CU women’s basketball roster
Projected list of scholarship players for the Colorado women’s basketball team next season:
C – Zoe Correal, 6-foot-4
G – Brecca Thomas, 5-5
C – Janea Bunn, 6-3*
C – Jaimie Curtis, 6-7*
G – Ariana Freeman, 5-9
G – Kennedy Leonard, 5-8
G – Alexis Robinson, 5-10
G – Quinessa Caylao-Do, 5-8
G/F – Mathilde Diop, 6-2*
G/F – Mya Hollingshed, 6-4
F – Annika Jank, 6-3
G – Aubrey Knight, 6-1
* Junior college transfer
After losing four players to graduation and three more as transfers, Colorado women’s basketball coach JR Payne has had to do some quick work to build up the Buffaloes’ roster.
On Friday, the Buffs announced that Janea Bunn, a 6-foot-3 post player from Midland (Texas) College is transferring to CU and has signed a national letter of intent. She is the third junior college transfer to sign with the Buffs in the past 10 days.
Last season at Midland, which was ranked in the top 25 of the National Junior College Athletic Association, Bunn averaged 11.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks and received NJCAA Division I All-American honorable mention.
Bunn will be immediately eligible and has two seasons to play.
“Janea is a strong and physical player who will be a great asset to our post corps next season,” Payne said in a press release from CU. “She is a fun, loving personality and will be someone that Buff fans will love to watch and cheer for throughout the next two seasons.”
Bunn, who went to Central High School in Springfield, Mass., played her freshman year at Nebraska Community College. At NCC in 2014-15, she averaged 11.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.0 blocks. She sat out the 2015-16 season after transferring to Midland.
Earlier this week, Payne announced that forwards Monica Burich, Makenzie Ellis and Eleanor Jones have all decided to leave the program and pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Combined with the graduation losses of Zoe Beard-Fails, Haley Smith and Bri Watts, the Buffs have lost six of the seven players they regularly used in the frontcourt last season. Only starting center Zoe Correal — who averaged 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game — returns from that group.
In all, the Buffs have lost seven of the 13 players from last year’s roster, leading Payne and her staff to go the JUCO route to fill the roster. It’s a route they won’t normally take, Payne said, but it became necessary this offseason.
“It’s just filling needs,” she said. “We had some needs from a depth standpoint inside. We need somebody to come in and gain some experience next year.”
In addition to Bunn, the Buffs signed 6-foot-7 center Jaimie Curtis from Sierra (Calif.) College on April 12, and 6-2 guard/forward Mathilde Diop from Arizona Western College on Monday.
Payne, who led the Buffs to a 17-16 record in her first season, said all three newcomers fit what the Buffs need at this time.
“Philosophically, we need to fill our roster every year with players that make us better from a basketball standpoint, from an academic standpoint from a social standpoint,” she said. “At this juncture, we need experience, we need length, we need size.”
In addition to the JUCO transfers, true freshmen Mya Hollingshed (a 6-4 wing), Annika Jank (6-3 forward) and Aubrey Knight (6-1 guard) will join the Buffs this summer as scholarship players. Monarch High School point guard Peyton Carter is expected to join the team as a walk-on.
CU has 12 players on scholarship for next season, three below the NCAA maximum. As is the case with a lot of teams, the Buffs are not expecting to use all 15 scholarship spots.
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.