Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
What went right: CU played nearly all night with great energy, hit 3-pointers, rebounded well and limited turnovers for three of the four quarters.
What went wrong: The third quarter buried the Buffs, as Stanford dominated those 10 minutes. Turnovers, missed shots and 3-point defense plagued the Buffs in that frame.
Star of the game: Alexis Robinson. The senior scored a season-high 25 points, drained five 3-pointers and blocked two shots.
What’s next: The Buffs will host California on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Colorado women’s basketball team may have been short on healthy bodies Friday night, but the Buffaloes were fully stocked with adrenaline and heart.
Down to eight healthy players, the Buffs went into their matchup with sixth-ranked Stanford fighting an uphill battle, yet managed to stand toe-to-toe with the Cardinal most of the night before falling, 80-69, at CU Events Center.
“I just told the team while we don’t necessarily believe in moral victories, I’m wildly proud of our team tonight,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “Other people outside maybe want us to feel sorry for ourselves, but that’s just not in our makeup. Whoever was healthy enough to play tonight, I knew they would give whatever everything they had, because that’s really who we are.”
Alexis Robinson scored a season-high 25 points and Annika Jank had her first double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in more than 13 months to lead the valiant effort by the Buffs (10-8, 0-7 Pac-12), who led for most of the first two and a half quarters.
CU played its fourth consecutive game without senior point guard Kennedy Leonard, who wore a walking boot on her injured left foot and remains day to day. The Buffs also played without junior Mathilde Diop, who wore a boot on her right foot; and freshman Peanut Tuitele, who has dealt with various injuries.
Despite being shorthanded, the Buffs jumped to a 10-point lead in the first quarter and led until midway through the third.
Robinson credited freshman Sila Finau, starting in Leonard’s place, for setting the tone with five first-quarter points.
“Sila was big,” Robinson said. “I would have to say Sila was the one that really got our energy going. She hit that first 3, came down and clapped and I was like, ‘I’ve never seen this before from Sila.’ She gave us a lot of energy. She played really well.”
The Buffs fed off of that energy and put together one of their best overall performances of the season.
“I think we found (the adrenaline) from the bench,” said Jank, who started in Tuitele’s place. “They were great tonight. They were always cheering us on and the fans really helped us out, too. It was super loud in there and that helps.”
All that energy carried the Buffs until the Cardinal got on a roll in the third. They went on a 19-4 run during the final 5:06 of the quarter to turn the tide.
Overall, Stanford outscored the Buffs 32-12 in the third, and after going 0-for-16 from 3-point range to start the game, the Cardinal made six of their last 12.
“I think they’re seventh in the nation in made 3s, so we knew when they went 0-fer in the first half that they were definitely going to come out ready to shoot the ball in the third quarter and I think that’s what it was,” Payne said. “We had a couple key turnovers, but they also hit five or six 3s in that quarter.”
Stanford extended the lead to 19 in the fourth. CU cut the deficit to eight, but couldn’t get any closer.
Despite the loss, it was the type of effort the short-handed Buffs hope can be a springboard to future contests. CU won three of the four quarters.
“Really proud of our team,” Payne said. “They just competed their tails off for 40 minutes. If not for that third quarter, I think the outcome might have been different.”
Robinson has recorded back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in her career. … Jank recorded the fifth double-double of her career, but her first in a Pac-12 game. It was her first double-double since Dec. 15, 2017, at Air Force. … CU has lost 21 in a row against top-6 teams, dating back to a win against then-No. 5 Stanford on March 23, 2002. … Payne said the Buffs are “very hopeful to have one or two more bodies by Sunday” when California visits the CEC.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.
No. 6 Stanford 80, Colorado 69
STANFORD (17-1, 7-0 Pac-12)
Hull 1-2 1-1 3, Jerome 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 9-19 5-6 26, Carrington 2-12 8-11 12, Williams 8-20 2-2 20, Hull 3-5 2-2 8, Moschkau 0-0 0-0 0, Coffee 0-0 0-0 0, Brewer 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 4-8 0-0 9, Totals 28-69 18-22 80.
COLORADO (10-8, 0-8 Pac-12 )
Jank 4-9 0-0 10, Caylao-Do 2-12 2-4 6, Finau 1-5 2-2 5, Hollingshed 4-11 3-3 14, Robinson 6-17 8-8 25, Volcy 1-2 0-0 2, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Clarke 3-5 0-0 7, Totals 21-61 15-17 69.
Stanford 13 15 32 20 — 80
Colorado 18 18 12 21 — 69
3-Point Goals — Stanford 6-28 (Hull 0-1, Smith 3-8, Carrington 0-2, Williams 2-9, Hull 0-2, Brown 0-1, Wilson 1-5), Colorado 12-28 (Jank 2-4, Caylao-Do 0-1, Finau 1-3, Hollingshed 3-6, Robinson 5-12, Clarke 1-2). Assists — Stanford 17 (Williams 7), Colorado 10 (Caylao-Do 6). Fouled out — Colorado Caylao-Do. Rebounds — Stanford 42 (Carrington 13), Colorado 44 (Jank 10). Total Fouls — Stanford 10, Colorado 21. A — 2,373.