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Women’s basketball: CU Buffs look to bounce back in trip to Oregon

Colorado's Tameiya Sadler drives to the basket against USC on Sunday in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)
Colorado’s Tameiya Sadler drives to the basket against USC on Sunday in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

The Colorado women’s basketball team hasn’t been perfect this season, but the Buffaloes have been very good at responding after a defeat.

On Friday, the Buffs will try to bounce back from a loss when they visit Oregon in the first game of a weekend trip to the Pacific Northwest. They will visit Oregon State on Sunday.

CU (16-5, 7-3 Pac-12) sputtered throughout a 71-54 home loss to USC on Sunday and will need to knock off a talented Oregon squad to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.

“I feel like we’re mature enough to really just come in and know what we did wrong, so I think going into Oregon I feel like we have a different focus and different mentality,” junior guard Tameiya Sadler said.

After each of the Buffs’ previous four losses, they won the next game. Three of those games were at home, however, and the other was at Chicago State, which is one of the worst teams in the country with a NET ranking of 359 (out of 361 teams).

This will be the toughest bounce back game the Buffs have faced.

Oregon is unranked, but has one of the most talented rosters in the Pac-12, including Grace VanSlooten, who has been the Pac-12 freshman of the week four times, including this week.

“They’re incredibly talented,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “They have lost a couple players to injury and things like that, but they’re very talented. Everyone that plays (for the Ducks) is really good.”

The Ducks are also very good at home (9-2), but they’ve lost three of their last four games overall.

For both teams, it’s a pivotal game. Going down the stretch run of the regular season, all teams are trying to land in the best position possible for next month’s Pac-12 tournament. The Buffs are currently third in the Pac-12 and need to play well in order to stay among the top four and earn a first-round bye for the tournament.

CU isn’t thinking about conference standings at this point, but the Buffs do know the importance of not letting Sunday’s loss carry over to Friday.

“We have a mature team that knows the importance of regrouping very quickly and refocusing on the next job at hand,” Payne said.

Trying to regroup in one of the more difficult road environments in the Pac-12 won’t be easy, but the Buffs have been a good road team, in part because veterans keep them focused.

“Going on the road, I feel like it makes us come together more,” Sadler said. “When we’re home, we have our fans to thrive off of but on the road it’s really just us. So really, we’ve just got to feed in and buy into what we got going on.

“I think the challenge going into Oregon is just focusing on what we can focus on and not really just paying attention to the atmosphere that’s there. Really just going in and playing the basketball that we play.”

When the Buffs play their game, they are tough to beat. But, as is the case with most teams in the Pac-12, the same could be said of Oregon.

“We’re really excited,” Payne said. “It’s another weekend of great opponents and great challenges but, yeah, we’re excited to get back on the road.”

CU Buffs women’s basketball at Oregon Ducks

TIPOFF: Friday, 8 p.m. MT, at Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore.

TV/RADIO: TV — Pac-12 Network. Radio — KHOW 630 AM

RECORDS: Colorado 16-5, 7-3 Pac-12; Oregon 14-7, 5-5 Pac-12.

COACHES: Colorado — JR Payne, 7th season (110-89; 211-202 career); Oregon — Kelly Graves, 9th season (204-82; 586-244 career).

KEY PLAYERS: Colorado — G Frida Formann, 5-11, Jr. (11.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 38.2% 3-point, 93.8% FT); C Quay Miller, 6-3, Sr. (14.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, 45.2% 3-point); G Jaylyn Sherrod, 5-7, Sr. (10.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.1 apg, 2.3 spg, 45.2% 3-point); C Aaronette Vonleh, 6-3, So. (11.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 58% FG); G Kindyll Wetta, 5-9, So. (6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.5 spg). Oregon — G Chance Gray, 5-9, Fr. (10.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 95.1% FT); C Phillipina Kyei, 6-8, So. (7.6 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 55.2% FG); G Te-Hina Paopao, 5-9, Jr. (12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.4 apg); G Endyia Rogers, 5-7, Sr. (15.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.2 apg, 44.0% 3-pt); F Grace VanSlooten, 6-2, Fr. (14.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg).

NOTES: Both teams are aiming to bounce back from losses on Sunday. CU lost at home to USC, 71-54, and Oregon lost to No. 3 Stanford on the road, 62-54. … This is the only meeting of the season between these teams. … CU won the only meeting a year ago, 86-83 in double overtime in Boulder. … Oregon leads the all-time series 19-9, including 9-2 in Eugene. The Ducks have won the last five against CU in Eugene. CU hasn’t been to Matthew Knight Arena since Dec. 4, 2020. … This is the first time in the last eight matchups that CU will face an unranked Oregon team. The last time the Ducks were unranked against CU, the Buffs won, 76-66, in Boulder on Feb. 19, 2017. … Gray is 24-for-24 at the free-throw line in Pac-12 play and has made 32 in a row overall, dating back to Nov. 18. … The Ducks are 4-6 in their last 10 games overall. … CU is 6-4 in true road games.