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Women’s basketball: Frida Formann leads CU Buffs to upset of No. 14 Arizona

Colorado's Frida Formann celebrates the Buffaloes' win over the Arizona Wildcats Friday night in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Colorado’s Frida Formann celebrates the Buffaloes’ win over the Arizona Wildcats Friday night in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Snapshot: CU Buffs vs. No. 14 Arizona

Turning point: Frida Formann’s 3-pointer with 1:35 to go gave the lead back to the Buffs at 65-63, and they never looked back, outscoring the Wildcats 10-2 down the stretch.

Buff of the game: Formann. She had a season-high 23 points, to go with three assists. She also drained a season-best five 3-pointers.

What’s next?: The Buffs visit California on Friday at 12:30 p.m. MT

Frida Formann couldn’t ignore the collection of fans holding signs, including one that said, “I love Frida,” on Friday night at the CU Events Center.

The way she’s been playing, there might be a few more of those the next time the Colorado women’s basketball team hits the home floor.

Formann was sensational in CU’s 72-65 upset of No. 14 Arizona, scoring a season-high 23 points and knocking down five 3-pointers, including a monster shot in the closing minutes.

“Yeah, I saw some of them when I was subbing in and just gave a nod,” said Formann, whose hair was soaked because of her teammates pouring water on her head in celebration after the upset victory. “But yeah, they come up to me after the game and it’s great to see, especially students because I really want more students to come to our games. It’s always nice to have some fans out there.”

The announced attendance of 1,974 wasn’t a huge number, but it was the largest home crowd of the season, and it was a lively set of fans who watched the Buffs (14-3, 5-1 Pac-12) back up last week’s upset of then-No. 8 Utah with another impressive win. It is the first time since the 2001-02 season that CU has won back-to-back games vs. Associated Press Top-15 opponents.

Colorado Buffaloes' Jaylyn Sherrod drives on Arizona Wildcats' Cate Reese in Boulder on Jan. 13, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Colorado Buffaloes’ Jaylyn Sherrod drives on Arizona Wildcats’ Cate Reese in Boulder on Jan. 13, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

“I thought it was a great crowd,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “I think we’ll continue to grow our crowds because we’re playing really good basketball.”

CU led nearly the entire night, but actually had to rally a bit in the final minutes.

Arizona (14-3, 4-2) took a 61-59 lead with 3 minutes, 26 seconds to go – its first lead since 2-0 – and still led 63-62 a minute later.

Formann then drained her fifth 3-pointer of the night with 1:35 to go and about 43 seconds later she had an assist to Quay Miller, who converted a three-point play. That sequence gave the Buffs a 68-63 lead in the final minute and they put the game away at the free throw line.

“Oh, that was huge,” said Formann, who went 5-for-8 from 3-point range. “My play was kind of broken, but Quay, it was all set up. We knew what we wanted and as soon as I saw her come up, I passed it to her. It’s just those things that we’re executing down the stretch and it’s really good for us.”

Formann, who has 43 points (21.5 per game) and is 9-for-14 on 3s in the last two games, began her night with 11 first-quarter points. She then battled foul trouble throughout the night, but still managed to hit big shot after big shot when she was in the game.

“It’s always tough when you’re in foul trouble, you just kind of get taken out of your rhythm,” she said. “I was already shooting the ball well, and it was just so annoying to have to go in and out so much. I just tried to stay locked in because I knew that I would have to play down the stretch. I wasn’t thinking too much about it; I just saw that I was open and I shot it and that’s usually what I do. To stay locked in, I’ve gotten better at just emotional composure, just trying to know when my team needs me.”

Sophomore Aaronette Vonleh also kept her composure on an emotional night against her old team, scoring 12 points and pulling down a career-high nine rebounds. Miller added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Kindyll Wetta had 10 points and five assists.

Tayanna Jones contributed nine rebounds, helping the Buffs to a dominating 48-29 advantage on the glass.

“So happy, so proud,” Payne said. “So many different people stepped up in huge key moments. It wasn’t just Frida’s 3. It was Frida’s 3, it was Tay’s rebound, it was Quay’s box out, it was Jaylyn (Sherrod’s) attack, drawing the foul. So many different people came up big and our composure was great. Free throws not so great down the stretch, but so much composure, execution, defensive switching up and just a really great team win. Very proud of our ballclub.”

Colorado 72, No. 14 Arizona 65

ARIZONA (14-3, 4-2 Pac-12)

Pellington 6-11 0-4 12, Martinez 2-5 2-2 8, Fields 2-4 0-2 4, Reese 5-10 4-6 14, Loville 5-14 2-4 12, Conner 4-11 2-2 12, Pueyo 1-3 0-0 3, Gilbert 0-1 0-00, Nnaji 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-61 10-20 65.

COLORADO (14-3, 5-1 Pac-12)

Sherrod 2-9 3-10 7, Jones 0-3 1-2 1, Formann 7-11 4-4 22, Miller 5-10 1-1 13, Vonleh 6-8 0-0 12, Sadler 1-5 4-4 6, Wetta 3-7 4-4 10, Wynn 0-0 0-0 0, McLeod 0-2 0-0 0, Whittaker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 17-25 72.

Arizona                       8          21        17        19        –           65

Colorado                     18        13        20        21        –           72

3-point goals – Arizona 5-19 (Conner 2-9, Martinez 2-3, Pueyo 1-3, Loville 0-3, Reese 0-1), CU 7-15 (Formann 5-8, Miller 2-3, Sadler 0-2, Jones 0-1, Wetta 0-1). Rebounds – Arizona 29 (Reese 9), CU 48 (Jones, Miller, Vonleh 9). Assists – Arizona 12 (Pellington, Pueyo 3), CU 16 (Wetta 5). Steals – Arizona 13 (Martinez, Pueyo 3), CU 5 (Vonleh 2). Turnovers – Arizona 9, CU 19. Total fouls – Arizona 25, CU 19. Fouled out – Pellington, Loville, Vonleh. A – 1,974.