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In a second-round loss to Stanford University at the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle, the University of Colorado women’s basketball team played as they did all season: starting strong and never losing intensity. Unfortunately, head coach Linda Lappe’s strategy of changing up the Buffs’ defense did not hold off a 69-54 final score in favor of the Cardinal.
Senior guard Brittany Wilson opened the game with the first of her four treys. After a quick initial accumulation of personal fouls on both sides of the ball, neither team was able to convert offensively for over three minutes of the first half. The dry spell was broken when freshman guard Lauren Huggins hit a deep three with two seconds left on the shot clock. The basket would bring the Buffaloes to a 10-4 lead with 13:50 to play until halftime.
Remembering the 17-point halftime deficit Colorado faced when they hosted Stanford on Jan. 12, Lappe continued to push her team to defensive prowess. After starting off with a standard 2-3 zone, the switch to a 3-2 came with 12:45 left to play in the first half. The change attributed to Colorado substitutions and the need to pressure Stanford point guard Amber Orrange. Intense defense and a press kept the Buffs leading on and off throughout the half, as they did not score after Huggins’ trey until 9:11 remained. Unfortunately, aggressiveness resulted in Colorado entering the double bonus early on, allowing Stanford to shoot 11 times from the charity stripe.
Entering the second half with a 23-21 lead, the Buffaloes were ultimately not able to return on their defensive investments with points. Colorado shot 33 percent from the field overall. Up to the 11:30 mark, Stanford had 24 field goal attempts compared to Colorado’s nine. A 15-2 run by the Cardinal abolished the Buffs’ last lead of the game when they had a 28-24 edge at the beginning of the half.
Much of the discrepancy in shots attempted by both teams came from the fact that Colorado saw the free-throw line only five times in the second half. Stanford on the other hand had 19 free-throw attempts, due to an accumulated 28 Buffalo fouls. Cardinal guard Chiney Ogwumike led the game in scoring with 19 points, and Colorado’s Brittany Wilson tied Stanford’s Lili Thompson for second with 16 each. CU freshman guard Haley Smith contributed 10 for Colorado despite being under the weather.
The Buffaloes return to Boulder with a final 2013-2014 record of 17-14. This, along with the factored difficulty of competition within the Pac-12, makes Colorado eligible for a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, although that will not come until Monday, March 17. Stanford on the other hand will reiterate its bid for the Pac-12 crown in its semifinal against the University of Southern California on Saturday.
Contact Sports Editor Jordyn Siemens at Jordyn.Siemens@colorado.edu.