GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

Women’s basketball: Charlotte Whittaker leads CU Buffs past Jacksonville

Seven players score at least five points in victory

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

From the time Charlotte Whittaker arrived in Boulder in January, the Colorado women’s basketball coaching staff has been eager to see her blossom.

A freshman from Cust, New Zealand, Whittaker is starting to hit her stride.

On Sunday, Whittaker scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Buffaloes to a 66-44 rout of Jacksonville at the CU Events Center.

“The cool thing is you guys see Charlotte getting better each game,” head coach JR Payne said. “We’re seeing Charlotte get better every single day. She’s learning, she’s adapting, she’s adjusting. She’s already just an incredible teammate and person and all that, but the basketball is really starting to click from a comfort standpoint. So it’s pretty cool.

“We knew Charlotte was going to be a special player and we’re starting to see her do that.”

Led by Whittaker, the Buffs (5-0) overcame a turnover-filled start to pull away from the Dolphins (3-3) in the second half.

Whittaker, who redshirted last season, scored a total of 13 points in the Buffs’ first three games this season. In the past two, she has 26 points while hitting 10 of 12 shots. She added four rebounds in a season-high 22 minutes on Sunday.

“I hadn’t played a proper basketball game in a while because, of course, I came here and redshirted the first six months,” said Whittaker, a 6-foot-4 center. “Finally being able to play with this amazing team and coaching staff, it’s great that I get to be able to come on the floor now. The first couple of games, it’s just a completely different game, like American style and everything. I’m starting to settle down and trust in myself and this program and just relax on the court a bit more, which is nice.”

CU once again had great balance offensively, with seven players scoring at least five points.

This game, however, was won on defense as the Buffs took control by clamping down on the Dolphins in the second half.

“We just went from such a different game plan two days ago (against Colorado State) to today,” Payne said. “It took us a few minutes to adjust. When we finally did, we did a great job of helping each other, talking. I thought Char’s help-side defense was incredible tonight. (Overall defense) just got a lot better and we need to be able to defend night in, night out to be successful.”

Both teams combined for 53 turnovers, including 11 each in the first quarter. The Buffs actually trailed 10-1 early before closing the first quarter on a 16-2 run.

“I think that we came out a little flat at the beginning and I think that we needed energy,” said Aubrey Knight, who had seven points and eight rebounds. “And when coach J called that timeout (early in the first quarter), I think we kind of got a little bit of fire under us.”

Notable

Leading scorer Mya Hollingshed (15.3 points per game) missed her second consecutive game because of a violation of team rules. She is expected to play Tuesday against Indiana State. … Point guard Sila Finau had a career-high five steals, along with four assists and six points. … CU blocked 11 shots, its most in a game since having 16 against Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 30, 2016. … The Buffs’ bench outscored the Jacksonville reserves 31-3.

Fast break

What went right: Defense keyed the Buffs all night. They held the Dolphins to 27.6 percent shooting, forced 28 turnovers, blocked 11 shots and had 14 steals.

What went wrong: CU’s offense struggled throughout the night, hitting just 39.3 percent of its shots and racking up 25 turnovers.

Star of the game: Charlotte Whittaker. The freshman had her best game, with 15 points and four rebounds.

What’s next: The Buffs host Indiana State on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at CU Events Center.

Colorado 66, Jacksonville 44

JACKSONVILLE (3-3)

Marshall 2-10 3-4 7, Neely 0-2 1-2 1, Perry 2-11 2-2 7, Burns 6-10 2-3 14, Nevitt 5-14 0-0 12, Meeks 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 1-3 0-0 2, Shaw 0-1 0-2 0, Pierce 0-4 1-4 1, Rachel 0-3 0-0 0, Stallings 0-0 0-0 0, Batz 0-0 0-0 0, Stewart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-58 9-17 44.

COLORADO (5-0)

Caylao-Do 3-7 2-2 9, Clarke 3-9 0-0 8, Finau 3-8 0-0 6, Knight 2-6 3-6 7, Tuitele 2-4 0-0 5, Sherrod 1-5 6-8 8, Kulinska 0-1 0-2 0, Smith 2-2 0-0 4, Jank 1-6 1-4 3, Volcy 0-2 1-2 1, Whittaker 5-6 4-4 15. Totals 22-56 17-28 66.

Jacksonville     12        15        8          9          –           44

Colorado         17        17        18        14        –           66

3-point goals – Jacksonville 3-8 (Nevitt 2-2, Perry 1-3, Wilson 0-1, Marshall 0-1, Pierce 0-1), Colorado 5-24 (Clarke 2-7, Caylao-Do 1-4, Whittaker 1-2, Tuitele 1-1, Jank 0-3, Finau 0-3, Sherrod 0-2, Knight 0-2). Rebounds – Jacksonville 39 (Perry 9), Colorado 45 (Jank, Knight 8). Assists – Jacksonville 4 (4 players with 1), Colorado 12 (Sherrod, Finau 4). Steals – Jacksonville 11 (Nevitt 3), Colorado 14 (Finau 5). Turnovers – Jacksonville 28, Colorado 25. Total fouls – Jacksonville 25, Colorado 18. Fouled out – None. A – 1,401.