Sharing the work: Balanced effort pushes CU Buffs women’s basketball past Louisiana Tech

Buffs improve to 6-0 behind stellar defense, timely offense

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Peanut Tuitele once received a broken nose during an unusually physical shoot-around, but returned later that day to take her usual place in the starting lineup for the Colorado women’s basketball team.

So when Tuitele briefly was sidelined with a bloody nose early in the Buffaloes’ home date on Saturday against Louisiana Tech, there was little doubt amongst her teammates that Tuitele’s absence would be brief.

Indeed, before long it was Tuitele and the Buffs who were inflicting the pain, as CU offset a frustrating shooting effort from long range with a rugged defensive performance to hold off Louisiana Tech for a 59-48 victory at the CU Events Center. CU improved to 6-0 and will play Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon in the Buffs’ finale of the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic.

“It’s part of the game. I told the ref there was blood and she blew the whistle,” Tuitele said. “It was a little break for me, but it’s part of the game and you’ve got to go through those injuries. I didn’t let that stop me.”

Tuitele paced the Buffs offensively, going 7-for-11 from the floor with a team-high 14 points in what was an unusual offensive showing for CU. While the Buffs struggled from 3-point range, finishing just 4-for-18 from the arc, CU created good looks otherwise, posting a .500 percentage on 2-pointers (21-for-42). Overall, the Buffs finished with an impressive 18 assists on 25 field goals, led by six assists against just one turnover from point guard Jaylyn Sherrod.

“We definitely are a very selfless group,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “We love to share the ball. Nobody cares who gets the points. Nobody cares who gets the accolades. And I think we kind of have that mindset of next-woman-up. Maybe it’s my night tonight, maybe it’s her night tonight. That’s good ball movement. That’s great patience. Any time you can have that many assists is wonderful.”

CU never trailed after the first quarter, and it responded to several Louisiana Tech runs before securing the win.

The Buffs led 26-16 at halftime and extended the lead to 12 points immediately after the break on a baseline jumper from Sila Finau. Louisiana Tech, however, quickly reeled off an 11-0 run to get within a point, and the Lady Techsters scored the final four points of the third quarter to keep within 39-35 of the Buffs going into the fourth.

Although CU struggled from the 3-point line, the Buffs hit a couple huge ones early in the fourth quarter, netting consecutive long-range jumpers from Frida Formann and Sherrod to keep the Buffs’ lead at eight points. Louisiana Tech didn’t get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

The Buffs harassed Louisiana Tech into a .296 mark from the field, marking the second consecutive foe CU has held to under 30%.

“That was a knock-down, drag out…that was a physical basketball game,” Payne said. “I’m proud of our response, because I thought at times that we were kind of faltering. And every time we faltered, we found a way to dig in and do what we needed to do to sort of work our way back up. That was a tough game.”

Notable

Tuitele matched a career high with three steals…Sherrod scored 13 points in CU’s previous game against Sunday’s foe, Wisconsin, during a home win on Nov. 18, 2019.

Fast break

What went right: CU held Louisiana Tech to a .296 field goal percentage and posted a 40-36 rebounding advantage.

What went wrong: CU was just 4-for-18 on 3-pointers and 5-for-11 at the free throw line.

Star of the game: Peanut Tuitele. CU’s starting forward went 7-for-11 before finishing with a team-high 14 points along with four rebounds and a career-high-tying three steals.

What’s next: The Buffs will get back to work immediately with a home date on Sunday against Wisconsin at noon.

Colorado 59, Louisiana Tech 48

LT  11 5 19 13 — 48

CU 13 13 13 20 — 59

LOUISIANA TECH (4-2)

Roberson 2-10 4-4 8, Walker 4-9 9-10 17, Lee 1-3 0-0 3, Bates 4-14 1-3 9, Brannon 4-13 0-0 9, Sant 0-2 0-0 0, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Nativi 1-1 0-0 2, Davis 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-54 14-17 48.

COLORADO (6-0)

Tuitele 7-11 0-0 14, Sherrod 2-4 1-6 6, Formann 3-10 0-0 8, Finau 2-5 0-0 4, Hollingshed 4-15 0-0 9, Jones 3-4 3-3 9, Miller 1-2 1-2 3, Sadler 0-3 0-0 0, Wetta 3-6 0-0 6, Singer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-60 59.

3-point field goals: Louisiana Tech 2-16 (Roberson 0-1, Walker 0-3, Lee 1-2, Bates 0-4, Brannon 1-4, Sant 0-2); Colorado 4-18 (Tuitele 0-2, Sherrod 1-1, Formann 2-7, Finau 0-2, Hollingshed 1-4, Miller 0-1, Wetta 0-1). Rebounds: Louisiana Tech 36 (Roberson 11); Colorado 40 (Miller 7). Assists: Louisiana Tech 2 (Bates 2); Colorado 18 (Sherrod 6). Total fouls: Louisiana Tech 9, Colorado 15.