Snapshot: No. 25 CU Buffs women 73, No. 8 UCLA 70 (OT)
Turning point: After UCLA opened overtime with a 3-pointer, the Buffs responded with four straight points to regain the lead take momentum into the final couple of minutes.
Buff of the game: Kindyll Wetta. She hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in overtime, finishing with 13 points and six assists, while playing stellar defense.
What’s next?: The Buffs host USC on Sunday at noon in Boulder.
Kindyll Wetta was a pest on defense all night on Friday.
When it mattered most, she delivered the knockout punch on offense, too.
Wetta drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the No. 25 Colorado women’s basketball team to a 73-70 upset of No. 8 UCLA at the CU Events Center.
“Actually, no I have not (ever hit a game-winner),” Wetta said. “Not even in middle school, high school, nothing.”
She has now, and it helped the Buffs (16-4, 7-2 Pac-12) extend a remarkable streak, as they’ve upset top-15 opponents in each of their last three home games.
“I think it’s just a respect thing,” senior Quay Miller said. “Like (assistant coach Toriano Towns) was saying before our game, we’ve not only earned this respect, but we deserve it.
“I think that we’re proving to teams that like we really can compete with anybody, especially on our home floor. It’s a pride thing and we own what we wear across our chest. So we really take it personal when teams try to show up and try to win against us on our court. Like, it’s just not something we’re going for.”
Wetta finished with 13 points and six assists off the bench while helping to limit UCLA’s talented guards. Miller recorded her third double-double of the season (18 points, 12 rebounds) while Jaylyn Sherrod had 20 points and six assists and Aaronette Vonleh scored 11 points.
An exceptional ball-handler and defensive stopper, Wetta was an unlikely option to hit the winning 3-pointer. It was the only 3 she attempted on Friday and it was just the eighth she has made this season.
“Yeah, I mean, it felt good and I knew that I was probably going to be open,” she said. “I saw them sag early, so I was ready to shoot.”
To Wetta’s credit, she is dramatically better on her 3s this year (8-for-21, 38.1%) compared to last season (5-for-30, 16.7%). But, with Frida Formann, Miller and Sherrod on the floor, she wasn’t the expected option.
It wasn’t a surprise to head coach JR Payne, however, that Wetta delivered.
“That shot was just one of the biggest shots that we’ve seen all year,” Payne said. “Just so proud of Kin. She’s been working on her game and putting in that time and just so much confidence.”
As a unit, the Buffs are playing with tremendous confidence and weren’t fazed when the Bruins (17-4, 6-3) opened overtime with a 3-pointer from Charisma Osborne. CU responded by outscoring them 9-3 in the final 3:41 of the extra period.
“Just being mentally tough,” Miller said of CU’s primary challenge in beating the Bruins. “We knew they were fatigued, but they were more fatigued than us. So just having to push through that and understand that it’s the moment to take advantage when we see them tired on their knees or confused in plays. Being able to be like a veteran team and capitalize on any of their mistakes.”
UCLA didn’t make a lot of mistakes, but struggled to hit shots at key parts throughout the game. The Bruins made 36.8% of their shots, but their top two scorers – guards Kiki Rice and Osborne – finished a combined 4-for-25 (16.0%) for 16 total points.
The lead changed hands 15 times, including three times in overtime, but it was the Buffs making winning plays down the stretch to improve to 9-0 at home.
This is the first time since 2007-08 that CU has defeated three top-25 teams in the same season and the first time since 2001-02 that the Buffs have knocked off three top-15 teams in one campaign.
“Unbelievably proud of our ballclub tonight,” Payne said. “So many different people stepped up in the first half. We had some foul trouble in the first half and other people came in, give great minutes; execution down the stretch; execution of new plays; new positions; huge shots.
“I’m unbelievably proud of our team tonight and I just think it was a great night.”
No. 25 Colorado 73, No. 8 UCLA 70 (OT)
UCLA (17-4, 6-3 Pac-12)
Rice 1-9 2-4 4, Conti 0-3 2-2 2, Bessoir 5-11 0-0 12, Osborne 3-16 4-4 12, Sontag 2-4 1-2 5, Jones 4-10 3-4 14, Iwuala 3-4 0-0 6, Jaquez 5-7 0-0 11, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Anstey 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-68 12-16 70.
COLORADO (16-4, 7-2 Pac-12)
Sherrod 7-14 4-5 20, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Formann 3-15 0-0 8, Miller 7-14 2-4 18, Vonleh 5-11 1-2 11, Sadler 0-2 0-0 0, Wetta 6-7 0-1 13, Wynn 0-0 0-0 0, McLeod 1-2 0-2 2, Whittaker 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 29-65 8-16 73.
UCLA 19 14 18 13 6 – 70
Colorado 13 15 25 11 9 – 73
3-point goals – UCLA 8-25 (Jones 3-5, Osborne 2-8, Bessoir 2-7, Jaquez 1-1, Rice 0-2, Conti 0-2), Colorado 7-15 (Forman 2-5, Sherrod 2-4, Miller 2-4, Wetta 1-1, Sadler 0-1). Rebounds – UCLA 45 (Brown 8), Colorado 35 (Miller 12). Assists – UCLA 18 (Conti 5), Colorado 18 (Sherrod, Wetta 6). Steals – UCLA 8 (Rice, Osborne 2), Colorado 9 (Sherrod, Formann 2). Turnovers – UCLA 16, Colorado 15. Total fouls – UCLA 20, Colorado 20. Fouled out – Bessoir, Vonleh. A – 2,227.