If the University of Colorado women’s basketball team were tired from having already played four games last week and their second game in less than 24 hours, they didn’t show any signs of it on the court. On Sunday afternoon, CU only trailed Wisconsin once in the game’s opening minutes as another energetic defensive performance carried undefeated Colorado (7-0) to a 67-51 victory over Wisconsin (2-5) at the CU Events Center.
The win capped off a perfect week for the Buffs, which started with a pair of solid performances against Samford and Texas Southern. Colorado won both of those games by more than 30 points. On Saturday, the Buffs faced a more formidable challenge to open the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic against Louisiana Tech but prevailed with a 59-48 win over the Lady Techsters.
“Excited about being able to gut out five games in ten days,” said head coach JR Payne. “It is not easy for anybody, but we did that, and I’m proud of our team.”
During the first half of the game, the Buffs defense did what they have done all season: suffocate the opposing offense and generate turnovers. The Badger offense looked disjointed and uncomfortable as they struggled to find any type of rhythm. The result was a paltry 20 points for Wisconsin in the first twenty minutes of play, greatly generated by CU’s stifling defense.
“As a ball club we are really growing in confidence, and we know that we are pretty good defensively,” said Payne. “We can create turnovers, we can make people uncomfortable, we can be disruptive, and I think that everybody that played tonight did that.”
Although there were ample scoring opportunities in the first two quarters, the Buffs’ offense could not fully capitalize on their defensive efforts as their 31% shooting limited their lead to 10 points at the half.
That left the door open for the Badgers, who emerged from the second half with newfound life, and quickly cut the lead to just five points. Over the next couple of minutes, Wisconsin tried to narrow that lead even more, but they could not contain Senior forward Mya Hollingshed, whose seven straight points kept the five-point lead intact. Those seven points were the highlight of Hollingshed’s 18 point and ten rebound afternoon.
The Buffs dominated the final minutes of the third quarter. The defensive sharpness returned, and Colorado executed on offense as they expanded the lead to 14 on the back of an 11-2 scoring run.
“We have been in these situations before,” said Hollingshed. “We have lost many games by not being able to finish at the end of games. So I think that we take that very personally just coming into this year. I think that is a big point of emphasis, especially with our defense. We always want to finish games and close out games.”
Colorado continued its dominance in the fourth quarter, growing its lead to 21 points. With many starters pulled, Sophomore guard Tameiya Sadler emerged from the bench and made the most of her opportunity. Sadler helped lead the way for Colorado in the 4th quarter scoring 8 points to go along with two assists.
“That’s the great thing about this team is there are a lot of different people that can step up and score the ball when they need,” said Payne.
After a jam-packed week, the Buffs will now get a well-deserved rest from games before returning to the CU Events Center this Friday, Dec. 3rd, to play Dixie State University at 7 p.m. MT.