It all begins tonight for the Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team. Fresh off their first Sweet Sixteen appearance in 20 years, JR Payne’s team returns virtually every contributor from her 25-win team. This team has every intention of competing for the Pac-12 title and making even more noise in the NCAA Tournament.
All eyes will be on the Buffs as the open their season against the LSU Tigers, the reigning national champions. The Tigers are led by Angel Reese and head coach Kim Mulkey, who went 34-2 and rolled through the Iowa Hawkeyes in the title game. Reese might be the most impactful player in the country outside Iowa City, as the senior averaged a ridiculous 23 points and 15 rebounds last season.
The Buffs can beat the Tigers. They have shown over the last few seasons that they can beat anyone in the country in any given night. It all starts on the defensive end, where the Buffs have built an identity around defense, rebounding and pushing the ball in transition. Jaylyn Sherrod might be the best defensive guard in the country and Kindyll Wetta causes all kinds of chaos herself. Those two set the tone, while Quay Miller and Aaronette Vonleh will do everything they can to control the paint on both sides of the floor.
The swing factor for the Buffs is usually shooting. Miller and Frida Formann were CU’s only reliable shooters last season, but Payne went out and brought in Maddie Nolan from Michigan to provide a bit more shooting on the wing. That should generally help the halfcourt offense as Nolan will open up driving lanes for Sherrod and Wetta. All these women will have to play great tonight, but we’ve seen it before and this team is probably the best CU basketball team since the Ceal Barry’s dominant run in the 1990s.
Playing at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Colorado vs. LSU will tip off at 5:30 MT and can be streamed on TNT. You can access the women’s schedule here and find tickets here. If you’re not actively supporting this team, you should be, and the tickets are much better and cheaper than the men’s team.