University of Colorado Boulder's Frida Formann (No. 3) looks to pass while covered by University of Southern California's Tera Reed (No. 3) at the CU Events Center on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
University of Colorado Boulder’s Frida Formann (No. 3) looks to pass while covered by University of Southern California’s Tera Reed (No. 3) at the CU Events Center on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

When point guard Jaylyn Sherrod hobbled off the court and sat down in front of the first row of seats late in the third quarter on Friday night, it appeared the Colorado junior might be in serious trouble.

Luckily for Sherrod and the Buffaloes, it was just a cramp. She was able to fight it off, return for the start of the fourth quarter and help her team to another win.

“Honestly I think I’ve done it my whole career,” she said of her quick bounce-back. “I take hits all the time. It’s just a part of the game. It was just the team more than anything. I caught a cramp. Everybody had to step up and do a little bit more tonight. That was just the mentality I took coming into this game.”

University of Colorado Boulder’s Mya Hollingshed (No. 21) puts up a shot over University of Southern California’s Jordyn Jenkins (No. 32) at the CU Events Center on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

Really, that’s the mentality Sherrod and the Buffs have taken this entire season and it’s why they are one of just two undefeated teams in the country, along with Pac-12 foe Arizona.

On Sunday, CU (12-0, 1-0 Pac-12) will put its perfect record on the line against UCLA (5-3, 0-0).

“I think it feels awesome,” Payne said of being undefeated at this point in the season. “We talk a lot about going 1-0 on game day and we just want to continue to do that, and play great basketball with great effort and all those things. We’re excited where we are.”

The challenge will be to keep it going. That won’t be easy against a UCLA team that is off to a slower start than usual, but still a dangerous team. The Bruins have won 10 in a row against the Buffs dating back to the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament.

CU, which defeated Southern California, 71-58, on Friday in the Pac-12 opener, is seeking its first 2-0 start to conference play since the 2006-07 season when it was still in the Big 12.

Payne said this team is more prepared for the Pac-12 gauntlet than any of her previous five CU teams. The Buffs had their first two conference games, at the Oregon schools, postponed, but got off to a great start Friday against USC.

“There’s always a difference (going into Pac-12 play),” sophomore Frida Formann said. “It’s fun. … Preseason games is what prepare you for this. Of course, we would have liked to start in Oregon, but I think we did really good today and Pac-12 is fun. It’s always competitive.”

As the Buffs look to continue their winning ways, they take comfort in knowing they’ve got a roster loaded with talent, even with some players missing Friday due to illness.

Mya Hollingshed leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Center Quay Miller, a transfer from Washington, is second to Hollingshed in both categories. Sherrod keeps getting up from hard falls to provide scoring, defense and play-making. And Formann is a sharp-shooter who rediscovered her shot Friday after some early season struggles.

“I think these guys ultimately have so much trust in each other and we ultimately have so much trust in each of them to be able to fulfill their role and do a great job,” Payne said. “It could be Jaylyn tonight, it could be Frida tomorrow night, it could be Mya the next night, it could be Quay. Every single player on our team has the ability to really impact our game, offensively, defensively, on the glass and we just love to celebrate each other when they do well.”

CU Buffs women’s basketball vs. UCLA Bruins

TIPOFF: Sunday, 11 a.m., at CU Events Center in Boulder

BROADCAST: TV – Pac-12 Network. Radio – 630 AM

RECORDS: Colorado 12-0 (1-0 Pac-12); UCLA 5-3 (0-0 Pac-12)

COACHES: Colorado – JR Payne, 6th season (84-75; 185-188 career). UCLA – Cori Close, 11th season (220-113).

KEY PLAYERS: Colorado – G Sila Finau, 5-9, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg); G Frida Formann, 5-11, So. (8.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg); F Mya Hollingshed, 6-3, Sr. (15.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg; 1.2 bpg); C Quay Miller, 6-3, Jr. (12.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg); G Jaylyn Sherrod, 5-7, Jr. (7.5 ppg; 3.1 rpg; 4.1 apg, 1.9 spg); F Peanut Tuitele, 6-1, Sr. (6.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Kindyll Wetta, 5-9, Fr. (4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.2 spg). UCLA – G Natalie Chou, 6-1, Sr. (12.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Charisma Osborne, 5-9, Jr. (19.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.1 apg); G Kayla Owens, 6-1, Sr. (3.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg); G Jaelynn Penn, 5-10, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.9 apg); F Iimar’i Thomas, 5-10, Sr. (18.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

NOTES: CU won its Pac-12 opener on Friday, 71-58, against Southern California. Miller had her first double-double of the season in the victory. … The Bruins will be playing their Pac-12 opener after Friday’s game at Utah was postponed. … UCLA has not played since a 71-61 loss at Connecticut on Dec. 11. Since then, the Bruins have had three non-conference games canceled and their first three Pac-12  games postponed because of COVID-19. … After a 3-0 start, UCLA is 2-3 in its last five games. … UCLA leads the all-time series, 15-4, including 7-2 in Boulder. The Bruins have won 10 in a row against the Buffs. … Both matchups from the 2020-21 season were canceled due to COVID-19. CU and UCLA have not met on the court since Feb. 28, 2020, in Los Angeles. … Only eight players have appeared in games for the Bruins so far this season. … Hollingshed has 761 career rebounds and needs nine to tie Sabrina Scott (770 from 1999-03) for eighth on CU’s career list.