Colorado Women’s Basketball Shocks No. 1 LSU in Season Opener


The Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team made a stunning statement in their first game of the 2023-24 season, defeating the No. 1 ranked and defending national champion LSU Tigers 92-78 in Las Vegas on Monday night. The Buffaloes, who were ranked No. 20 in the preseason AP poll, showed no fear against the Tigers, who had added two of the top transfers in the country to their already loaded roster. Colorado hit 10 three-pointers, shot 53.2% from the field, and forced 19 turnovers in a dominant performance that sent shockwaves across the college basketball world.


Buffaloes Embrace the Challenge of Facing No. 1 LSU

Colorado head coach JR Payne said before the game that his team wanted to challenge themselves against the best in the nation, and that they were not intimidated by LSU’s reputation or talent. “For a game like this that a large part of the world said no to and a large part of the world said why would you play that game? It was everything that we wanted,” Payne said after the win. “We wanted a challenge and we wanted to take our team into the national spotlight so that I can show the world how great they are. I’m really proud of how we played, proud of how we competed and it’s a great start to the year.”

The Buffaloes proved their coach right, as they played with confidence, poise, and aggressiveness from the start. They took an early 6-2 lead and never trailed by more than six points in the first half. They closed the second quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 41-38 lead into halftime, and then opened the third quarter with a 12-2 burst to extend their lead to 13 points. They led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter, and never let the Tigers get closer than 12 points in the final period.

Formann, Vonleh, and Sherrod Lead the Way for Colorado

Colorado’s victory was fueled by three outstanding performances from their returning starters: Frida Formann, Aaronette Vonleh, and Jaylyn Sherrod. Formann, a junior guard from Denmark, tied a program record with seven three-pointers and scored a career-high 27 points. She also added five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Vonleh, a sophomore forward from Oregon, was unstoppable in the paint, scoring 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. Sherrod, a junior guard from Alabama, was the catalyst for Colorado’s offense, scoring 19 points and dishing out six assists. She also had eight rebounds and three steals, and provided leadership and energy for her team.

The trio combined for 71 of Colorado’s 92 points, and shot 25-of-38 (65.8%) from the field. They also played solid defense, helping to limit LSU’s star players and forcing them into tough shots and turnovers.

LSU Suffers Historic Loss in Mulkey’s Debut

LSU entered the season as the overwhelming favorite to repeat as national champions, after winning the 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament with a 24-0 record. The Tigers returned four starters from that team, including Angel Reese, the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, who averaged 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season. They also added two of the most coveted transfers in the nation: Hailey Van Lith, a sophomore guard who averaged 12.7 points per game at Baylor last season, and Aneesah Morrow, a freshman forward who was the No. 2 recruit in the 2023 class.

However, the Tigers looked out of sync and overwhelmed by Colorado’s pressure and intensity. They shot just 41.8% from the field and 21.1% from three-point range, and committed 19 turnovers that led to 23 points for the Buffaloes. Reese had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but needed 15 shots to get there. Van Lith and Morrow combined for 20 points on 6-of-20 shooting. The Tigers also struggled to contain Colorado’s shooters, who made 10-of-23 (43.5%) from beyond the arc.

The loss was a historic one for LSU, as they became the first reigning champion to lose their season opener since UConn in 1995. They also became the first No. 1 team in the AP preseason poll to lose their opener since that same UConn team in 1995. It was also the worst loss for LSU in Kim Mulkey’s tenure as head coach, as she had never lost by more than 14 points in her previous 21 seasons at Baylor.

What’s Next for Both Teams

Colorado will look to build on their impressive win when they face Le Moyne on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The Buffaloes will hope to carry their momentum into the Pac-12 season, where they will face tough competition from teams like Stanford, Oregon, and UCLA. Colorado reached the Sweet 16 last season for the first time since 2002, and will aim to go even further this season.

LSU will try to bounce back from their stunning loss when they host Queens on Thursday in Baton Rouge. The Tigers will have plenty of opportunities to redeem themselves in the SEC season, where they will face rivals like South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. LSU will also have a chance to avenge their loss to Colorado when they host the Buffaloes on Dec. 19. LSU will still be considered one of the favorites to win the national title, but they will have to improve their chemistry and consistency to do so.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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