CU’s big matchup against NC State in the Paradise Jam Championship tipped off at 11AM Mountain Time, and the Buffs certainly played like it, coming out slow and falling too far behind to recover in their first loss of the season. The Wolfpack cruised to a 78-60 win, sending the #3 Buffs to 6-1 on the year.
Early shots just weren’t falling on Saturday afternoon, and the Buffs found themselves down 22-6 after a first quarter which saw them go 2-12 from the field. Jaylyn Sherrod – who had a team-high 20 points and was one of only two Buffs who scored double digits – scored four of those six points.
On both ends, the Buffs’ struggles under the basket was a major factor in the loss. State center River Baldwin had herself a game, scoring a game- and career-high 24 points to go along with 8 rebounds and two assists while keeping Quay Miller to five points, only one off her season low. On the day, NC State outscored the Buffs 36-14 in the paint.
“I think it was a combination of the two. I mean their posts players are very big,” head coach JR Payne said after the game. “They’re the biggest post players we’ve seen and there are several of them that they run out there. Their forwards are really athletic and long. They’re able to switch aggressively and they did a really good job defensively. They are a really good defensive team.”
Despite a much better 2nd quarter – the Buffs actually outscored State 20-19 – Baldwins’ 16 first half points put CU in too large of a hole to climb out of. An 8-0 run, thanks to back-to-back threes from Maddy Nolan, cut the lead some, but State continued to find ways to respond. Even with the Buffs outscoring State in the final quarter, their poor shooting throughout kept them out of comeback range for most of the game.
After a busy stretch which featured four games in seven days, the Buffs are back in Boulder on Tuesday for a game against Boston University. Tipoff is at 6PM.l