On a Tuesday afternoon when heavy snow kept fans away and the Thanksgiving break left the band section empty, energy was not easily produced for a college basketball game.
Throw in the fact that the Colorado women’s team was playing its third game in five days and the performance was predictably less than stellar.
Despite all of that, the Buffaloes fought their way to a 59-46 victory against Indiana State at CU Events Center to remain undefeated.
“I’m excited that we’re 6-0,” head coach JR Payne said. “I just told the team I’m kind of bummed . We didn’t play a great game today and as a coach I always just want us to be at our very best.
“I know we’re better than this. So even in a win, I feel like we can do more. We have a lot of basketball to play and I know that we’re going to continue to improve as the season goes on, but three games in five days would be tough for even the most veteran basketball team and we’re definitely young. So I’m excited about how we sort of persevered through that.”
The Buffs persevered because they dominated in rebounding (47-32), played well on defense and got enough production on offense to win their first-ever matchup with the Sycamores (2-3).
Emma Clarke had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the Buffs, who had three players score in double figures.
“We had nine of our 13 (players) get a rebound, so I think going into (future games), it’s good to know that we’re competing for the glass and that means energy and that means that we’re actually willing to put our bodies on the line and get the rebounds and get the second chance points,” said Clarke, who had five offensive boards.
Officially, 1,069 fans braved the elements to attend the game, but few were in the stands during warm-ups. Without the band playing to create an atmosphere, the Buffs were on their own.
“We just had to bring our own energy,” Clarke said. “In our warm ups, I thought at the start it was a little slow because we were relying on the crowd and the band that usually bring all the excitement and all the happiness before the game. We just had to bring that ourselves. We came together as a team and we’re like, ‘We need to turn it up.’”
In the third quarter, they finally did. Freshman Jaylyn Sherrod scored four points in a row to spark a 16-0 CU run that opened up a 20-point lead.
“I think we just really settled in,” said Sherrod, who had 10 points and four assists. “We knew that they were tired; coming out of the first quarter even they were tired. We just pushed the ball, got open shots, got it to our shooters and kept driving it down their throats pretty much and just hoping that it would pay off, which it did.
“It was nice to not be in a situation where there’s pressure (in the fourth quarter), but we still wanted to executed our stuff and I don’t think we did a great job at it. But we’re working on it. We had the space to make mistakes, but those mistakes shouldn’t have been made.”
Payne came away pleased to see her team handle a tough five-game stretch, though, and keep their perfect record intact.
“I’m actually really proud of our ability to do that,” Payne said. “It wasn’t pretty, but I think that our ability to sort of persevere and get through is good for our future.”
What went right: Defense and rebounding carried the Buffs once again, as they had a 47-32 advantage on the glass and held Indiana State to 34 percent shooting.
What went wrong: It was another lackluster performance on offense. CU had 20 turnovers and hit just 37.5 percent of its shots.
Star of the game: Emma Clarke. The sophomore finished with a game-high 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
What’s next: The Buffs host Texas Southern on Dec. 3 at CU Events Center.
Colorado 59, Indiana State 46
INDIANA STATE (2-3)
Westerfeld 1-7 0-3 2, McChristine 4-6 1-2 9, Hunter 1-9 1-2 3, Echi 2-5 3-4 7, Elder 3-6 0-0 9, Folks 1-2 2-2 4, Dean 1-5 0-0 2, Anderson 0-2 0-0 0, Mayo 4-8 2-3 10, Robben 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-50 9-16 46.
Tuitele 2-4 0-2 4, Whittaker 5-11 1-2 11, Caylao-Do 0-7 0-0 0, Clarke 5-11 1-2 14, Finau 1-3 2-2 4, Sherrod 4-8 2-2 10, Hollingshed 4-13 0-0 9, Knight 2-5 0-0 4, Jank 0-0 1-2 1, Kulinska 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Volcy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-64 7-12 59.
Indiana State 16 11 4 15 – 46
Colorado 17 15 18 9 – 59
3-point goals – Indiana State 3-12 (Elder 3-4, Hunter 0-3, Mayo 0-2, Echi 0-1, Dean 0-1, Anderson 0-1), Colorado 4-15 (Clarke 3-6, Hollingshed 1-3, Whittaker 0-2, Caylao-Do 0-1, Finau 0-1, Sherrod 0-1, Kulinska 0-1). Rebounds – Indiana State 32 (Echi 11), Colorado 47 (Clarke 9). Assists – Indiana State 7 (Echi 4), Colorado 12 (Finau 4). Steals – Indiana State 8 (Mayo 4), Colorado 12 (Sherrod 3). Turnovers – Indiana State 24, Colorado 20. Total fouls – Indiana State 13, Colorado 13. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – Echi, Tuitele. A – 1,069.