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CU women’s basketball ready for test at CSU

Mya Hollingshed leading Colorado with 15.3 points per game

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed, middle, is leading the Buffs with 15.3 points per game this season.

Now in her third season with the Colorado women’s basketball team, Mya Hollingshed is taking a simple approach to the game.

“I’m just doing the things that I work on every year,” she said. “I come to practice every day, just working on my shots and I’m just getting to those spots in the game. So we’re being able to work on them in practice and then being able to execute those in the game is second nature.”

It’s worked out well for the 6-foot-4 junior guard/forward. She has posted a team-high 15.3 points per game and will lead the Buffaloes (3-0) into Friday’s matchup at Colorado State (3-2).

While Hollingshed is off to a great start, that’s not what excites her most about this season. It’s the fact she knows she doesn’t have to score that many points for the Buffs to win.

“I like that,” she said. “I think this year we have a lot more depth and we have more scorers on the team. Last year, we relied on two people, but this year we have everybody on the bench that can come in and contribute, so I think that’s the best part about this team. We have a lot of depth and it’s going to be an exciting season this year.”

Senior Quinessa Caylao-Do (12.7 points per game), sophomore Emma Clarke (10.0) and freshman Jaylyn Sherrod (9.7) are all off to good starts and several other players have shown the ability to score big buckets when needed, as well.

It’s still very early in the season, but the Buffs’ depth has allowed them to navigate through three different types of games so far. The Buffs worked out the kinks against overmatched NJIT in the opener, got a strong collective effort in a Game 2 win against Wisconsin and then kept their composure down the stretch of a win at Wyoming on Sunday.

“We blew a little bit of a lead at Wyoming in the fourth quarter, but … that game provided so much more learning opportunity than if we had just kind of run away with it at the end,” head coach JR Payne said. “We had a lot of things that we learned from that game and the film session was fantastic. There was a lot to learn, so we definitely got better from that.”

The Buffs’ roster includes five freshmen, so there figures to be quite a few lessons learned throughout this season. Hollingshed likes how the team has applied those lessons so far.

“I think we’ve gotten better every game of fixing the little things and just being meticulous about what we’re doing and really putting a lot of emphasis on our defense and executing our offense,” Hollingshed said. “I think this team is really learning and growing faster than we would think right now. I think that’s overall a good thing and I think people are willing to learn and they’re ready to keep going.”

On Friday, the Buffs will get a different type of test. While CSU is a heavy 3-point shooting team like NJIT and Wyoming, the Rams have a brand new roster and it won’t be easy playing at Moby Arena.

“We’re really excited for another opportunity in a really tough environment,” Payne said. “I’ve only played up there one time since being at Colorado and at that time, I was really surprised by the environment. I did not expect it to be so bold and just so intense.

“When you’re new to that, like our five freshmen, it’s important that they’re prepared for that because people feel very strongly about it.”

CU women’s basketball preview: Colorado State

MATCHUP: Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) at Colorado State Rams (3-2)

GAME TIME: Friday, 5 p.m., at Moby Arena in Fort Collins

BROADCAST: Online – csurams.com/watch. Radio – 630 AM

COACHES: Colorado – JR Payne, 4th season (47-50; 148-163 career). CSU – Ryun Williams, 8th season (147-82; 405-235 career)

LEADERS: Colorado  – Scoring: F Mya Hollingshed, Jr., 15.3 ppg; Rebounding: G Emma Clarke, So., 6.7 rpg; Assists – G Jaylyn Sherrod, Fr., 5.7 apg. CSU – Scoring: C Liah Davis, Jr., 9.8 ppg; Rebounding: F Makenzie Ellis, Sr., 8.4 rpg; Assists: G Tori Williams, So., 3.8 apg.

NOTABLE: CU defeated Wyoming, 66-56, on Sunday in Laramie to remain undefeated. Hollingshed scored 17 points and Clarke (10 points, 10 rebounds) recorded her first career double-double. … CSU has lost two in a row, including 80-75 in overtime against Northern Illinois on Sunday in Fort Collins. … CU leads the all-time series with the Rams, 38-12, going 13-10 in Fort Collins. The Buffs have won the last three and eight of the last nine. … CU senior Quinessa Caylao-Do (585 points) and Hollingshed (567) are both nearing the 600-point mark for their careers, while junior Annika Jank (471) is approaching 500 points. … Liah Davis is CSU’s top scorer, despite coming off the bench. The Rams have seven players averaging between 7.6 and 9.8 points per game. … None of CSU’s projected starters played last season for the Rams. Guards Tori Williams (Utah), Megan Jacobs (Utah) and Jamie Bonnarens (Cameron) all sat out last year after transferring from other schools, while forward Andrea Brady missed the season with an injury. Forward Makenzie Ellis is a graduate transfer from SMU. … Ellis, in her first season at CSU, played her freshman and sophomore years at CU, suiting up for all 63 games, with 42 starts, in those seasons. As a sophomore in 2016-17, she started all 33 games for the Buffs, averaging 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. … Williams was on the Pac-12 all-freshman team in 2017-18, averaging 9.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists for Utah.