It was one of those moments where Jaylyn Sherrod could have folded under pressure.
Instead, she shined.
During Colorado’s 77-72 overtime upset of No. 1 Stanford on Sunday, the sophomore point guard had a moment of redemption.
With the game tied at 65-65 and 57.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Sherrod stepped to the free-throw line with a chance to give the Buffs the lead. She missed both shots.
“Free throws have been tough for me all year, and it’s something I’m continuing to work on,” she said after the game.
Just 12 seconds later, Stanford took the lead and then got a steal. CU’s upset hopes seemed to be fading, as Stanford called timeout to set up a play with 26 seconds left.
Out of the timeout, though, Sherrod stepped in front of the inbounds pass and raced down court for the game-tying layup.
“I just kind of read it,” Sherrod said. “I kinda knew they were gonna try to get the ball into the point guard and I kind of timed defending it.
“It’s what I do. It’s what I knew my team needed, so I just went out and got the steal.”
Stanford missed the potential game-winner in the final seconds, but that layup by Sherrod was key to sending the game to overtime, where the Buffs outscored the Cardinal, 10-5.
“An incredible amount of fortitude, that’s what it takes,” CU head coach JR Payne said of Sherrod bouncing back from her free throw misses. “Especially our history with Stanford (and two close losses during the 2019-20 season). She was here last year, she was a part of that. She could have easily sort of let herself go back into that place of, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s happening again.’ … But she’s not built that way. She was raised to be really tough and really resilient, so for her to have the fortitude to really just dig in and make a huge play after missing those free throws, I think speaks volumes to her character.”
Senior Mya Hollingshed wasn’t going to let Sherrod go to that place, either.
“I just told Jaylyn, ‘We need you right now,’” Hollingshed said. “‘Yeah, you missed your three throws, but that doesn’t matter. If we get a stop on defense, all that goes out the window. All that matters is us winning this game.’
“We always have each other’s back. We always have Jaylyn’s back. She’s been here. She’s been in ups and downs since she’s got here. But, she’s figuring it out and I’ll always be there for. I’ve always helped and I’ll always be that support for her.”
Sherrod finished with nine points, three assists and four rebounds, in addition to her key steal.
“For me, it was just, I’ve been going through a lot, so it was just like a sigh of relief almost,” she said. “I can’t even explain the feeling.”
Just 2:05 into the game, the Buffs were down 8-0 and had produced three missed shots and two turnovers on their first five possessions.
Payne called a timeout.
“I don’t really light into our team too often, but I lit into them in that first time out,” Payne said. “I just talked about that the only area that you can rest on the floor is on offense. You’re not allowed to rest in transition, you’re not allowed to rest on the glass. You can’t rest on defense and I thought that’s what we did.
“Then our team started talking. It wasn’t just me. The team really started saying what they needed to do and got it got everyone really focused and dialed into what it would take to be successful.”
The 8-0 deficit was the largest of the game for CU, as Hollingshed hit a 3-pointer out of the timeout and the Buffs out-scored the Cardinal 14-9 in the last 7:55 of the quarter.
From that point, the two teams were in a battle that lasted to the end.
“To a beat a team like Stanford, you pretty much have to be dialed in for (45) minutes – and I think we were,” Payne said.