
Cory Lopez will be on the Colorado Radio Network, starting with pregame coverage at 6:30. Jenny Cavnar and former Buff Kami Carmann-Snyder will be on the Pac-12 Network broadcast.
Friday's game will be the second in CU's Gift Card Drive to help assist victims of the Marshall Fire. Gift cards will be accepted at all entrances at the games, and fans are asked to bring cards with the denomination visible on the card. Fowler Automotive has also committed to matching every gift card donation made this weekend up to $10,000.
The drive starts with the men's game against Washington State on Thursday night and will go through the weekend with a double-header set for Sunday with the Buffs hosting UCLA at 11 a.m. MT and the men's game against Washington at 3 p.m.