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CU Buffs women move closer to postseason bid

Colorado knocks off Cal to end four-game losing streak

  • Colorado's Emma Clarke drives into the Cal defense during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Charlotte Whittaker looks for room on Cal's CJ West during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Peanut Tuitele battles with Cal's Alaysia Styles during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Mya Hollingshed look for a shot on Cal's Alaysia Styles during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Aubrey Knight looks to drive on Cal's Leilani McIntosh and Jaelyn Brown during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Aubrey Knight looks to drive on Cal's Leilani McIntosh during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Jaylyn Sherrod, middle, shoots past Cal's Cailyn Crocker during their Pac-12 game Friday at CU Events Center.

  • Colorado's Emma Clarke drives past Cal's Jaelyn Brown during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Jaylyn Sherrod collides with Cal's Jaelyn Brown during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Aubrey Knight drives to the basket against Cal during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Emma Clarke gets past Cal's Chen Yue during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Peanut Tuitele battles with Cal's Alaysia Styles during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Aubrey Knight runs into Cal's Lutje Schipholt during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 14, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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For the first time in three years, the Colorado women’s basketball team is in position to go to the postseason.

On Friday night at CU Events Center, the Buffaloes knocked off visiting California, 64-57, to get their 15th win of the season and snap a four-game losing streak.

With the victory, CU (15-9, 4-9 Pac-12) has assured itself of coming out of next month’s Pac-12 Tournament with at least a .500 record. That would put the Buffs in contention for a trip to the Women’s NIT for the first time since 2017.

“It’s huge,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “I told the team we’re back in the race for that. We stumbled last weekend on some games that we felt like we should have been more competitive and come out on top, but we didn’t, so we’re in a position where we have to play catch-up and this is a great victory. It’s a great place to start and we’re back in the hunt for postseason.”

Facing the last-place Golden Bears (9-15, 1-12), CU overcame a slow start and held on in the final minutes to get their first win since at Cal on Jan. 26. The Buffs have swept a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since going 2-0 against Washington in 2017-18.

Aubrey Knight had 12 points to lead the Buffs, who had four players score in double figures. Emma Clarke added 11 points and seven rebounds and Mya Hollingshed (10 points, 12 rebounds) recorded the eighth double-double of her career.

Point guard Jaylyn Sherrod added 11 points and eight assists. She had nine of her points in the fourth quarter.

Sherrod hit back-to-back buckets early in the fourth to give CU its biggest lead of the night, 48-37.

Cal chipped away at the deficit, though, and pulled within 59-54 after a steal and layup by Cailyn Crocker with 46 seconds to play.

Sherrod went 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 40 seconds to secure the win.

Both teams were cold from beyond the arc, combining for 1-for-24 shooting. The Buffs went 0-for-10, snapping a streak of 91 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer.

While that streak ended, it was a boost for the Buffs’ 3-point defense, which has been among the worst in the country. CU opponents were 38-of-85 (44.7 percent) during the Buffs’ four-game losing streak.

It took more than four minutes for the Buffs to score their first points, but they never trailed by more than two. They closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 14-6 lead.

CU led 27-23 at the half and never trailed after intermission.

“We’re really happy to come out with a win,” Payne said. “I thought we showed a lot of resiliency when we started off flat, which a team never wants to do. I thought we did a great job of staying together and playing together. Even though shots weren’t falling the way we would have wanted, I thought we rebounded well, we defended really well at times.”

Notable

CU improved to 9-12 all-time against Cal, including 5-5 in Boulder. … The last time CU failed to hit a 3-pointer was on Feb. 17, 2017, when it went 0-for-14 against Oregon State.

Fast break

What went right: Defense and rebounding were solid all night for the Buffs, who held the Bears to 31.5 percent shooting (17-of-54) and out-rebounded them 38-29.

What went wrong: The Buffs had 19 turnovers, which Cal turned into 14 points.

Star of the game: Mya Hollingshed. The junior had the eighth double-double of her career, with 10 points and 12 rebounds, matching her career high.

What’s next: CU will host No. 8 Stanford on Sunday at Noon at CU Events Center.

Colorado 64, California 57

CALIFORNIA (9-15, 1-12 Pac-12)

McIntosh 0-2 3-4 3, Styles 3-8 2-2 8, Anastasieska 2-6 0-0 5, West 5-6 1-3 11, Brown 4-18 5-5 13, Crocker 1-5 0-0 2, Yue 0-1 1-2 1, Green 0-4 7-8 7, Lutje Schipholt 2-4 3-3 7. Totals 17-54 22-27 57.

COLORADO (15-9, 4-9 Pac-12)

Caylao-Do 2-3 0-0 4, Sherrod 2-6 7-8 11, Clarke 4-18 3-3 11, Hollingshed 4-8 2-2 10, Tuitele 3-4 3-4 9, Finau 1-1 2-2 4, Kulinska 0-0 0-0 0, Knight 5-9 2-3 12, Jank 1-2 0-0 2, Volcy 0-0 0-0 0, Whittaker 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 22-51 20-24 64.

 

California                    6          17        12        22        –           57

Colorado                     14        13        15        22        –           64

 

3-point goals – California 1-14 (Anastasieska 1-2, Brown 0-5, Green 0-4, Styles 0-2, Crocker 0-1), Colorado 0-10 (Clarke 0-7, Hollingshed 0-1, Tuitele 0-1, Knight 0-1). Rebounds – California 29 (McIntosh, Styles 5), Colorado 38 (Hollingshed 12). Assists – California 10 (McIntosh 3), Colorado 13 (Sherrod 8). Steals – California 12 (McIntosh, Styles, Brown 3), Colorado 9 (Sherrod 4). Turnovers – California 15, Colorado 19. Total fouls – California 24, Colorado 24. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – Green (Cal), Hollingshed (CU). Attendance – 1,602.