What went right: CU came out with great energy and kept the foot on the gas throughout the night to roll to an easy win.
What went wrong: In the third quarter, the Buffs’ offense went cold for a bit, and the defense relaxed a bit late, but other than that, it was a fairly complete effort.
Star of the game: Sara Castro. The freshman came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points, while also racking up four steals and six rebounds. She went 4-for-4 from 3-point range and 6-for-10 overall from the floor.
What’s next: CU will host Arizona State on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Pac-12 opener.
Just a moment after the ball slipped through the net for a 3-pointer in the opening minutes Thursday, Colorado’s Sara Castro turned, smiled and pointed to the stands.
In the grand scheme of things, those three points weren’t major in Colorado’s 106-47 rout of Division III Westminster (Mo.) College, but they were monumental for Castro.
A freshman from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Castro was playing in front of her family for the first — and only — time this season.
“They are finally here and I’m really excited to have fun with them and then come back stronger and with more effort (after the holiday break),” Castro said after the best game of her young career.
A reserve who doesn’t get to play a lot, Castro exploded for a team-high 18 points to help the Buffs (9-2) rout the Blue Jays (5-5). She had scored 14 points all season coming in.
“I was extra motivated,” said Castro, who added six rebounds and four steals. “I was motivated to play this game, but when I saw them in the crowd, I was like, ‘Ok, I have to do 100 percent better than I usually try to do.'”
Fellow freshman Mya Hollingshed, who finished with a season-best 17 points and eight rebounds, said the whole team was excited to see Castro shine in front of her family.
“We’ve been hyping that up for the past three weeks,” Hollingshed said. “It was a good moment for her, so we got to celebrate that with her.”
For the team, it was a nice way to finish off the non-conference slate and take some good vibes into a five-day holiday break.
CU wasted little time putting the game away, racing to an 18-0 lead in the first five minutes and closing the first quarter with a 34-6 advantage.
By halftime, the lead was 49 – matching the largest halftime lead in program history – and in the second half, the Buffs led by as many as 64 points.
In addition to Castro and Hollingshed, Janea Bunn had 17 points and nine rebounds, Alexis Robinson added 11 points and Brecca Thomas had 10. All 11 Buffs who played scored.
“I think we saw a lot of really great things,” head coach JR Payne said. “As coaches, you always see the things you could have done better or wish you had done better, but a fantastic effort tonight.”
It was an easy and fun night that was welcomed by Hollinsghed after a long first semester of college.
“It was a great way to finish,” said Hollingshed, who is from Houston. “Just coming here for school, starting in the summer and going all season long from the beginning was a grind. The way that we ended tonight was just a great way to seal everything off this semester, go home for the holidays, enjoy our families and then come back for conference.”
CU played without guard Quinessa Caylao-Do (hand) and center Zoe Correal (knee), who were nursing injuries. Payne is hopeful the Buffs will be at full strength for the Pac-12 opener on Dec. 29. … Junior point guard Kennedy Leonard played just 14 points because the game was in hand, but made the most of those minutes, with nine points and six assists.
Colorado 106, Westminster (Mo.) 47
At Coors Events Center
Archambault 4-8 0-2 8, Callahan 1-10 2-2 5, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Ray 1-2 0-0 3, Adams 3-17 2-2 9, Howard 0-2 2-2 2, Hale 0-0 1-2 1, Jackson 0-3 0-0 0, Beeler 7-13 3-5 19, Ingle 0-1 0-0 0, Sutterfield 0-0 0-0 0, Marek 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-57 10-15 47..
Bunn 8-13 1-2 17, Jank 1-7 0-0 2, Robinson 4-7 0-0 11, Leonard 4-8 1-1 9, Knight 1-2 0-0 2, Carter 2-8 0-0 5, Thomas 5-10 0-0 10, Hollingshed 6-12 3-3 17, Diop 3-6 0-0 7, Castro 6-10 2-2 18, Curtis 2-5 4-4 8. Totals 42-88 11-12 106..
Score by quarters:
3-point field goals — Westminster 5-27 (Beeler 2-6, Adams 1-8, Callahan 1-7, Ray 1-2, Archambault 0-1, Howard 0-1, Jackson 0-1, Ingle 0-1), Colorado 11-29 (Castro 4-4, Robinson 3-5, Hollingshed 2-5, Carter 1-6, Diop 1-2, Thomas 0-3, Leonard 0-3, Jank 0-1). Rebounds — Westminster 35 (Adams 7), Colorado 56 (Bunn 9). Assists – Westminster 9 (Ray 3), Colorado 23 (Leonard 6). Steals — Westminster 6 (Adams 3), Colorado 18 (Castro 4). Turnovers — Westminster 28, Colorado 11. Total fouls — Westminster 13, Colorado 19. Fouled out — None. Attendance — 1,383.