The University of Colorado women’s basketball team narrowly lost to No. 8 Stanford 69-66 on Sunday afternoon at the CU Events Center. Colorado had this game circled on their calendars after losing in a relatively similar fashion to the Cardinal on Jan. 24 in Palo Alto.
“After the game down there, I didn’t know it could be worse but this is,” said head coach J.R. Payne. “That is why you play the game. There are so many things to take from a game like this. So many great things that we did, offensively, defensively, so many clutch plays from young players.”
Stanford started the game hot, jumping out to a 15-6 lead with just under six minutes to play in the opening quarter. CU rallied back and faced only a five-point deficit at the end of one quarter. In the second, the Buffs kept pace with Stanford, being outscored by only three points.
Colorado roared back in the third quarter, tying the game after an eight-point scoring run with three minutes left in the third, and eventually took their first lead since the start of the game near the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter brought five ties and five lead changes as the Buffs and the Cardinal fought back and forth for the lead. A layup from sophomore guard Aubrey Knight’s put CU up five with three minutes to go. After two straight baskets, Stanford had a chance to take the lead with 30 seconds left, but Knight stole the ball and forced Stanford to foul in order to preserve time.
At the line, Colorado struggled to put the game away. Junior forward Mya Hollingshed made one of two, then senior guard Quinessa Caylao-Do made one of her two to put the Buffs up three with 24 seconds left. After a Stanford timeout and missed three-point shot, sophomore guard Emma Clarke missed both of her free throw attempts, giving Stanford a chance with 18 seconds left.
After another timeout, Stanford senior guard Kiana Williams drained a three to tie the game with just 14 seconds remaining. With no timeouts, the Buffs pushed the ball up to the half-court. Stanford trapped Hollingshed outside the three-point line, and eventually, Williams stole the ball and raced down the court. From nearly 40 feet away from the basket, Williams hit the game-winning buzzer-beater three.
“Kiana (Williams) is a heck of a player it was a heck of a play,” Payne said.
Williams dominated the game, posting career highs in points (29) and three-pointers made (7).
Next up, Colorado will turn its attention to the Arizona schools. The Buffs host No. 22 Arizona State Friday finish out the four-game homestand Feb. 23 against No. 12 Arizona. Sophomore forward Peanut Tuitele is ready to learn from this loss and push forward.
“It hurts but we have to move on, we have to learn from it,” Tuitele said, “and rather than dwelling on the negatives, I think we need to focus on the positive things that we did in this game and I think we did a lot.”
Colorado’s game against Arizona State on Friday, Feb. 21 will tip off at 7 p.m. MST. TV information has yet to be announced.