Colorado Sweeps Series Against UCLA
LOS ANGELES – Head coach JR Payne picked up her first win in Westwood with her Colorado Buffaloes securing a 67-54 decision inside the historic Pauley Pavilion on Friday. The win for the Buffs gives Colorado its first regular-season sweep of the Bruins since the 2013-14 season.
The win moves CU to 17-7 on the season and 6-7 in the Pac-12 Conference. The 17 wins match the most for the Buffs since Payne's first season in Boulder. CU jumps into the sixth seed in the Pac-12 standings and now holds the tie-breaker over UCLA (11-9, 6-7 Pac-12) with three games to play.
"It's fantastic to see the team respond and play that way," Payne stated after the win. "Our seniors, our leaders, our veterans are all pushing the envelope as far as focus and attention to detail. Our team is really taking the lead on what we need to be doing and what that should look like. I give them the credit for holding themselves to a very high standard right now."
Fifth-year senior Mya Hollingshed led the way for Colorado with her game-high 19 points. She also led the Buffs with seven rebounds and added three, two steals and a block to her night. Friday was game 134 for Hollingshed, tying former Buff Rachel Hargis (2010-14) for most games played at CU.
"I honestly don't know [about the record]," Hollingshed said. "I just think about all the players that were ahead of me like Brittany Spears and Lisa VanGoor. I really don't know how it feels. I think it will hit me when they list all the accolades on Senior Day. I'm just so appreciative that they [Colorado] gave me an opportunity to grow and a chance to blossom."
Junior Quay Miller contributed 11 points and six rebounds off the bench. Senior Peanut Tuitele finished with 10 points and five rebounds, while junior Jaylyn Sherrod totaled 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
"We had some good practices leading up to tonight," Payne said after the win. "UCLA can be disruptive defensively and I thought our team did a good job of preparing for that disruption. There are certain things they like to deny and take away, but we were prepared. We were able to score in different ways. I thought the balance was really good. Nobody forced anything. We just shared the ball well."
UCLA put up 62 shot attempts on the night, but the Buffs' defense was impressive. The Bruins only hit 21 of their attempts (33.9%). Colorado held UCLA's leading scorer, Charisma Osborne, to just 10 points, while Iimar'I Thomas led the home team with 17.
Colorado outshot UCLA, hitting 47% from the floor. The Buffs scored 42 points in the paint and totaled 15 points off of UCLA's 13 turnovers.
How It Happened: The Buffs and Bruins got off to identical starts with both teams hitting five of their first nine shots in the game's first five minutes. The Bruins got the early 12-10 advantage from the free-throw line, hitting its only two attempts of the quarter.
The Buffs held UCLA to 2-for-6 shooting in the final five minutes and held them to just five more points in the quarter. Colorado turned its defense into offense, going on a 7-3 run to close the opening quarter. CU forced three UCLA turnovers in the run and the Buffs closed the quarter with five consecutive points to erase a five-point deficit.
UCLA hit a 3-pointer to break the first quarter stalemate, but that was the only basket the Buffs would allow for almost five minutes. CU limited the UCLA offense in the second quarter, holding the Burins to 1-for-9 to start. The Buffs, who switched to a zone defense, forced five UCLA turnovers in the quarter, leading to seven points.
"I felt like that was a big shift for us," Payne said about the defense. "I think it was a shift because we were able to create some turnovers. They [UCLA] didn't end up with a ton of turnovers tonight, but the ones that we were able to force I thought created disruption and it was mostly in our zone."
The Buffs used runs of 7-0 and 11-0 in the second quarter to grow its lead to nine before the half. Senior Lesila Finau made a pair of free throws to cap the final run ahead of UCLA's layup at the buzzer to go into the half up 37-30.
Colorado's run increased to 22-6 inside the first four minutes of the third quarter. The Buffs scored the first six points of the frame and used an 11-2 open to build a 48-32 lead. CU went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the third-quarter run and finished 8-for-10 from the line in the quarter.
"In the locker room [at the half] we said, 'Don't let up,'" Hollingshed added. "We wanted to have that same sense of urgency that had in the second half of our Washington game. We wanted to keep adding that kind of energy coming out of the half. I think we just keep talking about the things we need to do and we execute our game plan. We're just doing what we need to do."
UCLA cut the Buffs' lead to eight, 49-41, but CU answered back with back-to-back Miller layups and a Hollingshed jumper to get the lead to 14, 55-41.
The Buffs only scored eight points in the final quarter, but twice grew the lead to 17. UCLA went 0-for-4 from 3-point range in the final 10 minutes and would get only 10 points in the period.
Turning Point: UCLA took a 20-17 lead to start the second quarter before Frida Fromann tied the game back up at 20 with her only three points of the night. From that point on CU outscored the Bruins 50-34 and never relinquished the lead.
Up Next: The Buffs move on in the Los Angeles tour, heading to USC for the final road game of the season. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. MT (Pac-12 Networks).
Notes: Friday as CU's first win at UCLA since Jan. 5, 2014…CU has its first two-game win streak over UCLA since the 2013-14 season (3)…The Buffs attempted the fewest 3-pointers (10) since last season's meeting with Air Force (6)…CU's two 3FGM was the fewest this season…All nine players who played scored for the Buffs…CU's bench outscored UCLA's 22-13…Hollingshed passed Tracy Tripp for 11th on CU's all-time scoring list (1,588)…Tuitele recorded two offensive rebounds, giving her 201 for her career.