Buffs are back in the Sweet 16 with a Caitlin Clark rematch looming

Mar 24, 2024, 2:35 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2024, 7:03 pm

Colorado Buffaloes...

Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Colorado Buffaloes have done it in a second-straight season, winning a true road game to advance to the Sweet 16 with a possible rematch against Caitlin Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes.

The Buffaloes beat Kansas State in Manhattan on Sunday 63-50 in the Round of 32, after topping Drake on Friday. JR Payne’s unit is going to the Sweet 16 again, where they lost to Iowa last season. But now the Buffaloes could get a rematch with the Hawkeyes just needing a win on Monday against West Virginia to meet Colorado on Friday or Saturday.

Maddie Nolan led Colorado in scoring in the Sunday slugfest, notching just 11. The Buffaloes won on the back of the boards—grabbing six more than the Wildcats—great free throw shooting at 19-of-25 for the contest—and balanced scoring with six Buffaloes counted for nine or more. Quay Miller tallied 10 points and rebounds while Aaronette Vonleh put together a strong game with nine points, eight rebounds and seven steals.

Colorado will travel from Kansas to Albany for their next rounds where Clark likely looms and then after, a possible rematch with defending champions LSU as well. To start with, Clark is about to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft, is the reigning Player of the Year and is likely to get that honor again. At 31.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists a game, she has captivated the nation with her play. Last year Clark scored 31 points en route to an 87-77 win. The Hawkeyes then met LSU in the title game, a win for the Tigers.

And then the Tigers opened up this season with a loss to Payne’s Buffaloes. If LSU can make it that far, they will have revenge in mind.

For the Buffaloes, it’s Payne’s third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. They have been led by Pac-12 first-teamers Jaylyn Sherrod and Vonleh. Sherrod throws a team-high five assists a game to go with a team-leading 2.2 steals a night and 13 points a contest, while Vonleh scores a team-best 14 a game on 56% shooting. Knockdown shooter Frida Formann and rebounder Miller round out Payne’s top options for topping Clark’s Iowa or West Virginia, if they pull the massive upset.


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