In the second round of the 2021 Women’s National Invitational Tournament on Saturday, the University of Colorado women’s basketball team stayed hot and knocked off the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 75-71. Just eight teams remain as the Buffaloes look to reach the WNIT semifinals for the first time since 2008.
Head coach JR Payne’s Buffs made six-of-eight free throw attempts in the final minute to seal the win at the My Town Movers Fieldhouse in Collierville, Tennessee.
“We certainly made it interesting down the stretch,” Payne said. “I told the team that they made a lot of people in Boulder very happy down the stretch of the game because I know this game means a lot to a lot of Buffs, old and young. Everybody wants to beat Nebraska so I’m really happy and proud of our team today.”
Led by freshman guard Frida Formann’s 18 points on 4-of-7 threes, the Buffaloes shot 49% from the field and 42% from deep. Colorado led for 34:55 of the game’s 40 minutes while outrebounding Nebraska, 33-31.
Colorado’s bench was highlighted by sophomore forward Charlotte Whittaker’s 15 points.
“I have great support from coaches and players, but it’s always nice to kind of give back and give your all to something that you’ve all been working so hard for as well,” Whittaker said.
Two other Buffaloes, junior forward Peanut Tuitele and junior guard Lesila Finau, scored in the double-digits as well to aid in a balanced offensive attack. When sophomore guard Jaylyn Sherrod went down with an injury in mid-January, Finau took over point guard duties and has fared well in leading the offense. Moving the ball has been a high priority for Payne and CU displayed that on Saturday.
Playing in perhaps her final stretch of games with the Buffs, senior forward Mya Hollingshed shot just 1-of-6 from the field. Payne noted that Hollingshed has been getting double and triple-teamed frequently on offense and fell into foul trouble early. A panic button push isn’t appropriate, Payne believes, with Hollingshed’s maturity and willingness to share the ball.
CU’s third round matchup will be the Ole Miss Rebels who defeated Samford and Tulane in the first and second rounds respectively. Tip time will be on Monday at 6 p.m. MST. The Buffs will require three more wins to earn their first WNIT title in program history.
“I know we’ve had some rough games or tight games in the past and we’re just trying to learn to move on and grow mentally from there and grow as a team through adversity,” Whittaker said. “I think we keep doing that so well and hopefully that’s going to get us further in this tournament.”
Contact CU Independent Visuals/Operations Manager Nigel Amstock at firstname.lastname@example.org.