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BOULDER, CO - Oct. 19, 2021: ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado women’s basketball players Peanut Tuitele, left, Sophia Gerber, center, and Lesila Finau, watch video they shot during media day on October 19, 2021. All three have put their names into the NCAA transfer portal. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO, Feb. 26, 2022: University ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Peanut Tuitele, top, and Lesila Finau celebrate in style after the win over Oregon State during the Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 26, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

In the past four years, Sila Finau and Peanut Tuitele have been significant contributors to the Colorado women’s basketball team and they were key players in the Buffaloes’ run to the NCAA Tournament this year.

Both are now looking to playing one more year, but in a different uniform.

Four CU women’s basketball players, including Finau and Tuitele, have put their names into the NCAA transfer portal. Wing Kylee Blacksten and walk-on guard Sophie Gerber are also looking to transfer.

Finau and Tuitele started all 31 games for the Buffs (22-9) this season, including Friday’s 84-74 loss to Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Iowa City, Iowa.

Tuitele, a 6-foot-1 senior forward from Chico, Calif., averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds this season. For her career, she played in 110 games, with 94 starts, averaging 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds.

Finau, a 5-foot-9 senior guard from Dublin, Calif., averaged 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds this season and was one of CU’s better perimeter defenders. In her career, she played a variety of roles. She played in 112 games, with 66 starts, averaging 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. As a junior, she filled the point guard role and led the Buffs in assists and steals.

Finau and Tuitele both went through the senior day celebration last month knowing this could be their final year with CU. Both have played four years, but the NCAA granted all players from the 2020-21 season an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BOULDER, CO, Feb. 4, 2022: University ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Kylee Blacksten drives on Washington State’s Krystal Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete during a Pac-12 game in Boulder on February 4, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

By playing an extra year elsewhere, Finau and Tuitele will have an opportunity to expand their network and gain a different type of experience. This past year, several CU men’s basketball players did that as well, including D’Shawn Schwartz playing his final year at George Mason and Dallas Walton playing his final year at Wake Forest.

Blacksten is a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Air Academy High School. She will be looking to gain more playing time at another school. This season, she played in 24 games and averaged 6.1 minutes, down from 9.2 minutes per game her freshman year.

During her two seasons with the Buffs, Blacksten averaged 2.0 points and has flashed her ability to hit outside shots. Because of the extra year granted by the NCAA, she has three more years to play.

Gerber is a 6-foot guard from Scottsdale, Ariz. She has been at CU on an academic scholarship and walked on to the basketball team. She redshirted and did not play in 2020-21. This year, she played in seven games. She will look for an opportunity to play somewhere else, but there is a chance she could return to the Buffs as a walk-on next year.

In addition to the transfers, CU is losing forward Mya Hollingshed and guard Aubrey Knight to graduation and center Maura Singer, who has medically retired.

CU currently has eight scholarship players projected to return. In addition, four true freshmen signed in November and are planning to arrive in the summer.

The maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA for women’s basketball is 15, and the Buffs now have three open spots. The Buffs’ coaching staff will be looking to fill those spots through the transfer portal, or possibly with incoming freshmen.

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