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Women’s basketball: Jaylyn Sherrod, CU Buffs rally past Washington State

Colorado's Jaylyn Sherrod, right, looks to drive on the Washington State Cougars' Charlisse Leger-Walker in Boulder on Friday night. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Colorado’s Jaylyn Sherrod, right, looks to drive on the Washington State Cougars’ Charlisse Leger-Walker in Boulder on Friday night. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Snapshot: CU Buffs women 71, Washington State 68

Turning point: Down nine points going into the fourth quarter, CU opened the frame on a 14-3 run to not only get back into the game, but take the lead and get the crowd back into it.

Buff of the game: Jaylyn Sherrod. She tied her career-high with 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting, while adding three steals and two assists.

What’s next?: The Buffs wrap up the weekend by hosting Washington on Sunday at noon at the CU Events Center.

It took every second on the clock and a furious rally in the fourth quarter, but the Colorado women’s basketball team finally knocked off Washington State at the CU Events Center.

Jaylyn Sherrod tied her career high with 27 points and Frida Formann came up with a game-sealing steal in the final seconds to lift the 25th-ranked Buffaloes to a 71-68 victory against Washington State on Friday night.

“I’m so proud of our team,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “I freaking love my team. I mean, we play hard, we have fun, we don’t wilt, we’re tough. When things get crazy, we dig in and stay together. This is just such a fun team to coach. Incredibly proud of how we played, how we executed when we needed to and just … man, that was all guts. We just were tough enough to win the game.”

The Buffs (19-5, 10-3 Pac-12) snapped a two-game home losing streak to the Cougars (16-8, 6-7), who came into Boulder with a six-game road winning streak overall.

With the win, the Buffs also kept pace in the Pac-12. They sit in third place, one game behind No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 Utah, who are tied at 11-2 in conference play. The Buffs have a two-game lead on No. 17 Arizona, No. 18 UCLA and USC, who are all tied at 8-5.

Colorado Buffaloes' Frida Formann celebrates the win against the Washington State Cougars in Boulder on Feb. 10, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)
Colorado Buffaloes’ Frida Formann celebrates the win against the Washington State Cougars in Boulder on Feb. 10, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

“Yeah, this was huge for us,” Payne said. “To me, Washington State is always one of the most dangerous teams because they’re so well coached and Charlisse (Leger-Walker) is one of the better players in the country. … I just thought our team really did a great job of knowing the scout, executing the scout, making big plays, having poise down the stretch.”

WSU was 2-0 on the road against Top 25 teams coming in and appeared headed for another road upset by taking a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Sherrod wasn’t going to let that happen. The senior point guard scored 15 of her 27 points in the final quarter, including 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the final 24 seconds.

“I think coming out of halftime, I felt like we started a little flat and I took that kind of personally because I know my role for this team is just bringing a lot of energy and tenacity. And I think my mentality was just like, it’s 0-0 coming out of halftime so I just wanted to push my team whatever way. Normally it’s with defense but tonight it was with scoring.”

Sherrod, who went 10-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-7 at the line, opened the quarter with a layup and 3-pointer to get the Buffs rolling.

Her two free throws with 23.9 seconds left gave the Buffs a 69-68 lead. Washington State was unable to get off a shot on its next possession, turning the ball over with about three seconds to go. Sherrod was fouled and hit two more free throws with 1.5 seconds left and then Formann stole the inbounds pass on WSU’s last gasp.

“Jay did a great job of just leading by example, just having high energy, just go and get the job done,” Formann said. “I think we all did a good job of just following. Even though we were close and then they scored again, and then we were up and then they scored again, we never really let that get us down in any way. So I think it was just a huge difference in how we responded (compared to a 71-54 home loss to USC on Jan. 29).”

Formann scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, and Quay Miller had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Leger-Walker got the Cougars off to a fast start with a pair of wide open 3-pointers, helping them to an 8-2 lead. That was the largest lead of the half for either team, though, and CU responded with five quick points.

A 3-pointer by CU’s Jada Wynn tied the score at 16-16 at the end of the first quarter. Wynn’s shot sparked a 9-3 run by the Buffs that gave them their biggest lead of the first half, 22-19.

Formann went 3-for-3 in the second quarter on 3-pointers, but the Cougars matched the Buffs for every shot and the teams went into the half still tied, at 33-33.

The first four minutes of the third quarter changed the game, as Washington State had an 11-2 run to open up the game, at 44-35. The Buffs had four turnovers and took just two shots during that stretch and wound up playing catch-up the rest of the way.

Back-to-back buckets from the Cougars’ Jessica Clarke gave them their biggest lead, 52-41, late in the quarter. The Buffs trailed 52-43 going into the fourth.

During the quarter break, CU seemed to find new life. The Buffs opened the fourth on a 14-3 run to surge to a 57-55 lead – their first lead of the half.

The teams traded punches the rest of the way, with CU landing the knockout blows in the final moments.

Leger-Walker, who hit her first three shots from 3-point range, missed her last six, but still finished with 17 points to lead the Cougars. She also had 10 rebounds.

No. 25 Colorado 71, Washington State 68

WASHINGTON STATE (16-8, 6-7 Pac-12)

Wallack 3-4 0-0 6, Leger-Walker 7-19 0-0 17, Motuga 1-5 3-4 6, Teder 4-9 2-2 13, Murekatete 4-7 0-0 8, Tuhina 2-4 0-0 6, Clarke 5-8 2-2 12, Sarver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-56 7-8 78.

COLORADO (19-5, 10-3 Pac-12)

Sherrod 10-12 6-7 27, Jones 1-3 2-2 4, Formann 5-11 0-0 14, Miller 3-12 4-4 10, Vonleh 4-4 0-2 8, Sadler 0-1 0-0 0, Wetta 1-3 1-1 3, Wynn 1-3 0-0 3, Whittaker 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-51 13-16 71.

Washington State        16        17        19        16        –           68

Colorado                     16        17        10        28        –           71

3-point field goals – WSU 9-21 (Leger-Walker 3-9, Teder 3-5, Tuhina 2-3, Motuga 1-3, Wallack 0-1), Colorado 6-17 (Formann 4-7, Sherrod 1-2,Wynn 1-2, Miller 0-4, Jones 0-1, Wetta 0-1). Rebounds – WSU 30 (Leger-Walker 10), Colorado 27 (Miller 7). Assists – WSU 22 (Teder 6), Colorado 10 (Wetta 5). Steals – WSU 8 (Murekatete 3), Colorado 12 (Sherrod, Miller 3). Turnovers – WSU 15, Colorado 14. Total fouls – WSU 17, Colorado 15. Fouled out – Murekatete. A – 2,055.