Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Jake Mauff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Colorado women’s basketball team faced a stiff challenge when it went on the road to face the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal on Sunday. Colorado was unable to pull out a win in Palo Alto, losing 71-56.
With the loss, the Buffaloes extend their season-high losing streak to five games after another rough offensive performance. Colorado has not won a game since Dec. 19, and since defeating Massachusetts in the opening round of the Omni Hotels Classic on Nov. 27, the Buffaloes are 3-9. The team is 5-10 overall.
Echoing their loss to California on Friday, Colorado lost the turnover battle to Stanford, 14 to nine. This was particularly damning when the Buffs pushed hard for a comeback late in the game, at one point closing the gap to four points.
Stanford pushed back and traded scoring opportunities until turnovers derailed the Buffs’ surge. From there, it seemed the wind stopped blowing in the Buffaloes’ sails.
The last five and a half minutes saw the Buffs lose the ball five times. In that span, Colorado went two of 10 from the floor.
Fouls also hurt Colorado. The Buffs were called 24 times on personal fouls, twice as many as the Cardinal. This resulted in 34 attempts from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Kennedy Leonard and sophomore center Zoe Correal both fouled out, while junior guard Lauren Huggins and junior center Bri Watts were close to fouling out, both committing four fouls.
“You have to give Stanford a lot of credit, they really amped it up,” Colorado Head Coach Linda Lappe said. “They started pressuring us, and the difference of the game was free throws and offensive rebounds.”
It’s possible the result of this game could have favored Colorado had free throws not been such a major part. Stanford hit 23 free throws on 34 attempts versus Colorado’s four made free throws on eight attempts. That adds up to a 19-point margin, four greater than Stanford’s 15-point margin of victory.
Offensively, Colorado shot 41.1 percent on 56 shots, and the team was 6-17 on shots behind the arc.
Colorado was led offensively by two players scoring in the double-digits — junior guard Haley Smith and freshman guard Alexis Robinson, who scored 17 and 15, respectively.
“We have people all over the floor who can score, but we need to be more aggressive and offensive-minded,” Smith said. “That’s what I’ve been working on. I know my role is to put points up on the board, rebound and limit turnovers.”
Stanford didn’t quite keep up with the Buffs’ offensive efficiency; it shot 22-58, good for 37.9 percent. 3-pointers also weren’t a strong suit for the Cardinal, as the team shot 4-14 from long range. Four of its players scored in double digits.
Sophomore forward Kaylee Johnson led the way with 17 points for Stanford, while also amassing 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Senior center Jamee Swan was still missing for the Buffs. She is leading the team in a number of statistical categories, including points and rebounds.
“It hurt our rebounding a lot,” Lappe said of Swan’s absence. “We needed somebody to go up and get those rebounds at the rim, and that’s what she does for us.”
Colorado will continue to pursue its first conference victory this Friday, when the Buffs will travel to No. 14 Arizona State (13-3). Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. MST, and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Mountain network.