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Three takeaways from Colorado Women's Basketball's NCAA Tournament run

Jake Schwanitz Avatar
March 25, 2023

The Colorado Buffaloes Women’s Basketball team’s incredible 2022-2023 season has come to an end. After the Buffs produced upsets over #8 Utah, #14 Arizona and #8 UCLA it was obvious that this team was special.

Colorado nearly knocked off #3 Stanford at the CU Events Center in their penultimate regular season game and put the basketball world on notice as a team that could do some damage in the NCAA Tournament.

A second-round loss to Washington State in the Pac-12 Tournament was a disappointment, but it was only the start of what ended up being a fantastic 2023 NCAA Tournament run.

Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s Sweet 16 run.

Jaylyn Sherrod is Ms. Buff

No one embodied what it meant to be a Buff more than Jalyln Sherrod this season. Her passion, effort and want-to-win is palpable and was the driving force for the Buffs throughout Colorado’s Tournament run.

Since joining the program for the 2019-2020 season, she has been a key contributor at Colorado. In her four years as a Buff, she averaged 9.9 points per game, 4.4 assists per game and 3.1 rebounds per game.

Despite only being 5-foot-7, her fearlessness in attacking loose balls, driving into the paint and making tough plays all over the court not only inspired her team but all of Buff Nation and beyond.

Sherrod is the type of player that leaves a lasting effect on the program and when you watch her on the court its obvious why she is so universally loved.

In the Sweet 16 against Iowa, Sherrod got into foul trouble early and without her toughness on the court, Iowa was able to go on multiple runs while she was on the bench.

Hats off to you, Jaylyn Sherrod. You are what it means to be a Colorado Buffalo.

Frida Formann is a walking flamethrower

They call her Three-da for a reason.

Formann burst onto the scene during the 2020-2021 season shooting 41% from behind the arc and averaging 12.4 points per game. While her 2022-2023 points per game average was slightly below her freshman season (11.7 points per game), she shot 39% from three and hit at least four three-pointers in six games.

Non more impressive than the Buffs’ first-round Tournament matchup against Middle Tennessee when she went 5 for 8 from three-point land and led all players in scoring with 21 points.

In the Sweet 16 against Iowa, she hit four threes and led the Buffs in scoring with 21 points and kept Colorado in the game at multiple points with some huge shots.

While she only scored nine points and hit 3 of her 11 field goal attempts against Duke, Formann had four overtime points that helped the Buffs build a lead and upset the #3 Duke Blue Devils on their home court.

At halftime of Colorado’s Sweet 16 matchup against Iowa, Formann was the leading scorer in the game was outshooting the vaunted Caitlin Clark.

Clark and the Hawkeyes turned it on in the second half to beat the Buffs and advance to the Elite 8, but without Formann none of this would have been possible.

JR Payne has built an incredible program

When Coach Payne was hired to be Colorado’s women’s basketball coach in 2016, her Buffaloes only had a 17-16 record. The next two seasons Payne’s team had records of 15-16 and 12-18 in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 respectively. Since then, she has compiled a 75-42 record.

Speaking at a press conference in Boulder last Tuesday, Coach Payne spoke about how she constructed her team.

“We recruited players that wanted to come here and make a difference,” Payne said. “When we recruit they know our history, they know there’s a history of excellence here in the women’s basketball program.”

Before this season, it had been 20 years since the Buffs had made the Sweet 16. Now, Colorado women’s basketball has been brought back to the heights the team saw throughout the 90s and early 2000s.

“We knew that we had the potential to be special,” Payne said. “It takes a lot of hard work and togetherness and a little bit of luck with health and injuries and things. But I think all along we knew we had this in us.”

While CU may be losing Jaylyn Sherrod, Quay Miller, Tayanna Jones and Charlotte Whittaker to graduation, Colorado has a pair of four-star recruits and top-100 players in the 2023 recruiting class joining the team in Kennedy Sanders and Ruthie Loomis-Goltl.

JR Payne has successfully rebuilt Colorado’s women’s basketball program and laid the foundation for multiple years of success on the court.

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