LUBBOCK, Texas — On the bright side, the Colorado women’s basketball team got a game Wednesday to learn a lot from.
Unfortunately, it came on a frustrating, whistle-filled night.
The Buffaloes nearly overcame one of the highest foul counts in program history before hosting Texas Tech in preseason WNIT at the United Supermarkets Arena, 86-85 in overtime.
Tameiya Sadler’s desperate layup attempt came just before final buzzer as the Buffs lost their first game of the season (3-1). CU nearly won despite being hit with 34 fouls – the second most in program history. The only time a CU team had more was on February 13, 1981, when the Buffs had 36 fouls in a Utah loss.
“We never have a foul like that,” said CU head coach JR Payne. “You can go back six years and probably never find a game where we fouled that much with this ball club veteran.”
In fact, in Payne’s seven seasons so far, the high foul total for CU was 28. That night, three Buffs — Jaylyn Sherrod, Frida Formann, and Jada Wynn — and three other Buffs had four fouls.
Texas Tech capitalized, hitting 36 of 41 free throws (87.8%). The Red Raiders were hit with 24 fouls and the buffs were 23 of 32 (71.9%) off the line.
“It was very frustrating because from possession to possession we had no idea what it was going to be called,” Payne said. “That’s a really tough question to ask a team. We say, ‘Make the adjustment.’ … What attitude? What should I do? It was just very, very frustrating.”
Quay Miller had a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Buffs while Sherrod had 19 of their 21 points in the second half.
CU sizzled early and made 11 of 15 shots in the first quarter to take a 27-20 lead. But at 1:35 into the first quarter, Texas Tech head coach Krista Gerlich was hit by a technical foul.
“After their coach suffered a technical foul, I thought the game had had its name changed,” Payne said. “After that it was super, super close.”
Still, CU extended their lead to 16 points, at 39-23, with 4:13 to play in the second quarter. However, the Red Raiders finished the half with an 11-2 run and then opened the second half with a 10-3 run to keep the game at 44-44.
Texas Tech never led by more than three, but there were 11 lead changes, most of them on track.
“It was very difficult to play a game like that,” Payne said. “It was very difficult to get into any rhythm because everything was a foul and a free throw and then you stop, you play a dead ball out.”
Payne was pleased with Sherrod’s performance in the second half. After just two points in the first half, the senior point guard had 14 in the third quarter.
“Jay is just very, very competitive and so she’s going to do everything humanly possible to help us win and she just did,” Payne said. “She found ways to go downhill, gotten a few steals and even created a bit with her defense. She was phenomenal.”
Unfortunately for the Buffs, it wasn’t enough as they lost a 14-game winning streak in non-conference regular-season games.
“Every time we speak up is an opportunity to learn, but this game is better for us than a 20-point win over someone who doesn’t necessarily challenge us in that way,” Payne said. “I’m disappointed with the result but certainly happy that we had the opportunity to play against a strong side on their floor in a very challenging environment. I think we can definitely learn a lot from this.
“Next week we will be a better team because of a game like this.”
Snapshot: CU buffs at Texas Tech
turning point: The lead changed hands 11 times, but the final turning point came in the middle of overtime. CU scored the first three points of the Extra session but had back-to-back turnovers and Texas Tech scored four straight points to take the lead, sparking a 6-2 run in the finals at 2-11.
Game Buff: Kai Mueller. She hit another double-double with a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. She also linked her career with five steals.
What’s next?: The Buffs host the Air Force at 2 p.m. Saturday