CU women’s basketball falls to Washington State

Buffs struggle on defense as Cougars shoot 54.1 percent from field

Colorado’s Jaylyn Sherrod puts up a shot on Sunday against Washington State at the CU Events Center.

The University of Colorado women’s basketball team has been tough to beat at the CU Events Center this season, but home court advantage couldn’t save the Buffs from a surprising Washington State team on Sunday.

After posting a 4-1 home record in games prior to this latest one, with their only home loss coming against No. 6 Arizona, the Buffs fell 76-63 to the Cougars, who were picked by both the media and the coaches to finish 12th in the Pac-12. Even though Washington State is clearly proving a lot of people wrong this winter, it still would have been a winnable game for the Buffs if they hadn’t shot 20 percent in the first quarter and fell too far behind to come back.

“Washington State is a good team and I think for me, starting out, I think we were playing a little frantic,” Buffs sophomore Jaylyn Sherrod said. “So I kind of wanted to settle us down, sort of listen to the flow of the game. But I think honestly we just came out flat today, and we normally don’t do that.”

The Cougars shot 54.1 percent from the field, which was the highest average the Buffs have allowed this season. Colorado shot 28.3 percent in the first three quarters, trailed 33-22 at halftime, and that 11-point lead largely held up throughout the second half.

Each time at the free-throw line, the Buffs cut the lead to single digits three times in the final four minutes of the game. But they couldn’t get the corresponding stops against Washington’s frontcourt duo of Krystal Leger-Walker and Charlisse Leger-Walker, who combined for 41 points, in order to nullify the Cougars’ lead like they did on Friday, scoring the final nine points of the game to beat Washington.

“We just weren’t getting stops,” Colorado head coach JR Payne said. “I thought we were scoring the ball more effectively in the second half but once you’re down a little bit, you’ve got to be able to get a stop and a score. We were not able to kind of get those stop-score-stops strung together like we needed to. So when we were getting stops, we weren’t scoring, when we were scoring, we weren’t getting stops, and that’s how they were able to maintain their lead.”

Sherrod led the Buffs, who got just 10 points from their bench, with 17 points and Mya Hollingshed, who passed the 1,000-point scoring threshold on Friday, had 15. Frida Formann scored 14 points despite going 1 for 11 from behind the 3-point line on a tough afternoon that saw the Buffs shoot 31.1 percent from the field.

CU is now 7-12 all-time against Washington State, 6-2 in Boulder. Up next, Colorado will hit the road again to play No. 11 UCLA next Friday.

Fast break

What went right: The Buffs corrected some free-throw woes, going 20 for 28 at the free-throw line.

What went wrong: Despite leading 8-4 early on, Colorado shot just 20 percent from the field in the first quarter to fall behind. Defensively, the Buffs allowed Washington State to shoot 54.1 percent from the floor.

Star of the game: Jaylyn Sherrod. She led Colorado with 17 points and finished with a team-high four assists.

What’s next: CU will visit No. 11 UCLA on Friday at 5 p.m. MT.

Washington State 76, Colorado 63

WASHINGTON STATE (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12 )

Motuga 5-8 1-3 11, Murekatete 4-8 1-2 9, K. Leger-Walker 10-18 1-2 25, C. Leger-Walker 8-16 0-0 16, Teder 3-5 0-0 7, Nankervis 1-2 0-0 2, Sarver 0-0 0-0 0, Molina 1-2 1-2 3, Levy 1-2 0-0 3, Clarke 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-61 3-8 76.

COLORADO (4-5, 2-4)

Tuitele 1-3 0-0 2, Sherrod 5-10 6-7 17, Formann 4-18 5-7 14, Hollingshed 4-12 6-7 15, Knight 2-9 1-2 5, Whittaker 0-3 2-2 2, Jones 1-1 0-1 2, Finau 0-2 0-0 0, Kulinska 2-3 0-2 6, Jank 0-0 0-0 0, Blacksten 0-0 0-0 0, Buford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-61 20-28 63.

Washington State 15 18 19 24 – 76

Colorado 8 14 19 22 – 63

3-point goals – Washington State 7-17 (Mortuga 1-3, K. Leger-Walker 4-6, C. Leger-Walker 0-3, Teder 1-3, Levy 1-2), Colorado 5-18 (Tuitele 1-3, Sherrod 1-1, Formann 1-11, Hollingshed 1-1, Knight 0-2, Kulinska 2-2). Rebounds – Washington State 38 (Motuga 15), Colorado 38 (Knight 10). Assists – Washington State 21 (C. Leger-Walker), Colorado 7 (Sherrod 4). Total fouls – Washington State 21, Colorado 15. Fouled out – K. Leger-Walker.