On Friday, Feb. 17, the Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils, 70-62, at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz. This marks the team’s fifth consecutive win, pushing their record to 21-5 and 12-3 in Pac-12 conference play. The Buffaloes now stand undefeated against all of the other teams in the lower half of the Pac-12 standings.
Center Quay Miller led the squad with yet another double-double, racking up 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. This was her fifth double-double in the last seven games. However, she struggled from the long range, finishing with just one for seven.
Guard Tameiya Sadler had a much-needed excellent performance off the bench, shooting a perfect six for six from the field and finishing with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. She was the spark of Colorado’s offense, which at times struggled to gain momentum during the game.
Forward Aaronette Vonleh may not have put up numbers in any statistical category, but she proved to be an invaluable asset for the team. With Vonleh on the floor, the Buffs were up by 18 points. Kindyl Wetta added nine points, while guards Jaylyn Sherrod and Frida Formann added eight points each.
The Buffs had to overcome a lackluster start on the defensive end, as they gave up 21 points and led by just one point after the first quarter of play. Sherrod also picked up a technical foul in the quarter, another example of the Buffs’ early frustrations. By halftime, CU had 11 turnovers, as the scrappy, desperate Arizona State team attempted to disrupt their offensive flow.
“We don’t typically turn the ball over like that,” said head coach JR Payne. “That’s frustrating and leads to clean looks at the basket for them. That’s not a great game plan. The Buffs finished with 20 for the game, showing much room for improvement in the future.”
Sadler took over for Colorado in the second quarter, scoring 11 of her 16 points. This capped a 20-10 advantage in the quarter and secured a double-digit halftime lead. Colorado also tallied 29 bench points, far more than ASU’s seven.
However, the Buffs struggled on the offensive end during the second half, specifically the third quarter. They had only 11 points in the third on 4-15 shooting, as Arizona State stayed hot on Colorado’s heels.
“I think our pace offensively was pretty sluggish here today and in the half court,” Payne said.
The final period played out in a similar way, as the scrappy Sun Devils continued to creep back into the game. Guard Tyi Skinner led the side with 27 points, eight of which came from the free-throw line. When center Kaylah Mokwuah put in a layup with 3:22 left, the Buffs’ lead diminished to only 2 points.
However, the Buffs outscored the Sun Devils from this point in the game, 8-2, resulting in the final score of 70-62. This final push came as team effort. Formann scored a big 3-pointer, Vonleh made a layup and Sadler and Sherrod sunk clutch free throws. Guard Tayanna Jones wrapped the game up with a steal in the final moments.
“I definitely think it is a sign of maturity and growth in this team,” Miller said. “In previous years, we probably would have sulked longer than we did today. I think that’s what played a role in their leads today.”
After the road trip to Arizona, the team will return to Boulder for their biggest test of the season: No. 3 Stanford. On Thursday, Feb. 23, they will look to defend their home court against the mighty Cardinals and to make their final push into the postseason.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Harrison Simeon at harrison.Simeon@colorado.edu.