• Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    CU's Kennedy Leonard, middle, shoots around UCLA's Chantel Horvat, right, in the first quarter Sunday afternoon at the Coors Events Center. To view more photos visit buffzone.com.

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    CU's Annika Jank, left, and Sara Castro, right, try to grab a rebound from UCLA's Monique Billings in the second quarter Sunday afternoon at the Coors Events Center. To view more photos visit buffzone.com.



It’s rare that a coach can walk away from a 38-point loss and feel good about the game.

Not that Colorado women’s basketball coach JR Payne was pleased with Sunday’s result, but she found a silver lining in the 93-55 loss to No. 14 UCLA at Coors Events Center.

“I feel a whole lot better about this game than the last time we played (against Southern California on Friday), and not because of the outcome,” she said. “I feel a lot better about the way we played.

“I’m really proud of the effort that our team gave tonight; I’m proud of the way we stuck together tonight.”

Despite a better effort, the loss to the Bruins (13-4, 4-2 Pac-12) put a cap on a dismal weekend for the Buffaloes (11-6, 2-4), who were thumped by USC on Friday, 86-51.

This is the first time in the 44-year history of the program that the Buffs have been dealt back-to-back 35-point losses.

Facing a UCLA team that is arguably the most talented in the Pac-12, the Buffs were blown away early, getting behind 16-0 in the first 5 minutes, 32 seconds.

“Honestly, I thought it would have done more bad to us,” said junior Kennedy Leonard, who had a team-high 12 points for CU. “We fought with them like it wasn’t 16-0. Had we not started out 16-0, I think the game would have been different. It spoke volumes for us that we didn’t just say, ‘Screw the game;’ we actually fought and kept the energy up and kept pushing.”

Unfortunately, the effort didn’t translate into making this one a contest.

UCLA had six players score in double figures and brilliant point guard Jordin Canada had 11 assists and just one turnover in running the offense. The Bruins led by as many as 41 points.

Leonard bounced back from a career-low two points against USC, but even she found life tough against the talented Bruins, who didn’t give her much of a chance to get going offensively.

Throughout the night, the Buffs missed open layups, shots near the hoop and even quality jumpers.

“I think the fact that we were getting great shots against UCLA is a positive,” Payne said. “We were getting to the basket, Janea (Bunn) had good looks inside, we had some at the rim, we had some open. That’s a positive and we can use that moving forward.”

The plus is that Payne actually found some positives, where she didn’t against USC. That gives her confidence that her team will bounce back.

“If we had played today the way that we played on Friday, that requires a whole other conversation and film session,” she said. “We’re going to be able to pull a lot of highlights from this game. There’s some good things we can take from this game tonight. We had some young kids come in and play fearlessly. We rebounded. We need to build on this.”


Freshman guard Peyton Carter had a highly productive nine minutes at the end of the game, racking up six points, four assists and a steal. … Former CU head coach Linda Lappe attended the game. It was her first time seeing the Buffs since she was their head coach two seasons ago.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.