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CU Buffs women’s game at UCLA postponed

Injuries have left UCLA without enough scholarship players

Brad Cochi/Daily Camera
Colorado’s Peanut Tuitele takes a shot on Sunday against Washington State at CU Events Center.
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Several injuries within the UCLA women’s basketball program has caused a postponement of Colorado’s game against the Bruins scheduled for Friday.

CU was scheduled to travel to Los Angeles on Thursday to face the ninth-ranked Bruins, but was informed Thursday morning that UCLA would not be able to meet the Pac-12’s minimum requirement of seven health scholarship players. UCLA cited injuries, and not COVID-19 issues.

“Our medical team made a really tough decision that we don’t have enough healthy players to play our game on Friday,” UCLA head coach Cori Close said in a press release. “The health and wellbeing of our student-athletes are the priority and I trust our medical team’s decision.”

Details on rescheduling the game are not known at this time, but UCLA is hopeful it can play its Sunday game against Utah.

CU (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) will shift its travel plans and fly to Los Angeles this weekend to play Southern California (3-5, 1-5) on Sunday at Noon MT.

This is the second time CU has had a game postponed this season. On Dec. 20, the Buffs were slated to host Arizona State, but that game was postponed out of extreme caution for possible COVID-19 exposure within the Buffs. That game has not been rescheduled.

The Buffs are looking to rebound from a 76-63 loss at home to Washington State on Sunday. CU is 2-5 in its last seven games.

“The goal is to play consistently and play consistent basketball, offensively and defensively, and we’re not there yet,” head coach JR Payne said.

Payne felt the Buffs were showing signs of consistency in mid-December, but then the ASU game was postponed, followed by the holiday break.

More than anything, though, the Buffs have seen a negative impact from the coronavirus-altered schedule that limited them to three non-conference games, rather than 11 spread out over a six-week period in normal years.

“It’s been very tough to find depth in our roster, mostly because we have a lot of new players and we had no preseason,” Payne said. “We didn’t have those games to figure out, ‘OK, where does this kid fit? What can we expect from this player in a live setting or that player in a live setting?’ When the game is on the line, which all of these Pac-12 games are, every possession could be make or break one way or the other.”

The Buffs have five new players that have seen the court, including Tayanna Jones, a transfer from Georgetown who just became eligible a couple weeks ago and has played three games.

Overall, though, Payne said she likes the makeup of the roster and the pieces in place for CU. It’s just a matter of finding consistency.

To do that, Payne is stressing to her team to worry more about their growth than worrying about the opponents. Certainly the coaches scouted UCLA and will scout and game plan for USC, but self-improvement will be a focus.

“I really want us this week to prioritize ourselves,” she said. “What we need to do to get better, I want that to be our priority this week.”