Colorado March Madness: CU women are going back to the Sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament

Washington St Colorado Basketball
David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado guard Kindyll Wetta (15), Colorado guard Maddie Nolan (24) and Colorado guard Jaylyn Sherrod in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Boulder, Colo.

Updated at 2:43 p.m. on March 24, 2024.

The University of Colorado women’s basketball team is headed back to the Sweet 16 for the second NCAA Tournament in a row. Four-seeded Colorado beat fifth-seeded Kansas State in a back-and-forth affair Sunday afternoon. The Buffs' deep bracket run led by senior star Jaylyn Sherrod is also significant due to the difficulty of their tournament region — dubbed the “Group of Death.”

CU will play Monday’s winner between West Virginia and 2023 NCAA Tournament runner-up Iowa. Colorado was eliminated by Iowa last year in the Sweet 16, as college basketball phenom Caitlin Clark led the Hawkeyes to the Final Four.  

The CU women are the highest-ranked college basketball team in the state and have played a big part in the women's basketball revolution this season led by stars like Clark and LSU's Angel Reese. Viewership for the women's game has jumped 60 percent this season. A record 9.9 million people tuned in to watch last year's championship game between LSU and Iowa – featuring Clark and Reese.

The Buffalo women's team is also the only basketball squad in the state still alive in March Madness. The CU men’s team lost in a tight game to Marquette earlier Sunday, and the CSU men’s team lost in the Round of 64 earlier last week.

Senior Tameiya Sadler scored all 10 of her points in the second half to lead a balanced scoring attack for the Buffs, who had to overcome a halftime deficit to beat a strong Kansas State side.

Colorado, which had six players with nine or more points, used an 11-2 run in the third quarter to grab its largest lead of the game at 48-41. The Buffaloes outscored K-State 19-7 in the third quarter to take a 52-42 lead into the fourth quarter.

This was the first home sellout for Kansas State since they hosted No. 1 UConn on Dec. 11, 2016.

The Wildcats (26-8) had multiple chances to trim the deficit to three in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get the shots to fall.

Gabby Gregory scored 12 points to lead Kansas State. Ayoka Lee added 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

Neither team could grab control in the first half. The first quarter ended with the score tied at 14. Kansas State used an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to open a 22-15 advantage, the largest by either team to that point.

Serena Sundell hit a 3-pointer later in the quarter and sank an accompanying free throw to give K-State a 33-24 lead. But Colorado responded with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 33-33.

The takeaway

Colorado: The Buffaloes were not intimidated by the partisan crowd. Every time K-State grabbed the momentum and the crowd got louder, the Buffs responded.

Kansas State: The Wildcats will be totally different next year without Lee, who anchors the middle on offense and defense. With 13 assists, K-State set a school record for assists in a season with (631). And with eight blocks, the Wildcats established a school record for blocks in a season 178.

Up next

Colorado: The Buffaloes will go to Albany to play the winner of Monday's game between No. 1 seed Iowa and No. 8 West Virginia.

Kansas State: The Wildcats are done for the season.

David Smale of the AP contributed to this story.