A year ago, Stanford women’s basketball team entered the CU Event Center as the number one ranked team in the country with a perfect 11-0 record. Few people expected the then 5-6 University of Colorado to beat the Cardinal. Nevertheless, the Buffs stunned Stanford with a 77-72 win in overtime.
On Friday night, Stanford returned to Boulder, sitting near the top of the women’s college basketball rankings. This time though, Colorado, not Stanford, was playing with an undefeated 12-0 record on the line.
For the first three quarters, it appeared that the Buffs might be able to keep that win streak intact. However, Colorado’s poor shooting eventually caught up with them as they faded down the stretch allowing Stanford to escape with a 60-52 win.
“Win or lose I am proud of this team because we showed out today,” said senior forward Peanut Tuitele. “It was a battle. At the beginning of the game, I said we were going to war. This is war. And I am just incredibly proud of how we came out from top to bottom from the first person all the way down to the 15th person. We came out as a team, and we are going to stay as a team throughout this course.”
If the game was a war, the Buffs struck the first blow as they sprinted out to a quick start against Stanford. Colorado’s defense was relentless as it pounced on Cardinals passes and forced turnovers left and right. In total, CU created 13 turnovers as they established a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the tables started to turn against the Buffs, as Stanford, led by guard Anna Wilson recollected themselves and began to find their groove on offense. The Buffs were able to hold off the Cardinal mainly due to the efforts of junior center Quay Miller. Throughout the quarter used her height to attack the basket and score down low. In total, she scored eight of the team’s 13 points in the quarter.
“I think that my teammates noticed that I was hot, and they just kept looking for me,” said Miller. “They do that every night whether I am hot or cold. They look for me and they set me in positions to create great shots and that is what they did for me tonight.”
Even with Miller’s effort, Colorado’s lead was down to just four points entering into halftime.
Stanford emerged from the break with an even higher level of intensity, as they scored two quick baskets to tie the game at 28. With the normally strong Mya Hollingshed struggling on offense, Miller continued to be the sparkplug. Miller drained two three-pointers as the Buffs battled to stay on top. The Cardinal refused to go away, and in the closing seconds of the quarter, Hannah Jump hit a wide-open corner three to tie the game at 41. It would be the last time that CU possessed the lead.
Things went from bad to worse in the final quarter for Colorado. The Buffs made only three field goals and missed nine three-pointers in the last ten minutes of play. These offensive problems were only compounded by the departure of Miller, who fouled out more than halfway through the quarter. In her absence, 6’4, Cameron Brink was allowed to dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. In the end, a comeback proved futile as Colorado fell 60-52.
“We have a great Oregon State opponent coming up in just a couple of days,” said head coach JR Payne. “We will definitely learn from our mistakes tonight. We will also learn from the good things that we did. We do highlights and lowlights. We learn from the good things, we also learn from the not so good things, and we will continue to become a better basketball team.”
The Oregon State game will be Colorado’s first Pac-12 conference road game as they travel to Corvallis, Oregon, to play at 3 p.m. MT on Monday, January 17.