Skip to main content

Buffs Falter Down the Stretch, Fall to No. 10 Arizona

Jan 23, 2022
Junior center Quay Miller finished with nine points and three rebounds Sunday

TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 22 Colorado women's basketball team suffered a 75-56 loss to No. 10 Arizona at the McKale Memorial Center Sunday afternoon.

Colorado dropped its fourth consecutive contest, falling to 13-4 and 2-4 in Pac-12 play.

Arizona improves to 14-3 with a 4-2 mark in the Pac-12.

Tameiya Sadler and Mya Hollingshed each had 11 points to lead the Buffs. Hollinghsed also led in the rebounding category with 10, securing her 21st career double-double. 

Colorado got off to a hot start, leading by as many as 12 early in the second quarter. Arizona stormed back later in the period to level things up at 29 apiece going into the halftime break and never looked back. In the second half, Arizona took over and extended its lead to as many as 23 as it held off the upset hungry Buffaloes. 

"I thought we were the aggressor early and they were the aggressor for the second portion of the game," explained Payne. "Whoever was most aggressive was the one that was winning at that time. Unfortunately, we didn't match or maintain that level of aggressiveness and confident play for the entire 40."

Shaina Pellington led the Wildcats in scoring with 28 points and Cate Reese was not far behind with 23.

"Cate Reese is a 1500 point scorer for a reason," said Payne after the game Sunday. "If you play behind her in the block, she's very good and you can't let her get those types of touches. Pellington is a really good experienced player who got a lot of different types of looks. Kudos to her. She played a great game."

How it happened
Colorado had all the momentum early, forcing missed shots and turnovers and converting them into points on the other end. Falling behind 2-1, the Buffs strung together an 8-2 run to help them take a 9-7 lead with 4:26 left in the quarter fueled by 3-pointers from Sadler and Frida Formann. After that, the Buffs turned their defense up a notch and didn't allow Arizona to score again in the period. The Buffs went on an 8-0 run to close out the quarter. Hollingshed contributed four points while Tayanna Jones and Quay Miller each tacked on two as the Buffs held a commanding 17-7 advantage after the first period.

"In the first quarter we were really defending as a team," said Payne. "We were communicating. We typically defend better in the first half because the bench is right in front of the defense and we're able to help communicate."

Colorado picked up right where it left off to start the second quarter with field goals from Hollingshed and Miller to extend the Buffaloes' lead to 21-9. The Wildcats responded with a run of their own and came alive on offense in a 15-6 surge powered by two 3-pointers by Sam Thomas, and the Colorado lead was down to just three, 27-24. Miller came back down the court for the Buffaloes and hit a turnaround floater as the shot clock expired and Colorado led 29-24 with under 90 seconds to go in the first half. The Wildcats gained all the momentum going into the break though, as Pellington drilled a three from the right wing followed by a driving layup from Reese and the game went into halftime with the score tied, 29-29.

Pellington nailed a 3-pointer for Arizona to start the half and gave them a 32-29 lead. Colorado responded with layups from Sadler and Hollingshed, and the Buffs were back in front 33-32. The two squads exchanged baskets until Reese got the hot hand and scored six straight points for the Wildcats. Down one, 40-39, Colorado turned the ball over and Pellington drove down and finished a layup at the other end as Arizona held a 42-39 lead with 3:26 left in the third. The Wildcats kept their foot on the gas to end the period as Pellington dropped in five points off two layups and a free throw to help Arizona as it finished the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 51-43 lead into the fourth.

"We started playing people a little bit tighter," Payne said about the Buffs' defense. "That created gaps that were a little more open. Against a team like Arizona that likes to penetrate, it makes it difficult to guard."

It was all Wildcats in the fourth as they extended their lead with a 17-0 surge that began at the end of the third. The run was capped off by back-to-back layups from Pellington as Arizona led 63-43 with a little over six minutes left in the fourth. The Wildcats continued to dominate from there, leading by as many as 23 at one point. Colorado struggled to stop the streaking Wildcats and could not get into a flow on offense, as Arizona held the Buffs off the rest of the way. 

Turning Point
After the Buffs were trailing by just three, 46-43, with a little over 90 seconds to go in the third quarter, Arizona went on a 17-0 run and blew the game wide open. 

Up Next
The Buffs will travel to Salt Lake City Friday for their fourth straight road game where they will battle Utah at 7 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Mountain.

Head Coach JR Payne
On the difficult schedule

"We're the only team in the league being asked to go on the road four times in a row - twice. That's not easy. When you combine that with two overtime losses in a row on the road, those also are not easy. There are a lot of very difficult things, but it doesn't mean we don't still have a job to do and it doesn't mean we can't still execute and do what we need to do to be successful." 

On turnovers
"Our turnovers were costly. They weren't dead-ball turnovers they were live-ball turnovers under the basket. Things like that can make things snowball quickly."