After an absolute nail-biter of a game, the Buffs managed to escape Pullman with a narrow 63-57 win over Washington State. Despite the team having yet another lackluster shooting performance, Frida Formann carried the Buffaloes to their eighth conference win of the season.
To start the game, Formann gave Colorado a glimpse of things to come. After two made layups from Aaronette Vonleh, Formann knocked down an impressive contested jumper in the paint, followed by a wide open three-pointer. Formann’s five quick points gave the Buffs a 9-5 lead, but the team couldn’t stop Wazzu’s scoring pursuit. The Cougs attacked Colorado from midrange in the first, hitting three jumpers in the latter half of the quarter. When things settled, both teams were tied at 15 points.
Neither team looked their best during the second quarter. Colorado shot only 4 for 13 from the field and 0-4 from deep, while Wazzu didn’t fare much better. The Cougs made 6 of their 16 FG attempts and only 1 of their 5 threes. Colorado’s only player who could consistently find the net in the second was Vonleh, whose two layups accounted for 4 of Colorado’s 10 second quarter points. It was looking as though the teams would head to halftime tied at 25 points, but that wasn’t meant to be. Wazzu’s Tara Wallack hit from deep with only 1 second left to play, sending the Cougs the locker rooms with a 28-25 lead and all the momentum.
Perhaps frazzled by Wazzu’s miraculous three-pointer to end the half, the Buffs just didn’t look right to start the third. Colorado only scored two points during the first 4 minutes of the third, allowing the Cougs to build a 6 point lead. It felt like things could be getting out of control, just like in that Oregon State game. However, the Buffs decided it was time to get back to basics: having Formann huck up shots from deep.
Formann understood the assignment and took matters into her own hands, hitting back-to-back-to-back threes to give the Buffs a 39-38 lead. Frida’s heroics seemingly inspired her teammates, as Colorado’s offense woke up to close the third.
With just 10 seconds left in the third, Jaylyn Sherrod drew a foul and hit her first free-throw. After that, the Buffs decided they wanted to score four points the fun way. Sherrod clanked her second three throw, but an excellent offensive rebound and layup from Vonleh negated any damage. Vonleh drew a foul while throwing up that layup and hit her and-one, securing a four point play for the Buffs. Vonleh’s heroics sent Colorado to the fourth on a 6-0 in the span of only 10 seconds of game-clock.
Wazzu didn’t show any quit, as a 6-0 Cougars run gave them a two point lead with around five minutes to play. When the Buffs found themselves down in the fourth quarter, it was none-other than Formann who came to the rescue. Her two consecutive three-pointers gave the Buffs a four point lead; one that they’d never relinquish.
The Cougs hung in there, keeping Colorado’s lead to four points until there was only one minute to play. Colorado kept finding Formann down the stretch, making Wazzu intentionally foul her and prey that she’d somehow miss her freebies. That strategy proved to be futile, as Formann continued her stellar night by hitting 5 of her 6 shots from the line to put Wazzu away for good. It was a really close one, but Formann’s incredible performance secured a 63-57 Buffaloes win.
Formann finished the game with an astounding 27 points, shooting 6-9 from deep. Frida wasn't the only Buff with a fantastic individual performance however, as Quay Miller and Aaronete Vonleh’s impact shouldn’t be understated. Miller was a force to be reckoned with in the defensive paint, snagging 12 defensive boards and 15 total rebounds in Colorado’s win. Vonleh’s 20 points and heads up play to close the third quarter also helped the Buffs leave Pullman with a win.
Colorado’s record now moves to 18-3 (8-2 in the Pac-12). The Buffs will cap off their gauntlet of the Pacific Northwest teams on Sunday when they face off against Washington in Seattle. The Buffs will be heavy favorites against the Huskies, so it shouldn’t be as stressful as Friday was in Pullman. Fans can tune in on the Pac-12 Network at 1:00 pm local.