In a program-defining victory, the CU women’s basketball team (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) upset the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) in overtime at the CU Events Center on Sunday. Senior forward Mya Hollingshed shot for a career-high 32 points to avenge a pair of heartbreaking losses to the Cardinal last season.
The 77-72 win marked just the third time in CU athletics history that a Buffaloes team brought down a No. 1 ranked opponent.
“I have a thousand thoughts running through my head, all of them are positive and excited and I’m just unbelievably proud of our ballclub,” head coach JR Payne said. “I told them all that there (are) a thousand reasons I’m proud of them. The way we performed today was the biggest.”
CU women’s basketball hadn’t beaten Stanford since 2002 and early in the game, it appeared that streak would continue. Stanford surged out to an 8-0 lead in just over two minutes of play. Payne said that she doesn’t often “light into” her team, but she believed it was necessary when she called a timeout to halt Stanford.
Out of the timeout, Hollingshed nailed a three-point basket to kick off her historic afternoon. She hit another three-pointer soon after and then early in the second quarter, hit one to bring CU all the way back and tie the game at 17.
Stanford’s height and physicality caused the Buffs problems early and often. The Cardinal outscored CU 46-30 in the paint and blocked seven CU shots. With little success under the basket, Colorado was 4-for-7 beyond the arc in the first half to hang around.
“I know we were just trying to be aggressive and Stanford is so big that we couldn’t just pop Mya or (junior forward) Peanut (Tuitele) or anybody under the basket and thrown the ball, we had to try to pull them a little bit away from the hoop,” Payne said. “I think that helps that Mya is a great face-up shooter.”
Halfway through the second quarter, Tuitele received the full wrath of Stanford’s physicality when she was slammed to the ground on a Cardinal layup attempt. Tuitele exited the game but returned with vengeance in the third quarter.
“We weren’t even sure if Peanut would get to play the second half, she was pretty banged up after that fall that she took,” Payne said. “She’s just such a tough, resilient kid. Unless she had an arm taken off, she’s going do everything she can to be in the ballgame.”
Colorado took control of the paint in the third quarter as Tuitele scored six and CU out-rebounded Stanford 14-10. Hollingshed grabbed five of her double-double inducing 10 rebounds but despite the hard work, Stanford led 53-51 entering the final quarter.
Hollingshed took over again to score nine of Colorado’s first 12 points in the ensuing five minutes. She then nailed a jump shot with 2:40 remaining in regulation to knot things up at 65.
Sophomore guard Jaylyn Sherrod had a fairly quiet first three quarters but was the focus of attention in the final minute of regulation. Still tied at 65, Sherrod missed a pair of free throws but didn’t let the disappointment linger long. Now down two points, Sherrod intercepted a Stanford sideline inbound pass and dashed to the rim, tying the game at 67.
“Honestly, I just kind of read it,” Sherrod said. “I kind of knew they were going to try to get the ball into the point guard and had it timed defending it.”
Stanford missed a layup at the buzzer and Sherrod’s missed free throws were soon forgotten heading into overtime.
“Last year (against Stanford) we missed our free throws, and Jaylyn (Sherrod) was a part of that,” Payne said. “She could have easily let herself go back into that place of ‘oh my gosh, it’s happening again,’ but she’s not built like that.”
In overtime, it was freshman guard Frida Formann’s time to steal the show. Formann hit from deep to give CU a 72-70 lead and then was fouled after bringing down a defensive rebound. She hit both of her free throws and Colorado led 74-70 with just over a minute remaining. Colorado’s defense held firm and the Buffs defeated Stanford for the first time since the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
Up next for the Buffs will be a road matchup against Arizona State on Friday at 3 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Visuals/Operations Manager Nigel Amstock at email@example.com.