Asked what she wants for Christmas this year, Mya Hollingshed smiled.
“I’ve been thinking about this one,” she said. “Two weeks off.”
Unfortunately for the Colorado women’s basketball star, she won’t get that, but if anyone has earned it, it’s Hollingshed and her teammates.
On Monday afternoon, the Buffaloes put a bow on a perfect nonconference schedule, routing San Francisco, 80-56. Hollingshed scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Quay Miller (19 points, eight rebounds), Sila Finau (11 points), Kindyll Wetta (seven points, four assists) and others also stepped up.
The Buffs are off to an 11-0 start for just the sixth time in program history.
“Really excited for how we played,” CU head coach JR Payne said after rolling past the Dons (5-6). “We knew that it would be a total team effort for us to be successful tonight. … We can’t coach a perfect game, as far as going 100% from the floor or stopping them from scoring ever, but our effort is totally in our control and our team played really, really hard tonight. Super proud of us, excited for being undefeated in the preseason and really excited for them to have a little bit of a break. And even more excited for Pac-12 play to start.”
Hollingshed won’t get a two-week break, but close. Shortly after the game, the Buffs went their separate ways for the holidays. They don’t play again until the Dec. 31 Pac-12 opener at Oregon State.
Before heading home, the Buffs took care of business against the Dons.
Behind 3-pointers from Hollingshed and Finau, the Buffs jumped to a quick 8-0 lead and never trailed.
Hollingshed scored 13 points in the first seven minutes, but then spent the last 13 minutes of the half on the bench with foul trouble. The Buffs didn’t really slow down without her, as Miller picked up some slack.
“(Miller) has been a huge addition to this team, big productivity off the bench,” Wetta said. “But it definitely is a lot missing Mya for the last 13 minutes of the first half.”
It was during that stretch that San Francisco gained a bit of momentum, cutting a 16-point CU lead down to seven by halftime.
“I actually thought USF did a good job of dictating some tempo,” Payne said. “I thought they really kind of slowed us down in the half court, which made us hesitant, and then they were disruptive in a different sort of way; not pressuring and denying everything. But our team really responded in the second half, because our offense helps our defense and our defense also helps our offense. I think when we have good flow and good tenacity on both ends, we’re a better team when we’re like that.”
Finau scored eight points in a 15-5 run to start the second half and CU led by as many as 28 points.
CU’s offense was sharp, but Payne also credited Wetta, Jaylyn Sherrod and others for holding the Dons’ Ioanna Krimili to a season-low five points. She came in averaging 19.7 per game.
“That was really important for us to be successful tonight,” Payne said. “We had to do that. Our effort was really pretty good.”
That has been the case in just about every game to this point, so Payne was happy to send the players off for a break. They’ll come back shortly after Christmas ready to work.
“I think everyone is really dialed into what we want to accomplish and what we need to do, individually and collectively to have the type of success we’re looking for,” Payne said.
Monday’s game was the last for CU director of operations Jill Mahoney. This her fifth season with the Buffs and she is leaving for a new career with the Boulder Police Department. Matt Hower, who has been the girls basketball coach at Fort Collins High School, has been hired to replace Mahoney. … Hollingshed surpassed the 1,400-point mark for her career (1,406) and now sits 13th in CU history in scoring. … Finau has 24 points in her last two games — the best two-game stretch of her career. … Combined, Hollingshed and Miller have averaged 40.5 points and 14.5 rebounds the past two games. …The Buffs improved to 57-5 against nonconference opponents, including 38-2 at home, in Payne’s tenure.
What went right: Offensively, the Buffs were sharp throughout the game. They turned 15 USF turnovers into 26 points, dominated in rebounding (39-25) and played good defense in the second half.
What went wrong: In the first half, the Buffs let the Dons’ shooters get open too often and that kept USF in the game.
Star of the game: Mya Hollingshed. Another great performance for the senior, who had 23 points and nine rebounds.
What’s next: After a holiday break, the Buffs will visit Oregon State in the Pac-12 opener on Dec. 31.
Colorado 80, San Francisco 56
SAN FRANCISCO (5-6)
Langer 0-0 0-0 0, Dickie 2-9 0-0 5, McDowell-White 2-4 0-0 5, Krimili 2-7 0-0 5, Kostic 0-1 0-0 0, Vaalavirta 0-3 2-2 2, Klavina 2-5 0-0 5, Gayles 5-7 1-2 15, Keita 1-4 3-4 5, Lagarita 6-8 1-2 14, Fulcher 0-0 0-0 0, Rathbun 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 7-10 56.
Sherrod 2-4 1-3 5, Formann 1-5 2-2 4, Finau 4-12 1-1 11, Hollingshed 8-11 3-4 23, Tuitele 1-3 0-0 2, Jones 1-2 0-0 2, Sadler 1-6 0-0 2, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 8-11 2-2 19, Blacksten 2-2 0-1 5, Wetta 1-2 4-4 7, Gerber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-58 13-17 80.
San Francisco 16 16 13 11 – 56
Colorado 25 14 23 18 – 80
3-point goals – USF 9-23 (Gayles 4-6, Dickie 1-5, Krimili 1-5, Klavina 1-3, McDowell-White 1-1, Langarita 1-1, Keita 0-2), Colorado 9-26 (Hollingshed 4-5, Finau 2-7, Miller 1-3, Blacksten 1-1, Wetta 1-1, Formann 0-4, Sherrod 0-2, Sadler 0-2, Jones 0-1). Rebounds – USF 25 (McDowell-White 6), Colorado 39 (Hollingshed 9). Assists – USF 11 (McDowell-White 4), Colorado 17 (Wetta 4). Steals – USF 5 (Krimili 3), Colorado 9 (Miller 3). Turnovers – USF 15, Colorado 12. Total fouls – USF 17, Colorado 17. Fouled out – None. A – 1,132.