What went right: Colorado shut down Washington State's top scorer, Borislava Hristova, holding her to nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.
What went wrong: The Buffs couldn't slow down anybody else, as the rest of the Cougars combined for 65 points on 23-of-42 shooting (54.8 percent).
Star of the game: Jamee Swan. Despite battling foul trouble, the CU senior had 17 points and eight rebounds.
What's next?: The Buffs visit No. 19 California on Friday at 8 p.m. Mountain.
For the second game in a row, the Colorado women's basketball team found a way to clamp down on the opposition's best player.
Once again, however, the Buffaloes couldn't figure out how to win the game.
A lackluster start and a disappointing effort on defense Monday night sent the Buffs to a third straight defeat, 74-66, against Washington State at Coors Events Center.
"It's really frustrating," Buffs freshman Kennedy Leonard said. "We just have to have a different mindset when we come out to play."
CU (5-8, 0-2 Pac-12) did shut down Cougars dynamic freshman Borislava Hristova, but struggled on defense for much of the night in coughing up chance to earn a split on the opening weekend of conference play.
"This weekend could have been really powerful for us just to start the Pac-12 season off strong," Haley Smith said. "This is going to be a learning point for us."
Buffs head coach Linda Lappe had hoped a strong second half in Saturday's 76-74 loss to Washington would teach her team a lesson, but the momentum from that night didn't carry over to Monday.
"I just didn't like our demeanor today," Lappe said. "The second game of a series, you have to better than you were the first game. You have to be tougher."
Instead, it was Washington State (10-4, 1-2) bringing the toughness. The Cougars came in as the worst shooting team in the Pac-12, but made 48.2 percent of its shots, with Maria Kostourkova leading the way with 17 points.
Hristova, who came in averaging 18.3 points, scored just nine points before fouling out in the final minute, but she had plenty of help, as the Cougars led by as many as 17 points late in the third quarter.
"We weren't sticking to our principles in our defense," Smith said. "We didn't do a good enough job of keeping people away from what they wanted to do."
CU is off to a 0-2 start in conference play for the third time in five years since joining the Pac-12. The Buffs' next three games are all on the road against Top 25 opponents.
Jamee Swan led CU with 17 points and eight rebounds before leaving the game with 72 seconds to play. She crashed into the sideline seats and was in obvious pain as she gingerly walked off the court with CU trainers by her side.
Lappe said Swan hurt her lower back, but it's too early to tell if she will play Friday at California.
Regardless, Lappe is hoping her team can put forth a better effort. The opening weekend didn't exactly go as planned for the young Buffs.
"We've got to find a way to be a lot more consistent in how hard we play and how we play together, and just overall toughness in terms of what it takes to win games in the Pac-12," Lappe said.
Washington State 74, Colorado 66
At Coors Event Center
WASHINGTON STATE (10-4, 1-2 Pac-12)
Brown 3-3 0-0 8, Hristova 4-14 1-1 9, Blanaru 2-5 0-0 4, Hailey 0-0 0-0 0, Awa 1-3 1-2 4, Edmondson 4-7 3-3 12, Kostourkova 6-7 5-8 17, McClure 0-2 0-0 0, Pavlopoulou 2-3 2-2 6, Swedlund 1-2 0-0 3, Cooks 4-10 0-2 11. Totals 27-56 12-18 74..
COLORADO (5-8, 0-2)
Swan 7-11 3-6 17, Robinson 2-7 7-8 11, Leonard 5-19 2-2 14, Smith 4-10 0-0 8, Huggins 3-7 0-0 9, Ellis 1-1 1-1 3, Thomas 1-3 0-0 2, Correal 0-0 0-0 2, Beard-Fails 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-59 13-17 66..
Score by quarters:Washington St. 18 21 22 13 — 74 COLORADO 18 14 14 20 — 66
3-point field goals — WSU 8-13 (Cooks 3-4, Brown 2-2, Awa 1-1, Edmondson 1-2, Swedlund 1-2, Hristova 0-2), CU 5-18 (Huggins 3-7, Leonard 2-7, Robinson 0-2, Smith 0-2). Rebounds - WSU 36 (Cooks 12), CU 34 (Swan 8). Assists - WSU 17 (Awa 5), CU 15 (Robinson 5). Turnovers - WSU 14, CU 15. Total fouls - WSU 17, CU 19. Fouled out - Hristova. A - 1,595.