Long before Frida Formann first arrived on the Colorado campus as a freshman in 2020, JR Payne knew the women’s basketball program was getting a potential star.
On national signing day in November of 2019, Payne said of the Danish recruit, “I can guarantee that Buff fans will love watching Frida play for years to come.”
Payne and Formann have delivered on that guarantee.
Formann’s recently completed junior season was her best campaign at CU and the 5-foot-11 guard took her game to even higher level in the postseason, including 21 points in an 87-77 loss to second-seeded Iowa on Friday in Seattle.
“Yeah, I thought Frida was one of the highest IQ players I’ve ever coached,” Payne said. “And we’ve always known she was great shooter, but she’s done a lot of different things besides shoot. Even just some of her cutting, (Iowa was) face-guarding her in sort of a triangle-and-two tonight and she was able to get off that defense and make plays at the rim.”
In helping the Buffs (25-9) reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 20 years, Formann averaged 12.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists this season. She finished with 75 made 3-pointers, the fifth-best single-season total in program history.
Throughout the regular season, Formann averaged 11.4 points, hit 38.7% of her 3-pointers and the led the team in scoring four times.
During the postseason (two games in the Pac-12 tournament, three games in the NCAA Tournament), Formann averaged 15.6 points and hit 41.7% (15 of 36) of her 3-pointers, leading the team in scoring three times. She was named to the all-region team for the Seattle 4 regional.
Heading into her senior year, Formann is only 98 points away from reaching 1,000 for her career and ranks ninth in CU history in 3-pointers made (178), 3-point attempts (494) and 3-point percentage (.360). She also has the seventh-best free throw percentage (.820) in program history.
Most important to Payne and the Buffs, however, is that Formann continues to develop her all-around game and leadership, which will be vital for CU to duplicate or better this year’s success.
“I’m really excited for her to come back for her senior year and I think that she’ll continue to blossom and grow into an incredible player,” Payne said.
Climbing the lists
Point guard Jaylyn Sherrod finished the season with 167 assists, tying Bridget Turner (1985-86) for the fourth-most in a single season in CU history. Sherrod now has two of the top 10 assist seasons at CU, as she had 152 (10th) as a freshman in 2019-2020.
Sherrod ranks sixth at CU in career assists (473) and 11th in steals (201). She is one of only five players in program history with at least 1,000 points, 450 assists and 200 steals, joining Chucky Jeffery, Kennedy Leonard, Shelley Sheetz and Turner.
Quay Miller, meanwhile, finished the season with 301 rebounds – the sixth-best single-season total at CU. It was just the second 300-rebound season by a Buff in the last 41 seasons (Jackie McFarland had 325 in 2006-07). Miller’s 219 defensive rebounds set a program record, topping the 217 by LeaAnn Banks in 1985-86.
Payne took home a hefty amount in bonuses this season because of the Buffs’ success.
Per the contract extension she received two years ago, Payne hit incentives of $30,000 each for reaching 19 and 21 regular season wins. She then received bonuses of $25,000 for reaching the NCAA Tournament, $30,000 for reaching the second round and $50,000 for reaching the Sweet 16.
All told, Payne has earned $165,000 in bonuses and could add $10,000 to that if the team finishes with an APR (academic progress rate) score of 980 or better at the end of the school year. The team has topped 980 in each of the last 13 years.
According to ESPN, the Buffs’ game against Iowa in the Sweet 16 drew 1.3 million viewers, ranking third among the eight games. On average, Sweet 16 games drew 1.2 million viewers, the most on record and an increase of 73% from last year. … CU had four players average at least 11 points per game for the first time since the 1987-88 team. … Sherrod finished as the Pac-12’s leader in assists (5.06 per game) and steals (2.36 per game), while Aaronette Vonleh was second in field goal percentage (.585) and Miller was fifth in rebounding (8.9). … Vonleh fouled out nine times this season, tying the program record previously set by Banks in 1984-85. Overall, the Buffs had 22 foul outs, the most by a CU team since the 1986-87 team (23). … CU allowed just 32.9 rebounds per game, a program record. … The Buffs made 202 3-pointers, the fifth-best total in program history.