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CU Buffs women taking momentum on road

After upsetting Stanford, Colorado visits Arizona State

BOULDER CO - Jan. 17, 2021: ...
BOULDER CO – January 17, 2021: Colorado’s Jaylen Sherrod drives past Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Anna Wilson. Colorado beats #1 Stanford in overtime in Boulder on January 17, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Upsetting the No. 1 team in the country has shined some light on the Colorado women’s basketball program this week.

After knocking off Stanford, 77-72 in overtime on Sunday, the Buffaloes were recognized with team of the week honors, as well as individual accolades for senior Mya Hollingshed and freshman Frida Formann.

“Certainly we celebrated for about two days,” CU head coach JR Payne said.

Playing in the Pac-12 Conference doesn’t provide too much celebration time, however, and by Monday afternoon, Payne turned her focus to the next hurdle. On Friday, the Buffs (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) will visit Arizona State (7-3, 3-3).

“The Stanford game is well in the rearview mirror,” Payne said. “I said after Sunday’s game that our preparation gave us the opportunity to be successful on Sunday and I think that’s the biggest message for our ballclub is that our preparation is what determines our success, or lack thereof.

“I haven’t even thought about Stanford since Monday afternoon when I started working on the Arizona State scout and that preparation.”

The biggest upset win in program history will be remembered for a long time, but the Buffs are still only about halfway through the season. ASU is one of the top teams in the conference and a top-40 team in the country. Then on Sunday, the Buffs face No. 10 Arizona.

“That’s how it is in the Pac-12,” Formann said. “There’s always another opponent that needs just as much attention, because everyone is so good. We’re all very aware that we have to move on and focus on the next thing.”

Formann said the Buffs don’t want to completely put the Stanford game behind them. They’d like to carry the confidence gained that day with them to Arizona.

“We’ve talked a lot about having potential and almost winning, almost pulling out the upset (in previous games) and at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter,” she said. “You don’t really get anything out of potential. So I think we’re just all very happy that we got to actually do something with it. We weren’t the team that almost upset Stanford, but we were the team that upset Stanford and that’s a huge difference.

“That’s something that we’ll take with us, just to prove ourselves that we can actually do that and we can stay focused throughout the end of close games.”

During the past two seasons, the Buffs had been painfully close to beating top teams, but had not been able to do it. They did beat then-No. 11 Arizona on Feb. 23 last season, but the Wildcats played without star guard Aari McDonald.

Beating Stanford at full strength has the potential to boost the Buffs mentally as they go forward, knowing they can beat top teams.

“It doesn’t really matter who it is (on the other side), as long as we bring our best effort and focus and attention to detail, we have a chance to be successful,” Payne said.

ASU comes in unranked and perhaps a bit rusty. The Sun Devils have had four consecutive games postponed because of COVID-19, but Payne expects a typical ASU effort.

“They’re going to compete for 40 minutes with no slip ups and I love that about their program,” Payne said. “It’s something that we really want to be known for in our program, as far as just being sort of that relentless pursuit of a competitive spirit. They’re the same team, new faces.”

As a freshman, Formann hasn’t faced ASU, but she said the Sun Devils look familiar.

“I think Arizona State is more of a defensive minded team and they rebound really well, which means they look a lot like us,” she said. “We’ll have to focus in on really executing our offense and not letting them control the pace with their defense. I think Arizona State is a really tough team, really great team and we are, too, so we just have to out-tough them that game.”

CU Buffs women’s basketball at Arizona State Sun Devils

TIPOFF: Friday, 3 p.m. MT, at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz.

BROADCAST: Online – Radio – 630 AM

RECORDS: Colorado 6-6 (4-5 Pac-12); Arizona State 7-3 (3-3 Pac-12)

COACHES: Colorado – JR Payne, 5th season (66-70; 167-183 career). ASU – Charli Turner-Thorne, 24th season (471-271; 511-311)

KEY PLAYERS: Colorado – G Frida Formann, 6-0, Fr. (11.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg); F Mya Hollingshed, 6-3, Sr. (16.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg); G Aubrey Knight, 6-0, Jr. (5.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg); G Jaylyn Sherrod, 5-7, So. (10.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.1 apg); F Peanut Tuitele, 6-1, Jr. (7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg). ASU – G Sydnei Caldwell, 5-9, So. (5.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G Taya Hanson, 5-10, Jr. (13.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg); F Katelyn Levings, 6-3, Fr. (6.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg); G Jaddan Simmons, 5-9, Fr. (10.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg); F Eboni Walker, 5-11, So. (9.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg).

NOTES: CU is looking to build upon a 77-72 overtime upset of then-No. 1 Stanford on Sunday. … The Buffs have won two consecutive Pac-12 games for the first time since Feb. 16-18, 2018. They haven’t won three in a row since a 10-game winning streak from Feb. 3-March 8, 2013.  … This was supposed to be the second matchup of the season between CU and ASU, as they were scheduled to play Dec. 20 in Boulder. That game was postponed due to caution for potential exposure to COVID-19. The game has not been rescheduled. … ASU has not played since a 68-60 loss to Stanford on Jan. 3. COVID-19 issues within the Sun Devils’ program have led to them postponing the last four games. … ASU has a 12-game winning streak against the Buffs, dating back to a 71-63 CU victory on Feb. 17, 2013, in Tempe. … ASU leads the all-time series 14-11. CU won the first nine meetings, but is 2-14 since. … ASU is one of only two Pac-12 teams Payne has never defeated as a head coach, along with UCLA (0-7 vs. both). … CU assistant coach Alex Earl played at ASU form 2009-12. … Hollingshed needs 22 points to tie Lexy Kresl (2011-15) for 25th on CU’s all-time scoring list. Hollingshed comes in with 1,087 career points. … Friday will be Hollingshed’s 100th career game at CU.

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