Four members of Colorado’s women’s basketball team extended their 2016-17 season one more weekend by competing at the USA Basketball 3×3 National Tournament last weekend at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Senior Haley Smith, sophomores Makenzie Ellis and Kennedy Leonard, and freshman Quinessa Caylao-Do made up CU’s team for the tournament.
Six Pac-12 schools competed against other organized teams as the conference piloted a program to expand 3-on-3 basketball at the national level to hopefully compete on a world stage in future years.
The tournament was a sentimental experience for Smith, who got one final chance to compete with her college teammates.
“Competing at the 3-on-3 national championships was an awesome experience for me because it gave me a chance to play organized basketball one last time against some amazing opponents,” Smith said. “And not only that, but I was able to get on the court one last time with my teammates, which made it that much more special. A huge part of my college experience was playing basketball with those [women], and I’m so happy I got to extend that experience just a little bit longer.”
The four Buffs finished 3-2 in the tournament, reaching the semifinals, before bowing out to the tournament champions in a two-point loss.
All four players made sure to enjoy their time at the tournament, regardless of the outcomes of games.
“There were a couple of times where we would miss shots or dribble out of bounds and we just laughed at each other, while there were other teams that we would see would get mad at their teammates,” Leonard said. “One time when Haley dribbled out of bounds, we were like, ‘oh Hales, come on, you can’t do that,’ and we were laughing and joking about it. We didn’t not take it too serious, but we also didn’t put a ton of pressure on ourselves. We just wanted to have fun and play. We didn’t [have] a ton of practices before; we just went in and basketball was basketball. It was fun to just play with nothing on the line.”