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Buffs Get 2022-23 Underway

Sep 27, 2022

BOULDER — JR Payne and the Colorado women's basketball team officially got the 2022-23 season underway as the team had its first official practice of the season on Tuesday.

The Buffaloes, fresh off a 2022 NCAA Tournament appearance, will look to get back to the Big Dance in 2023 with much of the same squad. CU has seven players back from last season and add Charlotte Whittaker back to the rotation after missing all of the 2021-22 season.

 "We're just ready to start," senior Quay Miller said about the upcoming season. "We're not too worried about what happened last season. That's a good thing to build from. The NCAA Tournament is something we hope to be at at the end of the season but it's not something we're reflecting on. We're more concerned with our process right now."

The lineup will look vastly different when the season starts with longtime starters Mya Hollingshed, Peanut Tuitele and Lesila Finau all graduated, making way for a new crop of leadership.

"We're returning a lot of really key pieces," Payne continued. "Sometimes you think, 'Oh, we lost Mya. Or we lost Peanut.' But we also return the Sixth Person of the Year and All-Conference point guards. A lot is coming back and we're trying to lean on those guys, but also try to challenge them to step up in their roles."

Senior guard Jaylyn Sherrod, who started every game she's played since the 2020-21 season, will be looked at to take the reins of the program. Miller, the Pac-12 Sixth Person of the Year in 2022, enters the season as the team's top returning scorer with her 10.6 points per game last season. Kindyll Wetta moves into her second season, after earning both All-Freshman and All-Defensive honors in 2022.

"Some of our best floor leaders are naturally very quiet people," Payne added about the team's leadership. "It's outside of their comfort zone. With Jay [Sherrod] and Kindyll [Wetta], we could run 100 sprints and they're happy to do it. It's natural for them to go hard and win. It's not natural for them to speak up and be the loudest voice in the gym. Those are the areas that we're trying to challenge the most."

Colorado has been able to get work in on and off the court this offseason, most notably the team's 10-day trip to Spain at the end of August. The trip allowed for the four new additions, Ally Fitzgerald, Lizzie Holder, Aaronette Vonleh and Jada Wynn, to get used to their new surroundings.

"Going on the trip to Spain was great," Payne noted. "There are 100 different ways it helps the team grow. It also kind of disrupts the natural flow of your training. The summer is normally focused on skill development and we had to spend a lot of time systemically trying to get an offense in place so we could play games. Now you flip it and go to more skill development in the fall. Now we're focused on trying to get a system back in."

Colorado's schedule is in the final stages of completion, but the team will open the season on Nov. 7.