The Colorado Buffaloes’ dream season continued last night as Kindyll Wetta’s last-second three-pointer toppled the #8 UCLA Bruins in overtime.
J.R. Payne’s team is no stranger to upsets over top-10 teams, as they knocked off the previously undefeated Utah Utes earlier this season, and many of these same players were around for their win over #1 Stanford in 2021. This team knew exactly what it had to do against a talented Bruins that can be sped up and made uncomfortable by defensive pressure.
After a starting slow because of foul trouble and poor shooting, the Buffs hit their stride when Wetta and Jaylyn Sherrod started causing havoc on the defensive end. It’s been repeated time and time again, but my goodness do these two cover ground on defense. They were only credited with three steals total, but they forced UCLA guards Kiki Rice and Charisma Osborne into a combined 4/25 from the field and 10 turnovers.
The Buffs allowed a ton of offensive rebounds, but when they did secure the boards they were determined to run. Sherrod and Wetta might be the fastest guards in the conference and they were a blur in transition. Many of their 12 combined assists found Aaronette Vonleh running the floor, Frida Formann with her quick trigger and Quay Miller doing everything you want from a playmaking stretch big en route to a casual 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Colorado outplayed UCLA, but to their credit the Bruins made some clutch threes, scored off second chance points and converted more of their free throws. Gabriela Jaquez, Jaime’s little sister, was a problem off the bench as the Buffs had no one to match her combination of size, skill and athleticism. Payne was probably relieved that Cori Close only played the freshman wing 17 minutes because this game might not have made it to overtime.
Sherrod took over in the extra period, driving to the rim pretty much anytime she wanted and drawing fouls on most of those. There was an injury scare when the senior guard hit a runner and went down grabbing her leg, but fortunately it was just cramps and she returned. A minute later, with the score tied 70-70, Sherrod found Wetta in the corner for the decisive shot. The whole team mobbed the Colorado girl and started celebrating with 2.1 seconds still on the clock.
The Buffs are now 16-4 on the season and 7-2 in the Pac-12, good for third place in a loaded conference. They have a chance to continue their winning ways with a Sunday matchup against USC (15-5) before visiting Oregon (14-6) and Oregon State (11-9). If the Buffs win two of three, they’re in great shape for a top-4 finish in the conference and a possible top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.