The Colorado Women’s Basketball team put on a show this Saturday, Nov. 12, at the CU Events Center with four quarters of intense and excellent play. The Buffs faced the Jackson State Tigers for their third home game this season and remained undefeated.
Although the Buffs beat the Tigers by over 20 points, Head Coach JR Payne predicted that their talented opponents will make it to the tournament later this season.
The game started out with equal scoring opportunities for both teams. It took a while for CU to adjust to Jackson’s pick-and-roll offense and the Tigers were able to score multiple early points off of undetected screens at the top of the key.
The Buffs responded by attempting to penetrate under the Jackson State basket, but a few early layups by the Buffs failed. Both teams also came out in man-to-man defense, looking to find good match-ups. While the Buffs remained in the lead for the majority of the first quarter, the Tigers were able to keep the lead to only two or three points and consistently made CU work for their shots.
The quarter ended with Colorado up 13-11.
Jackson State came into the second quarter strong with a three-pointer right from the get-go, but senior guard Jaylyn Sherrod responded with two threes of her own. On defense, CU struggled to get defensive rebounds and ended up scrambling for loose balls off of Jackson State’s missed shots. However, when the Buffs did get possession, they found lots of success with loft passes over the heads of Tiger defenders for open lay-ups.
Multiple buckets from center Quay Miller forced a Jackson State time-out later in the quarter. In the last few minutes of the half, the Buffs began to gain confidence on offense and take more shots from outside the key, putting them up 29-23 at halftime.
“We had to stick to what we know we can do and what we can practice,” said sophomore Aaronette Vonleh. “We had to go out and keep the same intensity we had in the first half but turn it up more.”
After the half, CU went on a six-point scoring streak using counter-attacks to send passes up the middle for open layups. At one point Jackson State switched to zone defense, which momentarily frazzled the Buffs but resulted in more opportunities for outside shots. Guard Frida Formann took this chance to nail multiple three-pointers which gave Colorado a surge of momentum. Pressure from Formann also allowed Vonleh to fill the gaps in the key and make impressive shots with numerous defenders right on her back.
As the quarter ended the Buffs had earned a healthy lead, but their defense would remain critical to winning the match.
“We love defense,” said Coach Payne reflecting on the Buffs’ defensive effort. “We spend a lot of time on it, we talk about it, we take pride in it.”
This defensive focus paid off for the Buffs in the fourth quarter of the game against Jackson State. Despite CU having the lead, the Tigers came out full-force looking to cause turnovers and penetrate Colorado’s key. However, CU did an excellent job of switching on screens and recognizing back-door cuts. Although the Jackson players were incredibly fast, the Buffs simply outsized them on defense.
Pressure from forward Charlotte Whittaker intercepted multiple passes and was able to distribute them up the court to create more scoring chances for CU. The game ended 77-53, with the Buffs clinching their third victory.
“I tried to play hard on both ends…especially on the defensive side” said Formann who scored an impressive 17 points this game. “I think I just played with confidence today.”
The Buffs will head South this week to play Louisiana and Texas Tech before returning home on Nov. 19 for a rivalry match against Air Force Academy.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sophie McKeown at firstname.lastname@example.org.