Colorado women’s basketball head coach JR Payne has often said there are wins and losses that are harder to forget than others.
For Payne and the Buffaloes who were on the team a year ago, a pair of losses to Stanford won’t soon be forgotten.
This is a new year, but last year is serving as motivation for the Buffs (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12) as the top-ranked Cardinal (11-0, 8-0) come to Boulder for a Sunday afternoon matchup.
“We know what is Sunday and we’re waiting for Stanford,” CU senior Mya Hollingshed said after Friday’s victory against California. “This is a game that’s very personal to us because we know the past two times we should have won. This game is very personal for us, so I think we’re gonna come out and play really hard, do the things that we do well and just go out there and fight.”
Since joining the Pac-12, CU has never defeated the Cardinal, who are a perennial power in the conference and nation, but came painfully close a year ago.
On Jan. 24, 2020, at Stanford, Hollingshed hit a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation to give CU a two-point lead, but Stanford’s Ashten Prechtel converted a layup at the buzzer. Stanford then closed overtime on a 10-0 run for a 76-68 win.
About three weeks later, on Feb. 16, in Boulder, Stanford’s Kiana Williams hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to tie the game and then stole the ball from Hollingshed and hit a running 3-pointer from about 40 feet for the buzzer-beating game-winner. Adding to the pain, CU could have sealed a win at the free throw line, but went 2-for-6 in the final 27 seconds.
Those losses hurt, but Payne also knows both teams are different this time around.
The Buffs have several new players in the rotation this year. Stanford was ranked in the top eight both times last year, but has been the nation’s best team so far this year.
Regardless of last year’s results, Payne said the Buffs have a great opportunity in front of them. This will be just the fifth time CU has ever faced a No.1-ranked team, and the first time since Feb. 14, 2004, a 51-45 loss to Texas. CU was ranked in the top 12 those other four times but is unranked this time.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to play No. 1, and excited for the opportunity to play Stanford,” she said. “In the Pac-12, every player that chose to come here chose that. They knew they’d be playing every weekend, probably, a top 10, top 15 team. They’re competitive and they love the idea of having No. 1 come into Boulder. We’re really excited for the chance to play them.”
Freshman guard Frida Formann, from Denmark, is one of the newcomers for the Buffs. She’s heard all about the excruciating losses to the Cardinal last year, but said she’s excited to face a team she has watched over the years.
“It’s a team I’ve been watching a lot, before I even got here, so yeah it’s gonna be really fun to play them,” she said. “Also with the history of this team playing them, it’s gonna be fun.
“I think we’re all very ready to just go out there and play hard and do all we can.”
CU Buffs women’s basketball vs. No. 1 Stanford Cardinal
TIPOFF: Sunday, Noon, at CU Events Center in Boulder
BROADCAST: TV – Pac-12 Networks. Radio – 630 AM
RECORDS: Colorado 5-6 (3-5 Pac-12); Stanford 11-0 (8-0 Pac-12)
COACHES: Colorado – JR Payne, 5th season (65-70; 166-183 career). Stanford – Tara VanDerveer, 35th season (953-202; 1,105-253 career).
KEY PLAYERS: Colorado – G Frida Formann, 6-0, Fr. (10.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg); F Mya Hollingshed, 6-3, Sr. (15.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg); G Aubrey Knight, 6-0, Jr. (5.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg); G Jaylyn Sherrod, 5-7, So. (10.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.1 apg); F Peanut Tuitele, 6-1, Jr. (6.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg). Stanford – F Francesca Belibi, 6-1, So. (12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg); F Cameron Brink, 6-4, Fr. (10.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg); G Lexie Hull, 6-0, Jr. (11.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.2 apg); G Haley Jones, 6-1, So. (15.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.5 apg); G Kiana Williams, 5-8, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Anna Wilson, 5-9, Sr. (5.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.4 apg).
NOTES: Colorado defeated California, 75-59, on Friday at home. Formann had 19 points and seven rebounds and Hollingshed had 18 points and nine rebounds. … The Buffs are looking to win back-to-back Pac-12 games for the first time since Feb. 16-18, 2018, against Washington and Washington State. … CU is 4-21 all-time against Stanford, including 0-16 since joining the Pac-12. … In its history, CU has never defeated a No. 1 team (0-4) has just three wins against top-five opponents (3-36), the most recent coming against No. 5 Stanford on March 23, 2002. … Hollingshed is second in the Pac-12 in rebounding (8.55 per game), while Stanford’s Haley Jones is first (9.4). … Hollingshed needs just four rebounds to become the 18th player in CU history to reach 600 for her career. … Stanford kicked off the weekend with an 82-54 win at Utah on Friday night. Kiana Williams had 18 points for the Cardinal. Haley Jones made the trip but was unavailable to play for unspecified reasons. … The Cardinal lead the Pac-12 in scoring offense (83.7 ppg) and scoring defense (53.0 ppg). … Stanford has three players from Colorado high schools: sophomores Francesca Belibi (Regis Jesuit) and Ashten Prechtel (Discovery Canyon) and freshman Jana Van Gytenbeek (Cherry Creek).