Buffs Improve to 2-0 in Spain
VALENCIA, Spain—Colorado's foreign tour of Spain continued on Thursday with a bike tour throughout the city, before concluding the evening with a 58-53 win over a team of Valencia All-Stars.
The team got senior Quay Miller back on Wednesday, meeting the team in Spain following her time at the 3x3 USA National Team trials. Miller tied for the team-high with 13 points and dominated underneath the basket with 17 rebounds in her first game of the tour.
"Quay is someone that we can really trust and depend on," head coach JR Payne commented. We know that she's going to give great effort, she can guard different positions and she's going to score. It's very comforting to have a veteran like that on the floor."
Colorado led the entire night, but Valencia kept it close throughout. The Buffs' largest lead of 13 came just past the midway points of the fourth quarter. Valencia used an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to five at 56-51. A Frida Formann put back ended the last chance effort, pushing CU's lead back to seven with 26 seconds to play.
Valencia used the 3-ball early in the contest, going 5-for-11 in the first half and finishing with eight on the night. The Buffs had four 3's in the game, all from different scorers.
"Playing in a close game is a lot better than a not-so-close game," Payne explained. I think there are opportunities for us to learn like we had freshmen in down the stretch of the game. They had to learn new plays on the fly in a timeout and go out and execute. We had to differentiate between man and zone. There were a lot of really good things and some things that you certainly can learn from."
Payne is looking for improvement from game to game on the tour, giving CU's young newcomers Ally Fitzgerald, Lizzie Holder, Vonleh (transfer), Jada Wynn and Brianna McLeod all a chance to get solid minutes before the season gets going.
"The learning curve is huge right now," Payne added. "Especially with five new players. We just want to see continued growth. There were things we had to do in this game because it was closer. That really helps us grow. Hopefully, we can have more of those opportunities in the next game."
The Buffs' tour will continue on in Valencia for one more day. Friday's schedule includes a trip to the beach and a team dinner. The team will depart for its third and final destination, Barcelona, on Saturday. CU's final game will come against Barcelona All-Stars on Sunday.