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CU Buffs’ Mya Hollingshed returning for 5th season

Women’s basketball senior puts WNBA on hold to take advantage of extra year of eligibility

Colorado's Mya Hollingshed is taking advantage of the NCAA giving student-athletes and extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hollingshed led the CU women's basketball team in scoring and rebounding this season.
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed is taking advantage of the NCAA giving student-athletes and extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hollingshed led the CU women’s basketball team in scoring and rebounding this season.
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Mya Hollingshed has some unfinished business at Colorado.

On Friday, the senior announced that she will return for a fifth season with the CU women’s basketball team, taking advantage of the NCAA giving student-athletes an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“First off, I want to thank my family, my teammates, and my coaches for their enduring support through this decision-making process,” Hollingshed wrote on social media. “I came to the University of Colorado four years ago with dreams that were as big as the Flatirons. Over my time here, I have grown in every way imaginable. While I’m honored to be considered for the 2021 WNBA Draft, my teammates and I are excited to continue our hunt for a PAC-12 Championship and a deep run into the NCAA Tournament! We have unfinished business!

“Houston will always be my home, but the community of Boulder has embraced me as one of their own. I hope Buffalo fans are just as excited as I am for the 21-22 season…LET’S RUN IT BACK!”

A 6-foot-3 forward from Houston, Hollingshed was first-team All-Pac-12 this season, ranking second in the conference in rebounding (7.8 per game), sixth in scoring (15.4 points per game), and tied for first in double-doubles (eight). She led CU in all those categories.

BOULDER, CO - Jan. 29, 2021: ...
BOULDER, CO – January 29, 2021: Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed shoots over Oregon State’s Jelena Mitovic during the Oregon State at Colorado game on January 29, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Hollingshed helped CU (12-11, 8-8 Pac-12) to the Women’s NIT quarterfinals. It was CU’s first postseason appearance since 2017, and the .500 mark in conference play was the Buffs’ best since 2013.

“From a basketball standpoint for the program, it’s great because she’s a first-team all-league kid, she’s comfortable, she knows the system, everyone on the team loves her and the coaches love her,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “I think for Mya, it’s also a great thing because she still has a lot of areas that she wants to develop. She’s going to have pro opportunities, but she needs another year to really continue to expand her game.”

Hollingshed could have been a WNBA pick this year, as several mock drafts have projected her as a second-round selection. ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel projected Hollingshed going at No. 19 overall, midway through the second round.

The WNBA draft is scheduled for April 15, and Thursday was the deadline for college players to opt-in.

Only five players in CU history have been selected in the WNBA draft, with Chucky Jeffery (24th overall in 2013) being the most recent.

One more year at CU could boost Hollingshed’s draft stock for 2022.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people that think she’s definitely a WNBA prospect,” Payne said. “But they also would like to see her continue to develop and grow and get stronger and things like that. She definitely is going to be on the (draft) board. I just want her to be the most well-rounded, versatile, strong, confident, Mya on the board, so that she can be a very high pick.”

Making plays out of double- and triple-teams, improving on the perimeter, and getting stronger overall will help Hollingshed, as will team success.

With Hollingshed coming back, the Buffs are projected to return all nine players who averaged at least nine minutes per game. Sixth in the Pac-12 this year, the Buffs could be a top-5 team in the conference and reach the NCAA Tournament next year.

“I think we’re going to be a really good team next year,” Payne said. “We have a lot of pieces coming back and adding some new pieces and I think we’re going to be really good and she’ll be a big part of that.”

A starter in 79 of the last 81 games she has played, Hollingshed ranks 22nd in program history in scoring (1,244 points) and 15th in rebounding (681). She will go into next season as the active leading scorer and rebounder in the Pac-12.

Hollingshed has improved her scoring and rebounding averages each year with the Buffs. This season she also had career bests in field goal percentage (45.7), assists (1.7 per game), and blocks (1.13 per game).