What went right: The Buffs outrebounded San Jose State 46-37 and converted 15 Spartans turnovers into 19 points.
What went wrong: CU struggled from long range, going 7-for-35 on 3-pointers.
Star of the game: Mya Hollingshed. The sophomore forward posted her first career double-double, going 8-for-11 while setting a pair of career-highs with 24 points and 11 rebounds
What’s next: The Buffs continue a run of seven consecutive home games against Navy on Sunday (1 p.m.).
Between the glaring size advantage enjoyed by Colorado and the nuances of the zone defense employed by San Jose State, Mya Hollingshed found plenty of open space in the paint Thursday night.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore from the Colorado women’s basketball team was more than happy to take advantage of it.
Hollingshed made it look rather easy while establishing new career-highs for points and rebounds, while the Buffaloes fended off every San Jose State charge before finally pulling away from the pesky Spartans in the fourth quarter for a 76-64 win at the CU Events Center.
Despite Hollingshed’s big night and a 46-37 CU rebounding advantage, a tough showing from 3-point range by the Buffs (7-for-35) helped keep the Spartans within striking distance for much of the contest.
“We need to be able to penetrate the paint, and when our threes aren’t falling we need to be able to do something else besides just continue to shoot the three,” CU coach JR Payne said. “I think when we turn on the film we’ll see that there was a lot of opportunities to penetrate the paint, and not just from the top. We need to take those opportunities in the half-court offense.”
Hollingshed scored 24 points and added 11 rebounds to post the first double-double of her career. At times the sophomore was practically uncontested inside, collecting an array of entry passes for point-blank looks that resulted in a 10-for-12 mark from the floor.
Hollinshed improved her season field goal percentage to an impressive .559 (38-for-68). Hollingshed also is now averaging 6.5 rebounds after averaging 3.9 last year as a freshman.
“I just continue to do what I do best,” Hollingshed said. “Coach kept telling me to find the open spaces in the zone. I just kept moving and Kennedy (Leonard) was able to find me. I just play to play and I don’t really worry about the numbers.”
CU (7-1) never trailed after putting together a 12-0 run in the first half, but San Jose didn’t go away quietly. After CU built a 12-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Spartans were able to trim the Buffs’ lead to 35-32 at halftime. When CU scored the first seven points of the third quarter, San Jose answered with seven straight points of its own. The Spartans remained within 10 points after the fourth and final 3-pointer by Cydni Lewis early in the fourth quarter, but a 10-2 run by CU finally gave the Buffs breathing room.
Leonard compiled another solid all-around game, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
“We would open it up a little bit, and they would hit a three,” Payne said. “It was hard to break it open when we kept giving up threes. Again, that’s learning. If that is their biggest strength from the perimeter, we’ve got to make sure that we understand we’re not going to be able to open up a game if we keep giving up threes.”
In the first half, Leonard became the 12th CU player to reach the 1,500-point mark. She finished the game with 1,513 career points and passed Erin Carlson for 11th-place on the Buffs’ all-time scoring list. Next in line is Tracy Tripp (1,574)…Leonard also inched closer to Bridget Turner’s career record of 612 assists. Leonard’s seven assists moved her career total to 592…The Buffs committed a season-low eight turnovers while recording a season-best 20 assists…Freshman forward Peanut Tuitele went 8-for-11 with 17 points and is shooting .606 (20-for-33) over the past three games.
Colorado 76, San Jose State 64
At CU Events Center
SAN JOSE STATE
Lewis 6-10 2-2 18, Potter 4-8 1-2 12, Hafoka 3-8 0-0 6, Marquez 3-10 1-1 8, Anderson 3-4 0-0 8, Leon 0-2 0-0 0, Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Kohlhaas 1-6 0-0 3, Benally 3-12 0-0 9, Clark 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-63 4-5 64.
Caylao-Do 2-10 0-4 5, Robinson 2-11 0-0 6, Leonard 6-12 4-4 19, Hollingshed 10-12 4-4 24, Tuitele 8-11 0-0 17, Swarz 0-1 0-0 0, Clarke 1-4 0-0 2, Finau 0-4 0-0 0, Diop 0-1 0-0 0, Jank 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 30-70 9-14 76.
Score by quarters:
San Jose State (1-6) 16 16 13 19 — 64
3-point field goals — San Jose State 14-37 (Lewis 4-5, Potter 3-4, Hafoka 0-3, Marquez 1-6, Anderson 2-3, Leon 0-1, Kohlhaas 1-3, Benally 3-11, Clark 0-1); Colorado 7-35 (Leonard 3-9, Robinson 2-10, Tuitele 1-1, Caylao-Do 1-7, Hollingshed 0-2, Swartz 0-1, Clarke 0-2, Finau 0-3). Total fouls — San Jose State 11, Colorado 9. Assists — San Jose State 14 (Marquez 6); Colorado 20 (Leonard 7). Rebounds — San Jose State 37 (Marquez 8); Colorado 46 (Hollingshed 11). A — 1,238.