Buffs Overcome Slow Start in Lubbock
LUBBOCK, Texas – Colorado struggled in the early moments against Louisiana, going more than half the first quarter without getting to the basket to start against Louisiana. Once the Buffaloes got going, they became tough to stop closing out the Ragin' Cajuns 73-43 in the Preseason WNIT.
Colorado (3-0) went almost six minutes without hitting a basket, starting the day 0-for-12 from the field. CU's defense helped keep the game close, keeping Louisiana to just five points in the stretch. Freshman Brianna McLeod finally solved the problem at the rim at the 4:01 mark and the Buffs got rolling on a 21-0 run and never looked back.
"It definitely wasn't the start we wanted," head coach JR Payne commented. "I thought we got good looks, we just weren't hitting them. It was a really great run after that. I don't think anybody panicked. We all kept our cool and did what we needed to do."
Senior Quay Miller led the Buffs with 17 points and eight rebounds, marking her third straight double-figure scoring effort to start the season. Junior Frida Formann finished with 11 points, hitting three 3s in the second quarter. Junior Tameiya Sadler and freshman Jada Wynn both came off the bench, adding eight and 10 points apiece.
"It's exciting seeing everyone out there just playing," Sadler said of the team's early season scoring options. "It just makes me think about what we can do as a team as the season progresses."
The Buffs closed the day 11-for-28 from 3-point distance, besting their 10 3's last time out against Jackson State. It's the first time a CU team hit 10 or more 3's in back-to-back games since Nov. 14 and Nov. 18, 2018, against Colorado State (10) and North Carolina (11).
Sophomore Kindyll Wetta handed out eight of CU's 20 assists, as the Buffs have now had assist totals of 19, 19 and 20 to start the season.
Louisiana (1-2) coughed the ball up 19 times on Tuesday, leading directly to 19 Colorado points.
"Even if we are better offensively than we've been, we're always going to feed off our defense," Payne continued. "We still have kids that love to defend and get pretty excited and hyped about that."
How it Happened
The Buffs got down 5-0 in the game's first three minutes as Louisiana started 2-for-2 from the field. Formann appeared to break an 0-for-5 shooting start with a 3-pointer as the shot clock hit zero at the 6:46 mark, but after a review minutes later it was overturned, erasing the basket.
CU's defense buckled down forcing three turnovers and keeping the Ragin' Cajuns off the scoreboard over the next four minutes. McLeod finally got CU's first basket with 4:01 to play in the quarter and another ULL turnover led to a layup by Miller that cut the deficit to 5-4.
CU's first lead came as the run hit 6-0 inside three minutes to play, with Aaronette Vonleh sinking a hook shot. Colorado finished the first quarter on a 12-0 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Wynn right before the quarter buzzer.
"I'm really proud of how we responded," Payne said of the first quarter. "I really don't think anybody panicked. We didn't score for a while but everybody kept their cool and just tried to refocus. We prioritized getting a great shot, make or miss. I think we did that. Then defense turned into some offense and once we started to see the ball go through the hoop we all felt better."
Formann kept the run going to start the second quarter with a pair of 3's to extend CU's lead to 18-5. Miller drained another 3-pointer to get the run to 21-0 before a Louisiana free-throw got the Ragin Cajuns back on the board with 5:53 to go play in the frame.
CU shot 60.0% (9-15) in the second quarter and outscored Louisiana 27-8, to take a 39-13 lead at the half.
Colorado used another 50.0% shooting performance in the third quarter, growing its lead to a season-high 38 points before the period ended.
CU's bench got a bulk of the action down the stretch, posting 14 of the team's 27 bench points in the final two quarters.
Vonleh's hook shot early in the 21-0 run gave CU' its first lead at 6-5 and the Buffs never looked back. Colorado shot 8-for-12 in the run. Colorado would go 14-for-19 after its 0-for-10 start.
The win was No. 198 in Coach Payne's head coaching career…It was marked win No. 97 for Payne at CU…CU's21-0 run lasted 10:53…CU last had three consecutive wins of 20+ last season (4) against Dixie State (+25), Southern Utah (+34), SMU (+23) and San Francisco (+24)…It's the first time CU has started the season with three consecutive 20-point wins since the 200-01 season (Albany, +50; Howard, +51; Butler, +29)…The Buffs have trailed in all three wins to start the season.