As usual, Colorado women’s basketball head coach JR Payne will find positives in reviewing the film of Sunday’s game against Utah.
She just might have to look a little harder to find them.
Utah was the aggressor from the opening tip at CU Events Center, led wire-to-wire and handed the Buffaloes a 78-67 defeat.
“There aren’t too many times I could say I’m disappointed in how we performed but I am disappointed today,” Payne said. “We’re better than that. We did some good things, certainly. … We’re gonna see some things that were good, but we didn’t play well enough to beat Utah today and that’s just bottom line. Our energy wasn’t where it needed to be. Our rebounding certainly was an indicator of the outcome of the game.”
Mya Hollingshed scored a season-high 28 points for the Buffs (14-5, 3-5 Pac-12), but it wasn’t nearly enough against Utah (11-7, 2-4), which recovered from Friday’s overtime loss to the Buffs in Salt Lake City.
Four Utes scored in double figures, led by Dasia Young’s 15 points.
The Utes drained back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening 64 seconds, led by 10 after the first quarter and never let up. They crushed the Buffs on the board, 43-20 and drained 9-of-22 from 3-point range.
“It felt a little bit low energy for me,” Payne said of her team. “(Utah) came out and bombs away, boom, boom, boom on 3s. A team that shoots the ball the way they do, if that’s how they start, their energy is going to be on 10 all night long. I don’t think we guarded the 3-point line very well early and that’s definitely important against Utah, because once they get going, it’s hard to rein them in.”
Yet, the Buffs did battle back.
After falling behind by 12 early in the second quarter, Hollingshed drained three 3-pointers and Frida Formann hit a layup to tie the game at 31-31 with 1:23 to go in the first half.
Just a few seconds later, Young hit one of her career-high five 3s for the Utes.
Every time CU cut into the Utah lead, the Utes answered by extending it again.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Formann, who had 12 points. “But that’s also what Utah is really good at. To beat them … you have to really just control the things that you know you can do like rebounding, like defending, being solid, because they do go on those runs too. I think today was just all in our effort and in our details and when we don’t have those down, you can’t really go on a run. You can’t just live off of making two 3s in a row.”
CU, which out-rebounded the Utes, 43-41 on Friday, didn’t have anywhere near the same effort on the glass in this one. The Buffs had their lowest single-game rebounding total since having 20 against Missouri on Feb. 7, 1990. The minus-23 margin was CU’s worst since Jan. 30, 2020, against Oregon State.
“Honestly it was just awful,” Hollingshed said of the Buffs’ rebounding. “There were certain possessions where there were long rebounds and we didn’t run out the balls and hustle to the ball. Balls going over our heads on the free throw line. I had a couple of those. It was just honestly things that we could control and just didn’t have enough effort or put enough energy into fighting for the ball. We didn’t fight for extra possessions and they were fighting for extra possessions because they wanted to beat us.”
Hollingshed did bring her great effort offensively, hitting 10-of-14 shots and matching the second-best point total of her career.
Overall, the Buffs made 44.4 percent of their shots, by far their best shooting percentage in Pac-12 play.
“Well, 67 points and 44% is good,” Payne said. “You can beat a lot of teams like that, but getting out-rebounded by 23 and giving up (19) offensive rebounds is not going to equate.”
In the end, the numbers added up to a fifth loss in CU’s last six games. They face two important home games this week against Washington State (Friday) and Washington (Sunday).
“These guys rest tomorrow and Tuesday we get back to work,” Payne said. “That’s it. That’s all I know is work. You look at it, you figure it out, you work; you look at it, you figure it out, you work. That’s what we’ll continue to do. But I’m definitely disappointed in the outcome of the game.”
Hollingshed surpassed the 1,500-point mark for her career. She currently has 1,515, which ranks 12th in CU history. Sunday was also her 129th career game, tied for fifth all-time at CU with Laurie Welch (1978-82). … During her tenure at CU, Payne is 5-1 against Utah’s Lynne Roberts in their first regular season meeting, but 0-5 in the second matchup. … Young went 9-for-13 on 3s this weekend against CU. She was 9-for-36 on the season before Friday.
What went right: The Buffs got their offense going, as they hit 44 percent of their shots, drained seven 3-pointers and racked up 16 assists.
What went wrong: Rebounding was atrocious for the Buffs, who were dominated 43-20 in that category. Defense was solid at times, but the Utes also went 9-for-22 from 3-point range.
Star of the game: Mya Hollingshed. The senior had a season-high 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while adding seven rebounds.
What’s next: The Buffs host Washington State on Friday at 7 p.m.
Utah 78, Colorado 67
UTAH (11-7, 2-4 Pac-12)
Vieira 2-6 8-9 12, Kneepkens 4-8 0-0 9, Johnson 2-5 2-4 6, McQueen 2-6 0-0 5, Rees 1-4 0-0 2, Palmer 0-1 1-2 1, Maxwell 5-8 1-1 13, Jackson 0-1 2-2 2, Young 5-9 0-0 15, McFarland 5-7 3-4 13. Totals 26-55 17-22 78.
COLORADO (14-4, 3-4 Pac-12)
Sherrod 1-10 1-3 3, Sadler 2-5 2-2 6, Finau 0-2 0-0 0, Hollingshed 10-14 4-4 28, Tuitele 3-6 0-0 6, Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Formann 5-9 0-0 12, Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Blacksten 0-0 0-0 0, Wetta 1-4 5-7 7. Totals 24-54 12-16 67.
Utah 22 12 26 18 – 78
Colorado 12 19 19 17 – 67
3-point goals – Utah 9-22 (Young 5-6, Maxwell 2-5, Kneepkens 1-3, McQueen 1-3, Johnson 0-2, Vieira 0-1, Rees 0-1, Palmer 0-1), Colorado 7-18 (Hollingshed 4-6, Formann 2-4, Jones 1-1, Tuitele 0-3, Sherrod 0-2, Sadler 0-1, Wetta 0-1). Rebounds – Utah 43 (Vieira 8), Colorado 20 (Hollingshed 7). Assists – Utah 14 (Vieira 4), Colorado 16 (Sherrod, Wetta 5). Steals – Utah 6 (Vieira, Rees 2), Colorado 10 (Wetta 4). Turnovers – Utah 20, Colorado 15. Total fouls – Utah 18, Colorado 21. Fouled out – None. A – 1,921.