Featured photo by Matt Posey
Story by Calvin White
Durham, NC- Powered by a barrage of outside shooting, the No. 6 seed Colorado Buffaloes made 13 3-pointers on its way to an 82-60 dismantling of Middle Tennessee women’s basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Colorado (24-8) disrupted all of MTSU’s offensive action from tip-off and did not allow the Lady Raiders to get many open shot attempts. MTSU shot just 4-for-16 from the floor in the first quarter on its way to a 22-11 deficit after one frame. MTSU cut the Buffalo lead to five late in the second quarter but a 9-0 run by Colorado to end the half stretched its lead to 42-28 at intermission.
The Buffaloes put the game away in the third quarter after they scorched the Lady Raiders in transition by sinking six-of-nine 3-point attempts in the quarter to extend their lead to 26 at the quarter’s end.
In her first NCAA Tournament game, Savannah Wheeler scored 15 points to go along with Kseniya Malashka’s 13. Anastasiia Boldyreva tallied 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
I thought that Colorado came out and really really played,” MTSU head coach Rick Insell said. “I think they’re averaging five threes a game and tonight they made 13 threes. And we played pretty good defense. On our offensive end, they were very aggressive with us, not allowing us to get into our offense. I didn’t say they were fouling now, they were aggressive, they did a good job. Their game plan was excellent, they caused us problems early and knocked down some shots.”
Colorado outrebounded MTSU 43-29, including 12-9 on the offensive glass. The Buffaloes converted their offensive rebounds into 13 second chance points while the Lady Raiders scored just six second chance points.
MTSU’s defensive gameplan was to clog the paint and make Colorado beat them with their outside shooting. The Buffaloes did just that by draining 13-of-27 3-point attempts, their highest total in a single game this season. MTSU was only 4-for-24 from long-range.
“They were aggressive, with the post players, up top, setting screens,” Wheeler said. “All we had to do is try to match their physicality. Credit to them. You know, they did a great job of defending. I thought we had a heck of a year. I’m really proud of this group. Proud that I came here. And just ready to get back to work for next season.”
Calvin White is the sports editor for MTSU Sidelines. If you have information for a story, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.