SAN FRANCISCO — It was a decision that didn’t require Mya Hollingshed to delve into a deep internal debate.
While considering the next step in her future, Hollingshed looked at an extra year in Boulder and saw an opportunity to pursue her Master’s degree, an up-and-coming team with bigger expectations than at any point during her collegiate career and, more personally, an opportunity to hone her ever-improving skills for the WNBA draft.
So when the NCAA announced last year that all students-athletes would be eligible for an extra bonus season to make up for the COVID year of 2020-21, Hollingshed was all in. As the rare fifth-year player on track to spend all five of those seasons on the floor, Hollingshed already is firmly entrenched in most 2022 WNBA mock drafts and sees a world of opportunity with a Buffs team looking to build on last season’s strong finish.
“There were a lot of things that went into (the decision),” Hollingshed said. “I think in my mind it was like, ‘Yes, I want to come back.’ I think it was because of what we were able to accomplish last season. Being able to get my Master’s and things like that. And I think there were some things in the back of my mind basketball-wise that I could use to develop extra. Actually making the WNBA mock draft. I didn’t think that would ever happen to me.”
Hollingshed has been on the floor in four of coach JR Payne’s previous five seasons at CU, and the forward from Houston has displayed an impressive pedigree in steady improvement. After averaging 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman, Hollingshed added to those numbers each season before averaging career-highs of 15.4 points and 7.8 rebounds last year.
“Definitely the culture that we’ve built over the past few years is something I wanted to be part of,” Hollingshed said. “Being able to continue that is something special.”
While the Buffs finished seventh in the preseason coaches poll, defending national champion Stanford collected 11 of 12 first-place votes to top the poll with 121 points. Oregon garnered the other first-place vote and finished second with 108 points. UCLA (101 points) finished third followed by Oregon State (86), Arizona (83), Washington State (70), CU (65), Arizona State (47), USC (45), Utah and Washington (both 25), and Cal (16).
CU had never finished better than ninth in the poll in Payne’s previous five seasons.
The Pac-12 media day allowed Payne an opportunity to discuss two intra-league transfers the Buffs added to the roster this year in former Washington players Tameiya Sadler and Quay Miller.
Sadler (10.4 points per game) and Miller (9.9) were the second and third leading scorers, respectively, for the Huskies last season. Miller started all 21 games and led UW with 9.9 rebounds per game.
“We knew Quay from high school. We recruited her and she chose to stay at Washington, so we’ve known her for a very long time,” Payne said. “They just absolutely blend in with our team, from the very first training session, from the very first time they were there. They have collegiate experience. They have Pac-12 experience. So they know what this conference looks like.
“That being said, I think we operate differently than they did. There’s a lot of things about their experience with us that is very new and very different than what they experienced their first year or two of college.”
All-tournament passes for the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas went on sale on Tuesday, and all-tournament passes for the men’s tourney will go on sale on Wednesday. The women’s tournament will be held March 2-6 at Michelob Ultra Arena, and tickets are available at Pac-12.com/tickets or by calling 1-855-MYPAC12…Twenty CU women’s games will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks, beginning with the Nov. 28 home matchup against Wisconsin that will be part of a women-men doubleheader on the network along with the CU men’s game against Stanford.