After a season of unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Colorado women’s basketball team saw its season come to a close against Ole Miss on Monday in the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The Rebels took CU’s spot in the final four, defeating the Buffs, 65-56 at the My Town Movers Fieldhouse in Collierville, Tennessee.
Ultimately, the game was not on the front of most people’s minds following a devastating shooting that took place at a Boulder supermarket just hours before the game. CU players and head coach JR Payne emphasized the importance of remembering that this type of incident is bigger than basketball.
“I know it has been a very difficult day with things that are far bigger than basketball,” Payne said. “While I am disappointed in the game, I want to make sure I share that our hearts are back in Boulder with our community right now.”
Throughout the game, fouls were a huge problem for the Buffs. Multiple younger players had to step up in the absence of senior forward Mya Hollingshed and junior guard Lesila Finau who both fouled out in the fourth quarter. In possibly her final game as a Colorado Buffalo, Hollingshed tallied eight points before fouling out.
While Finau was in foul trouble, Payne slid freshman Frida Formann over to point guard and she provided another stellar performance in the tournament. Formann led the team with 19 points on 6-of-10 from the field including a trio of three-pointers. Although the loss of Finau stung, Formann certainly filled her spot successfully.
Both Formann and junior forward Peanut Tuitele were named to the Memphis Region All-Tournament Team.
The Buffs, however, fell behind 17 in the fourth quarter and couldn’t claw back. While it wasn’t the outcome the team hoped for, it was another strong season for the Buffs who finished the year at 12-11, including taking down No. 1 Stanford.
“First and foremost, this is a remarkable group of young ladies to have sacrificed as much as they have for the opportunity to play basketball,” Payne said.“All encompassing, it has been pretty incredible.”
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