SEATTLE – Aggressive defense has become the trademark of the Colorado women’s basketball team.
With that aggressiveness, however, comes the unknown of how officials will call a game. On Friday night, those calls didn’t go CU’s way.
In an 87-77 loss to Iowa in the Sweet 16 at Climate Pledge Arena, the Buffaloes dealt with significant foul trouble throughout the night.
“It’s really hard to play like that when you’re not exactly sure what is going to be a foul or what,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “I thought our team did a great job of just trying to stay the course and stayed aggressive, stayed active, rotated aggressively, surely rebounded the basketball like we needed to. But it definitely was difficult with rotations.”
Senior point guard Jaylyn Sherrod picked up her second foul with 1 minute, 11 seconds to play in the first quarter and sat the remainder of the first half. Then, she got her third foul 14 seconds into the third quarter and went back to the bench for a few minutes. She got her fourth foul seven seconds into the fourth and fouled out in the final minute.
“It definitely messes with your rhythm when you’re not able to just do and play freely,” said Sherrod, who still finished with 11 points and nine assists in only 22 minutes. “I also think it’s hard as a player not really knowing like, where you can be aggressive, where you can’t, because you’re thinking about picking up a foul that you don’t necessarily need to pick up.”
Unfortunately for the Buffs, she wasn’t alone in foul trouble.
Backup point guard Kindyll Wetta got her second foul a minute into the second quarter and went to the bench, which led to Tameiya Sadler running the offense for a while. Sadler stepped up, however, with nine points and three assists.
Frida Formann, who had 19 points in the first half and 21 overall, was hit with her third and fourth fouls just 35 seconds apart midway through the third and then fouled out with 6:37 to play.
Center Aaronette Vonleh also fouled out, while Tayanna Jones finished with four fouls.
“It’s never fun to play with foul trouble,” Formann said. “You can’t play as much as you want or how you want sometimes maybe, but there’s nothing really to do about it other than just keep playing. The way we play defense, we don’t really back down, so we’re gonna keep being aggressive and we got those calls today. There’s not much to say about it other than it sucks to foul out in a game.”
Iowa took advantage by going 19-of-24 from the free throw line.
Formann was cooking in the first half, scoring 19 points, including hitting 4-of-7 3-pointers, to help the Buffs to a 40-39 lead. She scored just two points and took only four shots after halftime.
“I had a lot of space in the first half, I felt like, and my teammates were just finding me,” she said. “When it’s this stage, my job is to shoot the ball, so that’s what I’m gonna do. (In the second half, Iowa) adjusted defensively and were a little tighter. I was in foul trouble in the second half, but yeah, I was proud of how I was and my team was playing in the first half.”
CU is now 19-15 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 3-4 in the Sweet 16 and 4-7 as a lower seed.
The Buffs fell short of matching the 1993, 1995 and 2002 teams by reaching the Elite Eight, but became just the seventh team in CU history to win at least two games in March Madness.
Individually, Sherrod’s nine assists were the most ever by a Buff in an NCAA Tournament game. Four players had recorded eight.
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark finished with 31 points, which is the second-most by a CU opponent in the tournament. Texas Tech’s Sheryl Swoopes had 36 against the Buffs on March 27, 1993.
CU freshman Jada Wynn missed her second consecutive game in concussion protocol, but was with the team on the bench in street clothes. … Colorado president Todd Saliman, chancellor Phil DiStefano and athletic director Rick George were among the large contingent of Buffs fans in Seattle. … CU fell to 2-22 all-time against teams ranked in the top three of the Associated Press poll, as Iowa was No. 3 in the final poll. … Iowa leads the all-time series, 4-3.