ROCKS – Colorado picked up right where it left off in Chicago on Sunday. The Buffaloes returned home Wednesday night, running Western Michigan from the CU Events Center, 75-37.
Colorado (6-2) used an early offensive burst and late defensive lockdown to take the win. CU scored 47 points in the first half and led by 27 points at halftime. Defending the buffs impressed, limiting the opponent to under 40 points for the second game in a row.
“I didn’t expect us to play so well,” said the head coach JR Payne authorized. “To be honest we didn’t have a great practice session yesterday. We had a good shootaround today but I thought we played really well against another team tonight. Their offensive system is different than we usually see, with everyone they switch defensively everything we don’t normally see. I thought our defense really dictated our offense. I’m really proud of how everyone played tonight.
Three buffs ended in double digits, led by Kai Millerare 20 points. Aaronette Vonleh and Jaylyn Sherrod contributed 11 or 10 points. Junior Tameiya Sadler was all over the floor on Wednesday. She only scored five points overall, but lassoed a season-high eight rebounds and a career-best seven steals.
“We all know that Tam is one of the most talented players on our roster,” Payne said. “She can do things that no one else can. But we talked about playing with more urgency – be strong. We use the term stout with her. We have to be tougher. We need to get more urgent. She is capable of it. I almost said, “You blew it, you showed everyone what you’re capable of,” so we’re expecting it now. If Tam can play like that, Tam really is an X factor for us. She is a difference maker. If she can play like that, it opens things up for other people. It appears to be creating windows for our post players. It may result in a transitional offence. We need Tam to play like that and she’s clearly capable of it.”
The win marked a second consecutive milestone for Payne, who celebrated her 200th career win on Sunday. Wednesday’s win marked her 100th as a bank chief at CU.
“I just think we’ve worked really hard to have great staff and great players,” Payne said. “I’ve had a lot of old players coming in after 200 and I thought with every one of them I was like a man, a lot of them were with you at point guard or a lot of them were with you in getting that jumper baseline. It’s really fun to be in a place where you can stay long enough, because we’ve been to other places where we sort of built a program and then left. It was truly a blessing to be here for so long. I look forward to having many more alongside these guys.”
Western Michigan (2-4) was limited to 14 baskets that night and attempted 33 of his 54 shots from behind the arc. The Broncos turned the ball 23 times, resulting in 33 points less turnover for the Buffs. Lauren Ross was the only bronco to go into double digits, leading the WMU with 13 points.
“We pay a lot of attention to the staff so knowing how to protect every single player on the pitch really helped us,” Sadler said. “We were in the gaps on defense and we talked to each other. We communicated a lot on defense tonight.”
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