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CU Buffs women try to regain winning edge

Colorado visits Washington State on Friday

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Returning to the practice court this week, the Colorado women’s basketball team tried not to focus on the results of last weekend.

Instead, the Buffaloes turned their attention to sharpening their game.

“We really are kind of refocusing on our jobs,” head coach JR Payne said. “We all have a job to do. If we all can max out to our best ability, then we’re capable of doing great things. But if I’m not doing my job, and you’re sort of doing your job and you’re sometimes doing yours, then you get a very inconsistent ballclub, which is, I think, what we were last weekend.”

Last weekend included a 27-point loss to Oregon State and a 48-point loss to Oregon.

On Friday, the Buffs (14-7, 3-7 Pac-12) aim to get back on track at Washington State (10-12, 3-7). They play at Washington (10-11, 2-8) on Sunday.

“I think that we are a better team than we portrayed last weekend,” sophomore Aubrey Knight said. “I think everyone kind of knows that. And I think the biggest thing is not trying to dwell on it, but trying to almost move on from it, like, ‘Okay, that happened and we can’t do that ever again.’

“We need to focus on this weekend because we have a big weekend ahead of us. We have two really good opportunities and we can’t be thinking about those losses that we had last weekend, because that’s not productive.”

After going through a gauntlet of top-10 teams in recent weeks, the Buffs are beginning a three-game stretch against foes sitting at or near the bottom of the Pac-12: Washington State, Washington and California (9-12, 1-9).

The opportunity to pick up some victories is in front of the Buffs, but only if they get back to their fundamentals.

“It’s a matter of doing our jobs,” Knight said. “Every team is going to be good in this conference, and there’s going to be scouting reports and things, but at the end of the day, you just have to go back to what you can do and do your job.

“We’re not going to have a perfect game, but it’s a matter of doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Individually, the Buffs are also hoping to get some players back on track, including senior guard Quinessa Caylao-Do. Although playing solid defense, as usual, Caylao-Do has scored a total of two points, while going 0-for-14 from the floor, in the past four games. Overall, she’s missed her last 18 shots from the floor.

BOULDER, CO - Colorado's Quinessa Caylao-Do ...
Colorado’s Quinessa Caylao-Do, seen here against UCLA in January, will be looking to get on track offensively as the Buffs head to the Washington schools this weekend.

“Q’s always been our best defensive player,” Payne said. “A lot of her focus over the years has been there. The last couple years, we’ve asked her to really look to score and be aggressive. It’s not that she’s not looking to score (lately), but when you’re the only senior on a team, I think you draw a lot of attention.

“I have no doubt that she’s going to have a great weekend this weekend. She always plays well at the Washingtons. It’ll be a really fun homecoming for her in front of a lot of friends and family, but we absolutely believe in Q, 100 percent.”

Caylao-Do, from Tacoma, Wash., averaged 15.5 points in the Buffs’ two-game trip to her home state last year.

CU women’s basketball preview: Washington State

MATCHUP: Colorado Buffaloes (14-7, 3-7 Pac-12) at Washington State Cougars (10-12, 3-7 Pac-12)

GAME TIME: Friday, 8 p.m. MT, at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash.

BROADCAST: TV – Pac-12 Networks. Radio – 630 AM

COACHES: Colorado – JR Payne, 4th season (58-57; 159-170 career). Washington State – Kamie Ethridge, 2nd season (19-33; 102-77 career).

LEADERS: Colorado  – Scoring: F Mya Hollingshed, Jr., 13.4 ppg; Rebounding: Hollingshed, 6.7 rpg; Assists – G Jaylyn Sherrod, Fr., 5.3 apg. WSU – Scoring: F Borislava Hristova, Sr., 18.8 ppg; Rebounds: G Chanelle Molina, Sr., 6.4 rpg; Assists: Molina, 4.3 apg.

NOTABLE: CU is aiming to snap a two-game losing streak, falling against No. 9 Oregon State and No. 3 Oregon last weekend. … The Buffs are 14-1 against unranked opponents this season. … CU is 6-3 on the road this season. … The Buffs are 7-10 all-time against Washington State, including 1-7 in Pullman. CU has won two of its last three against the Cougars, but has lost six in a row at Beasley Coliseum. … Going into the weekend, the Buffs and Cougars are two of four teams tied for seventh place in the Pac-12. … Washington State lost to No. 6 Stanford, 71-49, in its last game, on Sunday. … Hristova has averaged 17.2 points in six career games against the Buffs. … Hristova is 18th in Pac-12 history with 2,113 points and needs 30 points to move up to 16th. … Prior to taking over at WSU in 2018, Ethridge coached at Northern Colorado for four seasons, going 83-44.