Following a dominant win over the New Jersy Institue of Technology, the University of Colorado women’s basketball team continued their strong start to the year with a 74-57 win over the Wisconsin Badgers Thursday night at the CU Events Center.
“I’m just really proud of our effort tonight,” said head coach JR Payne. “I told the team I thought the way we responded from last game where we didn’t feel like we played particularly well to this game where I thought we played pretty well.”
Colorado came out of the tunnels running and quickly took an 11-2 lead after three minutes of play. Junior guard/forward Mya Hollingshed was a key part in the early run with five points.
Hollingshed was far from the only scoring contributor. Freshman guard Jaylyn Sherrod and sophomore guard Lesila Finau both played big roles by scoring four points apiece. The numerous options on offense helped the Buffs take a 23-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“It set the tone a lot,” said junior forward Annika Jank about the team’s strong start on offense. “When our team has a lot of energy and we come out strong, I know it’s going to be a good game.”
Colorado’s momentum didn’t waver in the second quarter. The team scored 22 points in the period and dominated the Badgers with a 14-5 advantage. Wisconsin was able to cut the deficit to 10 with 3:30 left in the quarter but the Buffaloes answered with a late scoring surge and took a 45-24 lead into the half.
CU’s defense also shined in the first half by only giving up 13 and 11 points in each quarter. After not being happy with their defensive effort versus the New Jersy Institue of Technology, the Buffs were determined to put forth a better performance.
“That was the main focus that we worked on this week after we played NJIT,” said senior guard Quinessa Caylao-Do. “Just being able to jump to the ball and trust each other as a team and relying on each other. I think that fired up our defense.”
While their scoring cooled down a bit in the second half, CU was able to maintain a comfortable lead thanks to Caylao-Do. The team’s lone senior scored 10 of her 16 points in the second half and shot a perfect 4-4 from the field. Caylao-Do’s impact on both sides of the court was irreplaceable and led to her playing a team-high 38-minutes.
“She’s just rock solid and knows pretty much every single position on the court,” Payne said. “She gave a tremendous defensive presence which we needed tonight against a good ball club.”
The Buffs continued to lock things down defensively in the second half. Colorado finished the half with three blocks, two steals and held Wisconsin to 2-8 shooting from three. Badgers’ sophomore forward Imani Lewis attempted to turn things around with an impressive 12-point performance in the final half, but it wasn’t enough as the Buffaloes cruised to a 74-57 win.
“This was a very big win for a very young ball club,” Payne said. “We feel like we have a lot of potential. I love the camaraderie of our team and our effort and our togetherness.”
CU is now 2-0 on the year and has yet to trail in a game. After playing their first two games at home, the Buffaloes will travel to Wyoming to play the Cowgirls Sunday and then Fort Collins to play the in-state rival Rams.
Colorado’s next home game at the CU Events Center will be Nov. 24 against Jacksonville at 6 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Griffin Rucker at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GriffinRucker.