Right now, life is tough for the Buffs. The Colorado women’s basketball team has lost four straight games (six of the last seven) and 17 straight games against a ranked opponent.
Saturday’s battle against Baylor pushed the Buffaloes down to 12-9 overall, 2-6 in Big 12 Conference play. The team’s 42 points were a season low, and its 23.6 percent shooting from the field was its worst since spring 2005. The team did have one season high–17 turnovers in the first half.
Head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said that while the team might have been hit hard by the loss, she still has the same amount of respect for her players as she did at the beginning of the season.
“Although we make adjustments, although we raise the bar, although we care about wins and losses, they’ve got to know we feel the same way about them after a loss as a win,” McConnell-Miller said.
After such a tough loss, the young team will need to do a fair amount of regrouping to put everything back into perspective. That’s exactly what they hope to do as they face another ranked opponent.
The Buffaloes will host No. 14 Texas at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 at the Coors Events Center.
McConnell-Miller describes the Longhorns as a big, athletic and experienced team, but the Buffs don’t seem too intimidated.
Senior guard Bianca Smith said she believes that Saturday’s “humiliating” loss has instilled a sense of feistiness in the players.
“I think we’re hungry for a win,” Smith said. “However we can get it and whoever we can beat, that’s irrelevant. We just want a ‘W,’ and I think this is the perfect time, on our home floor, versus a team who we’ve always played well against, since I’ve been here.”
Smith said she doesn’t even seem to mind that Texas is a ranked team.
“You can’t let the numbers beside a team’s name get to you or else you’ll be beaten before you even play,” Smith said. “We don’t look at that. We just go in and face every team like they’re no different from the next.”
Apart from playing with a good attitude, McConnell-Miller she she also wants her players, especially veterans Smith, junior forward Brittany Spears and senior center Courtney Dunn, to refocus and take shots in their normal flow so they can get more open looks.
Dunn, who says she has come to realize her place on the team, earning her first two career double-doubles this season, is ready to do just that.
“My focus has been more on post play,” Dunn said. “The years before I was more of a wannabe guard and just wanted to focus on my 3-point shot, so that took me away from the basket.”
She said that by finding her place in the post, she is able to score more from being closer to the basket. However, she also points out that it isn’t always easy to get in the paint. She says that a deeper concentration on the game, drives, and fouls will help the team play better.
“Instead of taking ourselves out if we’re not scoring, [we need to] find ways to score instead of just settling for jump shots,” Dunn said.
When the team does settle for shots or gets beaten up by a loss, Dunn says she tries to be there to help the team regroup. While she says it is hard to call herself a leader, she also knows how her reassuring voice can help the team.
“I really don’t care about scoring,” Dunn said. “I want to be a leader. I try and put my voice in sometimes and just be the calm one because a lot of our teammates can get a little rowdy and not refocus… If that’s what a leader does, I guess those would be my leadership skills.”
McConnell-Miller lauds this type of attitude because, in addition to continual improvement, the team needs to look deeper to see what is most important.
After a pause, McConnell-Miller said, “You’ve heard the expression treat both imposters the same: winning and losing. That’s what we’re doing. We need to maintain that same focus, mentality, commitment after wins and after losses.”
Whether CU gets a win or a loss on Wednesday, Smith said she will remind her teammates that the season is young, and they still have plenty of time to show their skills.
“There’s still a lot of games left, and we have to stay positive and recognize that we still have an opportunity,” Smith said. “It’s not passed us by yet.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at Marlee.email@example.com.