USAFA — Colorado needed every ounce of energy in its 58-53 win at Air Force on Sunday. The Buffaloes led for 33 minutes but needed the final two to pull out the team's second win of the young season.
The win also marked the first time Air Academy alum Kylee Blacksten returned to the Air Force Academy as she played for the Kadets from 2015 to 2019,
Colorado (2-0) was paced by junior Quay Miller and her 17 points and seven rebounds. The Buffs shot 51.1 percent (24-47) in the game, struggled with turnovers (24) and free throws (6-15). Junior Jaylyn Sherrod reached double figures for the first time this season, putting in 12 points to go with her six rebounds and four steals.
"We always want to be tough and gritty throughout a 40-minute game," head coach JR Payne explained. "Today provided us an opportunity to do that when we needed to. Collectively, we were able to execute certain things defensively and offensively when we needed to. A game like this should really make us better in the long run because there's so much to learn from it."
Air Force (1-1) had three players in double figures, led by Cierra Winters (16). Riley Snyder and Dasha MacMillian finished with 11 points apiece. The Falcons went 19-for-55 (34.5 percent) from the field, getting half their field goals from behind the 3-point line. The Falcons cut the Buffs lead to 1-point with less than 2 minutes to go in the game, but Colorado's Jaylyn Sherrod knocked down a wide-open three-pointer to extend the Colorado lead and seal the game.
"Today was 100 percent what I thought it would be," Payne added. "They're [AFA] tough. They're gritty. They pressure all over the floor. That's exactly what they did for 40 minutes today."
The win for the Buffs gives CU its first 2-0 start to a season away from Boulder since the 1987-88 season when they beat Creighton and St. Johns in Irvine, Calif.
In Blacksten's return to Colorado Springs, the sophomore guard saw limited action, only playing one minute. After the game Blacksten said it was nice coming back to play in front of her hometown fans.
"It was cool to come back," explained Blacksten, who said the biggest challenge from moving high school to Division I basketball is the speed and physicality of the game. "It is always so fun when you can play in your hometown. It is always fun to play in front of a hometown crowd."
The former Kadet also added she has gone through some growing pains, but hopes to earn more minutes with the Buffs moving forward.
Next, the Falcons will travel to California to play the San Diego Toreros on Wednesday, November 17. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 pm MT. For CU, heads back to the CU Events Center to tip off the home slate on Friday, hosting Marquette (7 p.m. MT).