There are still high expectations as CU Buffs women’s basketball looks to the future – BuffZone

Seeing the Creighton women’s basketball team clear disruptions in Iowa and Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament made Colorado head coach JR Payne feel a little more comfortable with his own team’s loss in the first round to the Bluejays.

However, not too much.

“It does not remove the sting at all, but it does – for those who did not know how good Creighton was – it tells the world that they really are an Elite Eight team,” Payne said. “It certainly does not change the way you feel about the game, but they are so good.”

Colorado’s Kindyll Wetta drives past Arizona’s Shaina Pellington during the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament on March 3, 2022 in Las Vegas (Al Powers / Powers Imagery)

Creighton’s surprise run for Elite Eight may have confirmed CU’s loss in the first round in some way, but Payne does not want the pain of that defeat to diminish as Buffaloes (22-9) turn the page to the offseason.

“We worked so hard to get to this point,” Payne said of Buffs, who ended their nine-year NCAA tournament drought. “Now that must be the expectation.”

Since the loss to Creighton in Iowa City, Iowa, on March 18, Payne said she has not had time to review the game because staff have been so focused on recruiting. However, she has had a chance to reflect on what was the best season at CU since 2012-13.

“It was pretty amazing, and not because everything went smoothly, or because we came out of the gates on fire, and it was amazing,” Payne said. “We saw pretty much everything you should see in a college season. You see winning streaks, you see losing streaks; you see times where you play really well, you see times where you struggle. And how do you react to those good times? How do you react to adversity?

“I love that we reacted when things did not go well. We stayed together, we leaned into each other, we were able to stay united in what we were trying to achieve, and then achieve it. So I was very proud of all those things. “

CU is now saying goodbye to many of the players who helped Buffs get there. Three starters – Sila Finau, Mya Hollingshed and Peanut Tuitele – are graduating along with Aubrey Knight, who missed the year with an injury but provided leadership. Sophomore Kylee Blacksten and freshman Kennedy Taylor switch.

Payne and the staff will continue to celebrate the contributions of these players, but the list will have a completely different feel next year. Half of the list will be new next year, but Payne said the seven who return can help Buffs maintain the NCAA tournament goal.

“I think you get a taste of it and you have a new opportunity with new players,” Payne said.

Payne expects point guard Jaylyn Sherrod to starve as a senior, especially after a sensational fight against Creighton. She expects freshman point guard Kindyll Wetta to be motivated by a strong first season but a disappointing final. Center Charlotte Whittaker should be hungry after sitting out the season and recovering from hip surgery.

“All of that is fuel on fire, and if you had players who weren’t super inherently motivated, that probably wouldn’t be relevant,” Payne said. “But the three that I mentioned are extremely inherently motivated, so they will be ready to work and grow.”

The same goes for Frida Formann, Tayanna Jones, Quay Miller and Tameiya Sadler.

“I think everyone has a lot of room to build on what they’ve done so far in their careers, along with the incoming kids,” Payne said. “We’re going to have high expectations of them (newcomers), and some of them come with a set of skills that we do not really have and desperately need.”

CU has four new beginners ready to join the program in the summer, and staff can add as many as four transfers.

The Buffs get a jump on next season with an overseas trip in August that will give the group 10 extra workouts and a few games. (The location of the trip has not yet been determined).

Starting with off-season training, the emphasis will be on getting back to the NCAA Tournament.

“We just want to raise the bar and somehow put the screws on everyone like, ‘OK, here we’ll get better and let’s attack it,'” Payne said. “Everyone in our program came here to help us (get to the tournament), to help us build, work on our locker room and chemistry, all those things. Now we’re here. We know what it looks like. It level of expectation we must maintain. “

Leave a Comment