While the University of Colorado women’s basketball team struggled initially to adapt to Dixie State’s methodical style of play, their defense eventually settled in as they exploited their height advantage to the tune of 78-53 victory over the Trailblazers on Friday, Dec. 3 at the CU Events Center. The win ensured that the Buffs’ undefeated 8-0 record stays intact for at least one more game.
“This definitely added a different style to our resume for the year,” said head coach JR Payne. “We definitely saw areas that we did well and saw areas that we need to improve. But we did great on the glass and [had] some really great post play.”
For much of the first quarter, it appeared that the Buffs were out of sorts. Despite leading 13-10 eight minutes into the game, the defense was not looking nearly as electric as past games. They routinely allowed the Trailblazers to maintain possession and chew the entire 30-second shot clock.
The Buffs eventually regrouped and slowly began chipping away with the help of some excellent post play from junior center Quay Miller and senior forward Peanut Tuitele. The two wreaked havoc on the Trailblazers’ defense and dominated all night as the pair combined for 32 points. Miller led the way with a 20 point effort capped off by a 4th quarter three-pointer. Tuitele was impressive in her own right, scoring 12 points.
“They [Miller and Tuitele] are just going to give you great effort, work hard, and do their best,” said Payne. “Whether they go 10 for 10, or 0 for 10, you are going to get the same type of effort from them. Which I love.”
By halftime, Colorado expanded their lead to 16 points. That lead only continued to grow in the second half, despite the efforts of Dixie State, who went on occasional offensive bursts, but nothing significant enough to dent much into the Buffs’ lead. The only real lapse came late in the game. Up by more than thirty points in the final two minutes, the Buffs appeared to lose some intensity as they allowed the Trailblazers to end the game on an 8-2 scoring run.
“Whether we are down by twenty or up by twenty, we need to maintain that,” said Tuitele. “Whenever the next name is up, they need to maintain that as well because we are striving to be excellent. We are striving to be a tournament team. We can’t let up when we are up by 20. That is unacceptable for us.”
Colorado will look to sharpen their end-of-game focus next week as they travel to Cedar City on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. to face off against Southern Utah.