The University of Colorado women’s basketball team snagged a win against the Cal Bears Friday to snap a four-game losing streak, winning 64-57 thanks to a solid defensive performance by the team.
“It always feels good to get back to where we could be,” said junior forward Mya Hollinshed. “Those four games that we were losing we knew that we could win them, we just didn’t close them out or get defensive stops.”
The Buffaloes, 15-9 (4-9 Pac-12) came into the game desperate for a win after suffering two tough losses to Washington State, 69-59 and Washington, 61-52. A home game against the Bears, who sported pink uniforms for breast cancer awareness, turned out to be the answer as California has severely struggled in Pac-12 play with a record of 9-15 (1-12 Pac-12). The Bears have certainly not had the best year and CU had already beat them in the last matchup, 62-50. The Buffs managed to come up victorious again holding Cal to 57 points off 31% field goal percentage in a seven-point win.
The game started uncharacteristically slow with neither team scoring for the first couple minutes until California finally managed to strike first. Sloppy turnovers and bad shot selection hindered both teams at the beginning of the first quarter as they combined for 2-of-10 from the field and seven turnovers in the first six minutes.
“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency when we started off flat, which a team never wants to do,” said Colorado head coach JR Payne. “I thought we showed some resiliency when things were not necessarily going our way early.”
Colorado picked up the energy and got going at the end of the quarter going on an 8-0 run. Then tragedy struck early in the second quarter as Colorado sophomore guard Lesila Finau went down hard on a drive to the rim. Finau’s teammates helped her off the floor and she would not return for the rest of the game. It can be hard to see one of your teammates go down, but the Buffs weren’t fazed as they were able to hold on to the lead for the rest of the half with great defense. CU held Cal to 8-of-28 from the field in the first half and sophomore forward Emma Clarke had a monster block to send the game to halftime.
“I thought when we turned up the pressure we were better,” Payne said. “I think we did a great job of defending the three-point line, our hands were high and we contested.”
The CU defense was the highlight tonight as they were able to hold the Bears scoreless for several minutes in the third quarter and only give up one three-pointer the entire game, something the team has struggled with previously. Colorado controlled the lead for the entire second half even withstanding a quick 4-0 surge by California in the final minute of the game. The Buffaloes finally got a win to snap their losing streak with solid performances from the defense and freshman guard Jaylyn Sherrod.
Sherrod looked like Lebron James tossing dime after dime as she recorded eight assists to go along with her nine points and four steals. Sherrod did a great job of pushing the ball in transition and getting her teammates involved all game long. Colorado is now back in the postseason hunt and is looking for revenge against No. 8 Stanford who beat them in overtime in their last meeting.
“The last game (against Stanford) is in the back of our minds because we knew that we had a great opportunity and we just didn’t finish it,” Sherrod said. “I think a lot of people are hyped about it.”
That heartbreaking loss has stayed with the team since it happened and the Buffs are hoping they can find a way to pull the upset against a top 10 team in the nation. The hungry Buffaloes will take on Stanford on Sunday at the CU Events Center. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Ben Johnson at Bejo4397@colorado.edu.