Quay Miller has shown improvement in each season of her college basketball career.
An opportunity to play a bonus season and get even better was too good to pass up for the Colorado senior. In late March, Miller announced that she will return for a fifth and final season, as she hopes to improve her game and help the Buffaloes build on a great 2022-23 campaign.
“I just felt like this was the right place for me to be,” said Miller, a 6-foot-3 center who played two years at Washington before spending the last two at CU. “If I could go back, I probably would have just been here my whole collegiate career.
“I think what really ignited me to stay was just seeing how far we went and seeing the progress we made from last year with losing major keys. I guess it’s my belief in this team to go even further next season. I think that’s what just really influenced my decision to come back.”
Miller earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in helping the Buffs (25-9) to a third-place finish in the conference and the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance in 20 years.
At Washington, Miller was a role player as a freshman and a full-time starter as a sophomore, but the Huskies went just 20-31 in those two seasons. Although she grew up about 30 minutes from the UW campus, Miller wasn’t happy and transferred to CU in the summer of 2021.
At CU, Miller has flourished. She came off the bench for all 31 games of the 2021-22 season, but scored a career-best 10.6 points per game, while averaging 5.1 rebounds. She was named the Pac-12’s sixth player of the year, an honor that goes to the best non-starter in the conference.
This year, Miller had career-best averages for points (13.1) and rebounds (8.9). Despite a late-season slump, she dramatically improved her 3-point percentage to .330 (38-of-115) and had the best free throw percentage of her career (.768).
“I think that I’m most pleased about my approach to the game (this year),” she said. “I think that I had more good games than I had bad games. The main thing that I really want to focus on (next year) is just staying consistent throughout the season. I know that I had a few off games towards the end of the season and … it was just not like me. My spirit was in it, but I can’t really do anything with just having a good spirit and being a good sport. I need to be able to make shots and finish games and I think that’s just something I want to work on.”
Miller had an uncharacteristic rough stretch late in the regular season. Then, she scored a total of two points on 0-for-16 shooting in the Buffs’ two Pac-12 Tournament games in Las Vegas.
During the three-game NCAA Tournament run, however, Miller got back on track. She had 29 points and 28 rebounds in the last two games and became just the second player in CU history to record a double-double in consecutive NCAA Tournament games.
Perhaps the biggest step of Miller’s season, however, was in becoming a leader. She put that on display in the Buffs’ final game. She struggled to hit shots early in an 87-77 loss to Iowa, but got extremely aggressive in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points to help the Buffs cut a 16-point deficit down to four in the final two minutes.
“That’s when I was just like, ‘All right, I gotta take as many shots as I can, regardless of if they go in or not, because I’m the team’s leading scorer,’” she said. “In games like that, where, like, I know I have to step up and be the leader I am, I’m not scared to (compared to) last year when I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes or my sophomore year when I just didn’t understand enough to do that type of takeover.”
This offseason, Miller wants to improve her ball handling, footwork and consistency. But, she also hopes to continue as a leader for a team that returns four starters and eight rotational players and has an eye on returning to the Sweet 16 and beyond.
“That’s why I’m staying here for a majority of my summer just so I can get those weaknesses a little bit stronger and so I can improve from where I was this season,” she said. “And, let there be no drop off and just get better from where I am now.”
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