Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they haven't beaten the Bears.
The 20th-ranked Buffs gave up a 16-point first-half lead and lost to the No. 7 Bears 59-56 on Friday night at Haas Pavilion.
"Oh, it stings because I thought our kids battled really, really hard," CU head coach Linda Lappe said after the game on AM-760 radio. "We deserved to win that one from the start. We came out to a great lead, they had their pressure (defense), and we kept battling back."
Colorado (15-3, 4-3 Pac-12) is 0-5 against Cal (16-2, 6-1) since joining the Pac-12 last season, including 0-2 this season.
Brittany Wilson had a team-high 11 points, but missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Buffs. Chucky Jeffery added 10 points.
Cal's Layshia Clarendon hit a free throw with 14.8 seconds left to give Cal a 59-56 lead. CU called a timeout with 10.3 seconds to go to set up a play, but never got a great look at the hoop.
"I thought we had Brittany Wilson wide open in that left corner; missed her probably (with the pass), but you can't fault our kids for how they battled and how they fought," Lappe said. "We executed what we drew up out of the timeout."
Clarendon had 15 points and five assists to lead the Bears, while Gennifer Brandon had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
During the first 16 minutes on Friday, the Buffs dominated. Their defense, which has been stellar most of the season, held Cal to just 22-percent shooting in the first half. Meanwhile, CU buried five 3-pointers to spark the offense.
Wilson's third 3-pointer and a bucket from Lexy Kresl staked CU to its biggest lead of the game, 32-16, with 4:06 to play in the first half.
"I think we just came out and we were executing our game plan," Jeffery said on AM-760.
Cal, however, closed the half on an 8-0 run and opened the second half with a 10-2 spurt to erase the CU lead and tie the game at 34-34.
CU scored just two points in the 9 minutes, 43 seconds after taking its big lead. Cal's pressure defense had a lot to do with that, creating several CU turnovers. The Buffs had 19 turnovers on the night.
"We knew it was coming; we had practiced for it," Lappe said of Cal's pressure defense. "We just made some mental errors, more than anything."
After giving up the lead, CU responded with five straight points, but Cal went on an 11-2 run after that to open up its biggest lead, 45-41.
Cal never relinquished the lead during the final 6:54 of the contest, despite struggling at the free throw line. The Bears went to the line 28 times, but made only 13 of them. CU got to the line just eight times, making seven.
"We couldn't get to the free throw line; we couldn't figure out how to do that, and it was a huge difference in the game," Lappe said.
Colorado dropped to 1-27 all-time when facing top-10 teams on the road. The Buffs face another road game against a top-10 team - No. 6 Stanford - on Sunday. CU's only road win against a top-10 team came on Nov. 21, 1995, at No. 9 Arkansas. ... Cal had 16 points in the first 16 minutes, and 43 points in the final 24 minutes. ... CU came in averaging just 2.7 3-pointers per game in Pac-12 play, but made seven on Friday. ... The Buffs have held nine consecutive opponents below 60 points. ... Cal out-rebounded the Buffs 47-39. CU has been out-rebounded by Cal in all five meetings during the past two seasons. ... Senior captain Meagan Malcolm-Peck did not play. Although still not 100 percent from a recent shoulder injury, she was available to play. It's just the fourth time in her career she's missed a game, and the first time she missed a game in which she was healthy enough to play. ... The Buffs had won 18 consecutive games, dating back to last season, when taking the lead into halftime. CU was 13-0 in those situations this season before Friday.
What went right
CU's defense was great once again in the first half, helping the Buffs gain a 16-point lead.
What went wrong
Cal seized control of the game during the final 4 minutes of the first half and kept the momentum through the second half.
Star of the game
Brittany Wilson. She buried three 3-pointers in the first half to spark the Buffs and finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
CU visits No. 6 Stanford on Sunday.
California 59, Colorado 56
Roberson 2-8 2-2 7, Hargis 1-2 0-0 2, Kresl 2-5 0-0 5, B. Wilson 3-9 2-2 11, Jeffery 5-14 0-0 10, A. Wilson 1-2 3-4 5, Sborov 1-1 0-0 3, Reese 3-7 0-0 7, Weston 0-1 0-0 0, Swan 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 21-54 7-8 56.
Brandon 4-16 5-6 13, Caldwell 2-5 0-1 4, Jemerigbe 1-5 1-2 3, Boyd 5-12 0-1 10, Clarendon 4-12 5-10 13, Pierre 2-5 0-2 6, Gray 3-7 2-6 8, Lyles 1-3 0-0 2, Hartman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-65 13-28 59.<
Halftime -- Colorado 32-24. 3-Point Goals -- Colorado 7-17 (B. Wilson 3-6, Sborov 1-1, Reese 1-1, Roberson 1-2, Kresl 1-4, Jeffery 0-3), California 2-13 (Pierre 2-4, Lyles 0-2, Clarendon 0-3, Jemerigbe 0-4). Fouled Out -- None. Rebounds -- Colorado 39 (Kresl 7), California 47 (Brandon 11). Assists -- Colorado 11 (Jeffery 3), California 8 (Clarendon 5). Total Fouls -- Colorado 22, California 12. A -- 1,908.