Basketball season is finally here, as the University of Colorado women’s basketball team took the court against an opponent for the first time this season on Monday night. They played host to Southern Nazarene in an exhibition contest at the CU Events Center.
When the clock read all zeroes, Colorado had emerged with a commanding victory with the final score reading 93-43 in favor of the Buffs.
The Buffaloes formally open up their 2018-19 campaign on Tuesday, Nov. 6 versus Northern Colorado. From the sample size provided in Monday’s win over SNU, the Buffs seem like they’ll be ready to go for their first official matchup in just over a week’s time.
“To be able to have [a] live game situation is all we wanted out of this,” said third-year head coach JR Payne. “Some freshman got a lot of minutes and a lot of live experience so that’s good for us.”
Freshman contributors to the Buffaloes’ cause included guard Leslia Finau, who played 21 minutes and scored four points. Forward Sirena Tuitele dropped nine points in 20 minutes on the court.
The Buffaloes looked a bit off for roughly the first three minutes versus the Crimson Storm, who took an early 4-0 lead as Colorado made just two of its first eight shots from the field.
However, by the end of the first quarter, the Buffaloes held a significant lead. CU went on an 18-0 run, holding Southern Nazarene scoreless from the 6:01 mark in the opening quarter until the buzzer rang and the second quarter began.
The Buffs kept the pressure on SNU as the second quarter began. Crimson Storm’s free throws by Massey Beard with 7:02 before halftime broke their scoreless drought, although by then, it mattered little.
Colorado held a 29-8 lead at that point and from there, never looked back. By halftime, the Buffs were in front, 45-19.
Sophomore guard Aubrey Knight led the Buffs at halftime with 13 points, while senior guard Alexis Robinson was next with 11.
Knight finished as the Buffs’ and game’s leading scorer with 17. Overall, Colorado had three players score in the double digits. Robinson finished with 13 points, as did senior guard Kennedy Leonard.
The win should seem particularly sweet for Knight, who was back playing in full action for the first time since she had shoulder surgery in the spring.
“I was ready to get back out there,” she said. “I missed it so much. I got injured and it ended up being six months without being able to do basically anything, so being able to come out and play again was awesome.”
Colorado did not take its foot off the gas pedal in the second half. From the 8:11 mark in the third quarter, the Buffs led by no less than 30 points.
On the night, CU shot 45 percent from the floor and made 19-of-22 free throws.
Colorado officially begins its season with a home game against Northern Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo