ROCKS – Colorado’s Tayanna Jones wasn’t always the top scorer for the head coach JR Payne and the Buffaloes, but now in her third year at Boulder, the fifth-grader has carved out an undeniable role.
Jones, who joined from Georgetown, joined the Buffs for the 2020-21 COIVD-delayed season. She has 228 of her 394 career points as buffs and is on track to reach career highs this season, averaging 8.3 points per game in the early stages.
Contributing points is a bonus for a player with the “team first” mentality that Jones brings to the table. She set a career-high 15 points in CU’s 83-32 win at Chicago State on Sunday. It was her best result as a buff, but after the game she wasn’t as happy as one would expect.
“I was actually pretty upset that I wasn’t getting enough rebounds [on Sunday] To be honest,” Jones said. “We always hit the ball [as a team] but it’s the other things that win ball games. I’m more looking forward to that and I would have been happier if I had had more rebounds.”
Jones, who started five games this season, is second in the Buffs with 5.4 rebounds per game this season. She was strong on both ends of the floor, with 12 offensive boards, her career high so far.
“Tay is just such a gifted athlete,” Payne commented. “She can do many different things. We continue to try to get them to stay disciplined and play in our system. I thought she did it really well [on Sunday]. She competed on the glass at both ends of the floor. Everything she did was within the scope of what we wanted to do. Overall it was a goal to play like that and she did it really well.”
The Selma, NC native snagged nine CU-high rebounds against the Air Force and led the Buffs in steals and blocks multiple times this season. She’s also shooting at a clip of 47.8% this season, well above previous levels.
“It’s my last year,” Jones explained. “So you have to give everything you’ve got and focus on all the things you’ve wanted to focus on for years.
Jones came off the bench at Chicago State on Sunday after the Buffs at No. 23 Tennessee had underperformed. Overall, the buffs haven’t done their best against the Lady Vols. Jones went off the field 8-0 with five rebounds. Colorado as a team was only 17-54 in Knoxville.
Things improved significantly for Jones and the South Side buffs. She led Colorado to a 51-point win at +45 in her 20 minutes of play.
“It’s always good to win,” added Jones. “I think first and foremost for me I was just trying to recover because I had such a terrible game against Tennessee. I was kind of upset about that and was trying to make sure I was focusing on the details and the little things like discipline and sort of going back to basics. On that we all agreed. We didn’t play our best basketball [at Tennessee]. For us, we all just want to do our thing and get back to Colorado basketball.”
Jones and the Buffs return home Wednesday hosting Western Michigan (6 p.m. MT). The Broncos are making their second trip to Boulder. CU owns a 1-0 advantage in the series, having won the opening meeting 79-62 in 1999.
Wednesday’s game will be streamed online at CUBuffs.com/WatchWBB. Cory Lopez and Carol Callan will lead the call over the Colorado Radio Network, with audition beginning at 5:30 p.m