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JR Payne and the Buffaloes state their ambitions at Pac-12 Media Day

The CU women are looking to compete for the Pac-12 title.

NCAA Women’s Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A couple key women of the Colorado women’s basketball team made their way to Las Vegas for an eventful Pac-12 Media Day. The squad is poised to make some serious noise this year, and the expectations for the group have never been higher. Head coach JR Payne, as well as forward Quay Miller and guard Frida Formann, were all in Vegas to represent the Buffs. The group made their goal for the season very clear: to be great.

“Our goal is to just be great,” said Payne in her mainstage interview. “A lot of people will ask me, how far do you want to go this year? What are your team goals? Our goal is to be great today and then tomorrow we have the same goal.”

If there was one recurring theme for the Buffs today, it would be the excitement for their opening game against Louisiana State. In less than a month, Colorado women’s hoops will make their return to Vegas to take on the Tigers at T-Mobile Arena. The game will be broadcast on national television via TNT.

“It’s gonna be awesome to have that national exposure across the country for our program against a team like LSU,” said Payne. “I think that stage is a neat opportunity for us.”

That LSU game is going to be no easy task for the Buffs. The Tigers are the reigning NCAA champions and are heavily favored to repeat. However, it’s not a task that Payne and her team aren’t up to. Payne scheduled this non-conference matchup because she believes that the Buffs can make a big splash with an upset.

“I think when you look at how tough our schedule is, that tells you how I feel about our team and our readiness to compete. We wanted to be challenged.” told Payne.

Payne touched on just how ready this CU team is to make a serious run on Tuesday. Almost all of CU’s players decided to stay and run it back for the 2023-24 season. Because of that, the Buffs are in a tremendous spot to make some noise this year. This group knows they’re really good, and they’re ready to show the world what they are capable of.

“We are starting further ahead than we ever have before. Not just the X’s and O’s, but also really just the mentality and mindset of our group.” Payne said. “If we had to play today, we could. I think that’s a good thing for us going into the season.”

As for the players representing Colorado, many expected to see guard Jaylyn Sherrod sitting alongside Miller. Instead, Frida Formann was chosen as one of CU’s two players. According to coach Payne, it was actually Sherrod’s idea to have Formann get some well deserved time in the spotlight in Vegas.

“Jaylyn said, let’s have Frida come to media day this year. She’s a great teammate.” Payne told the media.

Speaking of the spotlight, Payne chimed in on the subject by saying that the Buffs don’t get enough of it. This Colorado team is really, really good. They went on an impressive Sweet 16 run last year, losing to eventual runner-up Iowa. Despite that, nobody seems to be talking about them. This hasn’t phased Payne’s squad though.

“I don’t think [they get the respect they deserve]. But I also don’t think they mind,” said Payne. “The way they’re built, they don’t need the shine.”

Despite the excitement for what is shaping up to be a very fun season for CU women’s hoops, the vibe was a little bittersweet at media day. This will be the Buffs’ last media day as a member of the Pac-12, as they will make the jump to the Big XII next season. Coach Payne reminisced on her experience with the Pac-12.

“Most of us grew up loving the Pac-10,” said coach Payne. “There’s nothing that anybody could ever do to erase what has happened and the success that has happened in this conference, so I’m very thankful for all of that.”

Colorado women’s basketball will open their season with that massive game against LSU on November 6th in Vegas. This season is shaping up to be the most exciting and eventful season for the team in many years. Media Day isn’t over either, as Tad Boyle and the men will make an appearance on Wednesday morning.