The University of Colorado women’s basketball team tipped off postseason play on Friday in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
The Buffaloes never trailed, winning by a final score of 68-45 in the host city of Collierville, Tennessee.
In the first half, junior forward Peanut Tuitele led the way with eight points and seven rebounds while freshman guard Frida Formann added nine points of her own from behind the arc. CU shot 6-10 from deep and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Ragin Cajuns 23-13. Colorado controlled the pace of play and led by 11 going into the locker room.
The Buffaloes really started to settle in and pull away from UL in the second half. Tuitele picked an opportune game to record her first double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds). Formann finished with 14 points and senior forward Mya Hollingshed ended in double figures with 10 points after being held scoreless in the first half.
“All three of those guys including Mya, who was struggling early, are capable of picking up the slack,” said head coach JR Payne. “A lot of different people on this team are capable of picking up the slack. The best thing is that nobody really cares. Mya was struggling early and she was frustrated with the way that her game was going, but she didn’t allow her frustration to deter anybody else and I love that. It’s a pretty selfless group.”
Colorado’s defense held Louisiana to just 20 points in the second half and the Buffs’ bench contributed 11 of their 13 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Everyone who suited up for Colorado checked in the game with 10 players entering the scoring column.
“I think now in the postseason we want everyone to step up and be at their best,” Formann said. “When Mya and I aren’t hitting shots that doesn’t mean that we’re not in the game at all. We have so many weapons on our team. I think that it’s really good for everyone. Everyone also knows that if you’re open, shoot it. Everyone can get going and then eventually it will click for all of us.”
The 68-45 win over Louisiana puts the Buffaloes in a position to face their old Big 12 foe Nebraska on Saturday at 4 p.m. MST. The two teams will matchup for the first time since 2011.
“I learned very early in my tenure at Colorado that I cannot wear red, no matter what day of the week or no matter where I’m going,” Payne said. “We know some of the players on their team that we recruited. We know that team well. It’s a little bit personal I think for a couple of their players and our staff. They are a really good basketball team and very well-coached.”
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