TEMPE, Ariz. — There are way too many games on the remaining schedule for the Colorado women’s basketball team to think about pushing the panic button.
Instead, the Buffaloes are doing their best to remain positive through adversity.
A stellar effort defensively couldn’t make up for a rough night on offense, as the No. 22 Buffs lost in overtime to Arizona State, 57-52, at Desert Financial Arena on Friday.
“I’m disappointed, our team’s really disappointed but we also know that we’re a really good basketball team and we’re one possession away from, especially in our last two games, from being right there on the road,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “You can’t (hang your head) and we’re not built that way, and we won’t allow them to be built that way.”
After a 13-0 start to the season, the Buffs (13-3, 2-3 Pac-12) have lost three times in the past eight days, including the last two in overtime.
Against the Sun Devils (9-5, 1-0), the Buffs put together a furious rally late in the fourth quarter, going on a 10-2 run over the last 2 minutes, 29 seconds of regulation to force overtime.
In the extra frame, however, ASU took over. The Sun Devils didn’t hit any field goals, but went 11-for-20 from the free throw line and snagged three critical offensive rebounds.
Overall, ASU won the rebounding battle, 48-37, including a dominating 36-20 advantage after halftime. The Sun Devils turned their 16 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points.
“They are really good on the glass,” Payne said. “I think our team knew that, but in the end that’s what they do. They’ve always been that and we gave up some really costly offensive rebounds.”
In addition to being dominated on the glass, the Buffs had a rough night shooting the ball. They made just 32.8% (19-of-58) from the floor and 47.6% (10-of-21) from the free throw line.
Quay Miller had a team-high 12 points off the bench, but the starting unit — Sila Finau, Frida Formann, Mya Hollingshed, Jaylyn Sherrod and Peanut Tuitele — went a combined 9-for-39 (23.1%) for 30 points.
Miller and freshman guard Kindyll Wetta combined for six points late in the third quarter to pull CU within 36-34, but the Buffs opened the fourth quarter with 10 consecutive missed shots. They didn’t score in the first six minutes of the frame.
“We just couldn’t get a shot to fall,” Wetta said. “I don’t think we were taking bad shots. We couldn’t get a call and we couldn’t get shots up. It was very key.”
Despite the struggles on offense and in rebounding, the Buffs hung around because their stellar defense showed up once again.
CU held ASU to 36.5% from the floor and forced 29 turnovers. The Buffs racked up 19 steals. Eight of those steals came from Wetta, who added six points, five rebounds and five assists.
“We just thrive defensively and that’s honestly what keeps us in these games when we can’t get going offensively,” Wetta said. “That’s what brings energy and if we keep that up I think we’re gonna just keep getting better.”
While the Buffs are confident in their defense, they’ll look to get their offense on track when they visit No. 10 Arizona on Sunday. More than anything, Payne, her staff and the players will fight to remain positive amid some adversity.
“We’re a really good team but we’re also playing against really good teams,” Payne said. “It’s one free throw, it’s one box-out, it’s one possession that someone didn’t know what we were in as far as offensive execution, things like that.
“I think we’re all just extremely competitive and want to win not just every game, but every possession and so we are frustrated. But we just had a good talk in the locker room about really leaning into each other because it’s one possession. If we’re getting blown out by 20, well maybe we’ve got to really re-think some things. … The fact that it is a one-possession game, that speaks really well to how well our team is adapting and being able to bounce back to the next scenario, but we are disappointed for sure.”
CU has lost 14 consecutive games against ASU, dating back to Feb. 17, 2013. … The Sun Devils played without leading scorer Jade Loville, who averaged 15.5 points per game and leads the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage (.489). … Wetta had six steals in the first half, all of them coming in the second quarter. She set a CU record for steals in a quarter and tied the record for steals in a half. It was just the 11th eight-steal game in CU history. … ASU’s 29 turnovers were the most for a CU opponent since Mississippi Valley State had 32 on Dec. 17, 2016.
What went right: CU played exceptional defense most of the evening, forcing 29 turnovers, racking up 19 steals and limiting ASU to 36.5% (19-of-52) from the floor.
What went wrong: ASU dominated the Buffs in rebounding after halftime (36-20) and the Buffs had a miserable night of shooting, going 19-of-58 (32.8%) from the floor and 10-of-21 (47.6%) from the free throw line.
Star of the game: Kindyll Wetta. The freshman had just six points, but she provided a huge spark defensively with a career-high eight steals. She also had five assists, five rebounds and no turnovers in 33 minutes.
What’s next: The Buffs visit No. 10 Arizona on Sunday at noon MT.
Arizona State 57, No. 22 Colorado 52 (OT)
COLORADO (13-3, 2-3 Pac-12)
Sherrod 3-13 5-8 11, Formann 3-10 2-4 10, Finau 0-2 1-2 1, Hollingshed 2-11 0-0 6, Tuitele 1-3 0-0 2, Jones 2-2 0-0 4, Sadler 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 5-9 2-3 12, Blacksten 0-1 0-2 0, Wetta 3-7 0-2 6. Totals 19-58 10-21 52.
ARIZONA STATE (9-5, 1-0 Pac-12)
Hanson 5-12 4-4 17, Simmons 3-7 0-4 7, Bosquez 3-9 1-2 7, Gilles 1-7 5-8 8, Van Hyfte 0-1 1-4 1, Basallo 1-2 0-0 3, Erikstrup 0-1 0-0 0, Besselink 3-6 0-0 6, Levings 2-5 2-2 6, Greenslade 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-52 13-24 57.
Colorado 8 15 11 12 6 – 52
Arizona State 13 9 14 10 11 – 57
3-point field goals – Colorado 4-17 (Formann 2-9, Hollingshed 2-3, Finau 0-2, Sherrod 0-1, Blacksten 0-1, Wetta 0-1), ASU 6-20 (Hanson 3-6, Gilles 1-4, Simmons 1-3, Basallo 1-2, Bosquez 0-4, Erikstrup 0-1). Rebounds – Colorado 37 (Miller 8), ASU 48 (Gilles 11). Assists – Colorado 12 (Wetta 5), ASU 13 (Basallo 4). Steals – Colorado 19 (Wetta 8), ASU 7 (Simmons, Besselink 2). Turnovers – Colorado 22, ASU 29. Total fouls – Colorado 26, ASU 21. Fouled out – Hollingshed, Sherrod, Hanson. A – 2,190.