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Colorado Returns to the NCAA Tournament

Mar 13, 2022

BOULDER—The Colorado women's basketball team will enter the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed in the Greensboro Region. The Buffaloes will play the No. 10 seed Creighton Bluejays on Friday, Mar. 18 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Tip is set for 11:30 a.m. MT and will be on ESPNEWS. Beth Mowins and Christy Thomaskutty will be on the broadcast. 

"All week we felt like we did what we needed to do to have our name called," head coach JR Payne said of CU's selection. "There is really nothing that compares to seeing your name actually pop up. I think the black and gold kind of shook everybody for a second, but we're really honored and excited for the opportunity."

The Buffs draw the No. 7 seed for the third time in what is now 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament. It is CU's first time in the NCAA Tournament since hosting the first and second rounds in 2013. 

"We honestly were just excited to be in the field," Payne exclaimed. "We didn't really necessarily know or care what seed we were or who we were going to play. We were just excited to be part of it. I think [the seeding] speaks to the way we're playing right now, winning eight of 10 games and the only two losses coming against the No. 2 team in the country. We're playing really good basketball and it's great for our team to be recognized in that way."

Colorado (22-8) is enjoying its best season since the 2012-13 campaign. The Buffs opened the season 13-0 and was the last undefeated DI men's or women's team in the country. CU cracked the AP top 25 three times, peaking at No. 22., before suffering its first loss. 

Fifth-year senior Mya Hollingshed earned her second All-Pac-12 honor and led CU's offensive efforts with 14.1 ppg this season. The addition of Washington transfer Quay Miller was felt throughout the season as she was named the Pac-12's Sixth Player of the Year and honorable mention Pac-12. Kindyll Wetta made her mark this season, becoming the first player since the Pac-10 became the Pac-12 to earn All-Freshman and All-Defensive accolades.

"This is always why I came back," Hollingshed said about using her fifth year. "This experience. This moment with my teammates. With my sisters. Lesila [Finau], Peanut [Tuitele], Aubrey [Knight] who hasn't been able to play—but just for them to experience that so we can actually go to the Dance and everything we're talking about, this is what basketball is all about."  

The Buffs picked up their first Pac-12 Tournament win since 2018 last week with an opening-round win over Washington. CU turned around and beat No. 14 Arizona 45-43 in a defensive struggle before bowing out to eventual Pac-12 champion Stanford in the semifinals. 

"A little girl's dream came true [today]," senior Peanut Tuitele said after Colorado's selection was announced. "I know a lot of my teammates probably felt the same. I'm just happy. The excitement is just so real at this moment. You can't even replace it with anything else. It's so awesome."

The postseason trip will be CU's second in a row. Last season the Buffs made a run into the third round of the WNIT. The last time CU had back-to-back postseason berths was the 2013 NCAA Tournament and the 2014 WNIT. 

Colorado is 17-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has advanced to the Elite Eight three times, the last coming in 2002. CU's last NCAA Tournament win came in the second round of the 2003 tournament against North Carolina (86-67) in Boulder. The Buffs are 1-2 all-time as a No. 7 seed, beating Eastern Illinois in 1988. CU was also a No. 7 seed in 1992. 

Creighton (20-9) finished third in the Big East this season. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2011. Each team has won two games apiece in the series, dating back to 1987. 

The Pac-12 landed six teams in the field of 68. Stanford earned a No. 1 seeding in the Spokane Region, while Arizona got slotted as the No. 4 seed in the Greensboro Region. Utah (7) joins Stanford in the Spokane Region, while Oregon (5) represents the conference in the Wichita Region. Washington State (8) will play out of the Bridgeport Region. 

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