Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Jaylyn Sherrod looked like her old self on Monday night.
On a night of big returns, Sherrod led the Colorado women’s basketball team to a 63-52 win against Colorado Mines at the CU Events Center in an exhibition game.
The fans and Buffs basketball returned to the Events Center on Monday, and so did Sherrod, who played in a game for the first time since Jan. 17. After missing the final 11 games with season-ending hip surgery last year, Sherrod had a team-high nine points and picked up two assists in 21 minutes against the Orediggers.
“I actually told (head coach JR Payne), I was kind of nervous when I first started because it was my first time back playing since January and it’s also my first time playing in front of people since two years ago or a year and a half ago,” Sherrod said. “So it was just more so like focusing in. I had my teammates to support me, I had my coaches to support me, so it was a pretty smooth transition.”
The Buffs’ dynamic point guard elected to have surgery in January to fix a hip issue that had bothered her since high school and she looked and felt fresh Monday.
“In practice, we’ve been pushing it as well, so it just carried over to the game, but I felt pretty healthy,” Sherrod said. “I wasn’t in any pain to be completely honest. It was just fun to be back out there.”
Payne enjoyed seeing Sherrod back on the court, as the point guard picked up where she left off in January.
“I mean Jaylyn is Jaylyn,” Payne said. “She’s pretty remarkable athletically and clearly hasn’t skipped a beat with her speed and tenaciousness on defense.”
The game also marked the CU debut for center Maura Singer, who had not played in a game in more than three-and-a-half years because of knee injuries. Singer had not played since her junior year at Columbine High School.
“I was nervous,” she said. “But it was a good nervous. It was good butterflies.”
As a team, the Buffs shook off some early rust to dominate the Orediggers. Mines took a 15-12 lead after one quarter, but the Buffs took off from there.
“I’m super proud of our team,” Payne said. “Early in the season, especially this early, there’s gonna be some really good things, there’s gonna be some really bad things, and there’s gonna be a whole lot in the middle. And I thought we were pretty typical. I thought in spurts, we did some really, really good things in transition. Defensively in spurts we were really good and then we were not so good in spurts as well. But, that’s okay, as long as we continue to learn and grow and attack those areas that weren’t as sharp as we wanted them to be then we’re going to be just fine, but proud that everyone got to play and just a really great night.”
CU led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter and led 61-37 before Mines closed the gap with a 15-2 run to end the game.
Freshman guard Kindyll Wetta had a nice game for the Buffs. She scored just two points, but tied for the team lead in rebounds (six) and steals (three) and led the team with four assists.
Sila Finau and Tayanna Jones added eight points each.
CU had 437 fans in attendance, the first time the public has seen basketball at the Events Center since the 2019-20 season.
“They just bring a great atmosphere,” Sherrod said. “Every time you see people who consistently come to games, it just feels good. … To see family and people who have been supporting us for so long, actually being able to come back and see us play in real live action I think is good for everybody. It makes basketball season feel whole again.”
Denali Pinto led Mines with 11 points. … Allysa LaFontaine and Aubrey Knight sat out with injuries for the Buffs. … CU had a 14-0 advantage on second-chance points.
What went right: Overall, CU played a solid game on both ends of the floor. They shot the ball well (47.2%), outrebounded the Orediggers by 11 and had a 14-0 advantage on second-chance points.
What went wrong: The Buffs started slow and didn’t finish. Mines led 15-9 early in the game and then closed on a 15-2 run.
Star of the game: Jaylyn Sherrod. The junior point guard returned from injury and led the team with nine points. She added two assists and three steals.
What’s next: The Buffs visit Oklahoma State on Nov. 10 for the official season opener.
Colorado 63, Colorado Mines 52
Steffeck 2-8 2-2 8, Holter 0-3 0-0 0, Pinto 5-11 0-2 11, Van Sickle 3-10 0-0 7, Stanton 4-7 0-0 8, Stock 1-1 0-0 2, Howery 2-5 2-2 8, Nichols 2-4 0-0 4, Van De Graaf 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 20-51 6-8 52.
Sherrod 3-4 2-2 9, Formann 2-5 0-0 4, Finau 3-6 0-0 8, Hollingshed 2-4 0-0 6, Tuitele 3-5 0-0 6, Jones 4-6 0-0 8, Sadler 2-6 2-3 6, Taylor 2-4 0-0 4, Miller 1-2 2-2 4, Blacksten 2-4 1-3 6, Wetta 1-3 0-0 2, Singer 0-2 0-0 0, Gerber 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-53 7-10 63.
Colorado Mines 15 4 7 26 – 52
Colorado 12 21 16 14 – 63
3-point goals – Mines 6-20 (Steffeck 2-6, Howery 2-2, Pinto 1-5, Van Sickle 1-4, Holter 0-2, Stanton 0-1), Colorado 6-21 (Finau 2-4, Hollingshed 2-3, Blacksten 1-2, Sherrod 1-1, Sadler 0-3, Formann 0-2, Gerber 0-2, Tuitele 0-2, Miller 0-1, Wetta 0-1). Rebounds – Mines 25 (Stanton 5), Colorado 36 (Miller, Wetta 6). Assists – Mines 12 (Steffeck, Holter, Nichols 3), Colorado 17 (Wetta 4). Steals – Mines 9 (Steffeck 4), Colorado 16 (Sherrod, Wetta 3). Turnovers – Mines 22, Colorado 24. Total fouls – Mines 13, Colorado 17. Fouled out – None.