CU Buffs’ Quay Miller refocused, ready for NCAA Tournament – The Denver Post

In making the decision to transfer from Washington to Colorado two summers ago, Quay Miller didn’t expect back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament.

She knew, however, that she was going to a team that was on the rise and she wanted to be a part of it.

“The team we are, we were built for this moment,” Miller said Sunday after the Buffaloes were officially announced as one of the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament field. “So it’s not really surprising; it’s more so like, ‘OK, we achieved this and now we’ve got to just keep it rolling.’”

On Saturday, the 21st-ranked and sixth-seeded Buffaloes (23-8) will square off with 11th-seeded Middle Tennessee (28-4) in the first round of the tournament at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. (5 p.m. MT, ESPNews).

A 6-foot-3 senior center, Miller has been a major factor in both of CU’s tournament runs the last two seasons.

Last year, she was the Pac-12’s sixth player of the year, coming off the bench to average 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

This year, she’s been a full-time starter and was named first-team All-Pac-12 after leading the Buffs in scoring (13.2 points per game) and rebounding (8.5 per game). At the team awards banquet on Sunday, she was named the Buffs’ offensive player of the year and received the Lisa Van Goor rebounding award.

Miller enters the tournament looking to get back on track, however.

An exceptional shooter most of the year, Miller has made just 10-of-55 shots (18.2%) in the last five games and she’s 1-for-22 (4.5%) on 3-pointers in the last six. Two weeks ago at the Pac-12 tournament, she was 0-for-16 from floor (0-of-6 from 3-point range) and scored just two points in the Buffs’ two games.

“It was hard,” she said. “Having the support system I have and being able to be around people who love me and it’s more than about basketball (that helps). … I know that’s not who I am. I know others know that’s not who I am and I’m good at the end of the day.”

Throughout much of this season, Miller has been CU’s best player and, typically, the most consistent. She has scored in double figures in 25 of the Buffs’ 31 games and had a stretch of six double-doubles in eight games during the last month of the regular season.

That’s why the Buffs are confident in her going forward.

“She’s proven herself over 30 games that she’s one of the best players in this conference, which speaks to her consistency,” head coach JR Payne said after the Buffs’ semifinal loss to Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament. “Definitely had a tough weekend but I appreciate she kept talking, kept encouraging, kept playing hard.

“I wouldn’t expect this to continue to last but definitely want to get her feeling well and be ready to rock by tournament time.”

In watching film of the past few games, Miller said she hasn’t noticed dramatic issues with her game.

“It’s not like I’m just out there doing stuff uncharacteristic,” she said. “I’m missing shots I usually make and that just comes with being in the lab a little bit more and that’s just what I did.”

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CU was off last week and by the time it plays MTSU, it will have been 15 days in between games. That has given Miller time to regroup.

“I feel good,” she said. “I just really had to lock in and pray and just get back right. I think that the (Pac-12) tournament was a test to my faith and I think that I had to really just talk with God more and ask Him for what I need and pray with Him. I think that’s just something I had to prioritize after the tournament and having that mental reset.”

A year ago, Miller sputtered in the Pac-12 tournament but rebounded with a good game (12 points, five rebounds, 4-of-7 shooting) off the bench against Creighton in the NCAA Tournament. Having a week to re-set, Miller is eager to repeat that bounce-back from a year ago.

“I’m ready to play again,” she said. “I know that those last two games weren’t me and that’s why I’m most excited.”

Of course, the opportunity to be with the Buffs in March Madness again is thrilling, too.

“It’s surreal, being able to see it on TV as a kid and now being able to be a part of it,” she said. “Just being able to take this moment in and really understand the importance of it and just have fun at the end of the day, as well.”


In Monday’s final Associated Press poll of the season, CU dropped one spot to No. 21. Middle Tennessee dropped out the rankings, despite winning the Conference USA title. MTSU was No. 25 a week ago. … Point guard Jaylyn Sherrod was named the Buffs’ team MVP. Other awards went to Kindyll Wetta (defensive player of the year), Aaronette Vonleh (weight room award, newcomer of the year), Tameiya Sadler (scholar-athlete award) and Charlotte Whittaker (Ceal Barry Pride Award).

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