The Colorado women's basketball team owns a home victory against an opponent ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The Buffaloes have proven to be a fierce defensive team. They've proven they can run some teams out of the gym. And, they've proven they can hang with the top teams in the Pac-12 Conference.
There's no question it's been a great season so far for the 20th-ranked Buffs (15-3, 4-3 Pac-12), but something is missing. At some point, the Buffs need to find a way to win one of those tough conference games.
On Friday night, the Buffs lost a heartbreaker at No. 7 California, 59-56. It was a game in which CU led by 16 points late in the first half.
All three of CU's losses this season have come against the top two teams in the Pac-12 -- Jan. 4 against No. 6 Stanford, Jan. 6 against Cal and then again on Friday.
Colorado will get another chance to prove itself on Sunday when it visits Stanford, which could be the toughest test on the 29-game schedule.
"I just think our mental toughness is going to be huge," head coach Linda Lappe said on AM-760 radio after Friday's loss. "Our players are very resilient; they were resilient in this game, so I know they're going to be resilient with a day of preparation and then going on to take on Stanford."
As good as Cal (16-2, 6-1) has been this season, visiting Stanford (17-2, 6-1) is a different beast.
Unlike most places the Buffs visit, Stanford has a tendency to fill its home arena, Maples Pavilion, with a large amount of fans. The Cardinal average 4,371 fans per home game, which is, by far, the top figure in the conference (CU is second, with an average of 2,826 fans).
That alone makes it a more hostile environment than the Buffs are used to; even Friday's game at Cal -- featuring two of the top 20 teams in the country -- drew a crowd of just 1,908.
While the crowd likely helps the Cardinal, they are so comfortable at Maples that beating them there seems almost daunting. Stanford had won 82 consecutive home games before a loss to No. 2 Connecticut on Dec. 29. Cal handed the Cardinal a second consecutive home defeat on Jan. 13, but Stanford is 3-0 at home -- with an average margin of victory of 18.7 points -- since then.
Colorado, on the other hand, is probably better prepared for this type of game than it has been at any point in the past decade. The Buffs have the confidence they can compete with Stanford. They defeated then-No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 14. They have taken Cal to the wire twice and played a very good game defensively against Stanford on Jan. 4. Unfortunately for the Buffs, that night also saw them post a season-worst shooting percentage of 28.8.
"We're prepared and we have the weapons and things like that," CU point guard Chucky Jeffery said on AM-760 after Friday's game. "We just have to come out and execute and focus on what the game plan is and stay focused throughout the entire game on that."
Lappe would love to see her team play a full game like that. They came close on Friday, but will need to be better against Stanford.
"I liked how we played (against Cal) for the most part," she said. "Against Stanford, we're going to have to be ready to play a full 40 minutes and come together even more."
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CU women's hoops preview
SUNDAY: The No. 20 Colorado Buffaloes (15-3, 4-2 Pac-12) visit the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (17-2, 6-1) in a 5 p.m. game at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif.
BROADCAST: TV -- Pac-12 Network, with Krista Blunk on play-by-play and Mary Murphy with color commentary. Radio -- KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.
STORY LINES: CU had a four-game win streak snapped on Friday with a 59-56 loss at No. 7 California. ... Stanford has won three in a row, including a 65-44 win against Utah on Friday at home. ... CU comes into the game with a 1-27 all-time record against top-10 teams on the road. The only win came on Nov. 21, 1995, at No. 9 Arkansas. ... Stanford beat the Buffs, 57-40, on Jan. 4 in Boulder. CU's Chucky Jeffery had 17 points in that game, but the rest of the team made just 21.6 percent of its shots. Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike had 20 points and 11 rebounds. ... Stanford is 84-1 in its last 85 games against Pac-12 teams, the only loss coming on Jan. 13 against Cal. ... CU has the No. 1 scoring defense in the Pac-12, allowing just 52.7 points per game. Stanford is No. 2, allowing just 52.9. ... Stanford has held a school-record 37 consecutive opponents below 70 points. During its last 37 games, CU has held 36 opponents below 70, the only exception being Oklahoma State in the Women's NIT quarterfinals on March 25, 2012. ... The Buffs have held a school-record nine consecutive opponents below the 60-point mark.
KEY STAT: Stanford leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense (32.1) and has held 16 of its 19 opponents below 40 percent and eight opponents below 30 percent. CU's offense is second in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (42.7), but posted a season-low 28.8 percent against the Cardinal on Jan. 4.
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 54-33 in her third season at CU and 104-69 overall. Tara VanDerveer is 726-151 in 27 seasons at Stanford and 878-202 for her career.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Chucky Jeffery, 5-10, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.4 spg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Jr. (8.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.4 apg); G Lexy Kresl, 5-11, So. (6.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg); F Arielle Roberson, 6-1, Fr. (13.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg); C Rachel Hargis, 6-4, Jr. (5.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg). Stanford -- G Sara James, 5-10, Jr. (4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg); G Toni Kokenis, 5-11, Jr. (7.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.7 apg); G Amber Orrange, 5-7, So. (10.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.9 apg); F Chiney Ogwumike, 6-3, Jr. (22.1 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg); F Joslyn Tinkle, 6-3, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg).
SERIES: Stanford leads the series 8-4, including 3-0 since CU joined the Pac-12 last season. The Buffs are 0-5 on Stanford's home floor.
UP NEXT: CU will visit No. 19 UCLA on Friday at 9 p.m.