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STANFORD, Calif. – Through three quarters on Friday night, the short-handed Colorado women’s basketball team was no match for sixth-ranked Stanford.

The Buffaloes managed to make the host Cardinal sweat in the final frame, however, before falling 62-54 at Maples Pavilion.

CU (6-9, 4-8 Pac-12) rallied from a 25-point deficit to pull within four in the final two minutes, but was dealt its third consecutive defeat.

“What I think we take from it is that we have to bottle that energy that we played with in the second half and play like that for 40 minutes, no matter who’s in the lineup,” CU head coach JR Payne said. “We might lose all of our starting lineup, but that energy and tenacity and sort of fervor that we were playing with, we have to play with that for 40 minutes.”

Already without point guard Jaylyn Sherrod, who had season-ending hip surgery two weeks ago, the Buffs also played without guard Aubrey Knight, who sat on the bench and wore a boot on her left foot. Leading scorer Mya Hollingshed then got into early foul trouble.

With all those challenges, the Buffs were down by 25 in the third quarter and still trailed 52-29 after a Kiana Williams 3-pointer for Stanford with 8 minutes, 52 seconds to play in the fourth.

From there, the Buffs went on a 17-0 run and then pulled within 53-49 on a Sila Finau 3-pointer with 2:07 to go.

Stanford (16-2, 13-2) didn’t hit a field goal after the Williams 3 early in the fourth, but drained 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:45 to seal the win.

“If we can hold a team like that to no field goals for eight minutes I think that speaks to what we’re capable of doing defensively,” Payne said, “but that first half, boy, it really was too big of a hole to get out of.”

Hollingshed, held to two points in the first half, finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Finau, taking over for Sherrod at the point, had 10 points and five boards.

“During halftime we talked about taking care of the ball, just like (playing defense), doing all the fundamentals that we need to do in order to get back,” Finau said. “Then we did it, so that was nice but it was just not enough.”

Stanford, playing in its home arena for the first time since Nov. 25 because of local health regulations preventing them being at home, came out energized and buried the Buffs early. Williams, Cameron Brink and Lacie Hull were especially sharp in helping the Cardinal explode offensively in the early going.

CU upset the then-No. 1 Cardinal, 77-72 in overtime on Jan. 17 in Boulder, but couldn’t find that same formula this time around. Still, the late comeback allowed the Buffs to feel better as they left the arena.

“We just really had to believe in ourselves, believe in each other, put trust in each other in order to come back,” Finau said. “Trust each other to play defense, trust each other to make shots, things like that, and I think that’s what happened.

“I think it says a lot about our team and what we’re able to do without key players on our team.”


In addition to Knight, the Buffs didn’t have Zuzanna Kulinska available. Payne said Kulinska will play Sunday at California, but Knight is day-to-day. “I’m not sure if Aubs will be ready by Sunday or not,” Payne said.

Fast break

What went right: Not much until the fourth quarter, but in that frame, the Buffs were exceptional on both ends of the floor to rally from 25 down to within four points in the final two minutes.

What went wrong: CU struggled on offense in the first three quarters, hitting just 25 percent of its shots (7-for-28) with 16 turnovers. The Buffs also had a rough first half on defense.

Star of the game: Mya Hollingshed. She was bottled up in the first half, but finished with 16 points and six rebounds before fouling out. She scored 14 points in the second half.

What’s next: CU is slated to visit California on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT.

No. 6 Stanford 62, Colorado 54

COLORADO (6-9, 4-8 Pac-12)

Jones 1-6 0-0 2, Formann 3-10 1-3 8, Finau 4-6 1-3 10, Hollingshed 3-7 10-12 16, Tuitele 2-7 1-4 6, Blacksten 1-3 3-5 5, Jank 0-0 0-0 0, LaFontaine 0-0 0-0 0, Whittaker 2-5 2-2 7. Totals 16-44 18-29 54.

STANFORD (16-2, 13-2 Pac-12)

Wilson 4-6 2-2 11, Lex. Hull 0-4 0-2 0, Brink 3-4 7-7 13, Williams 6-15 2-2 16, Jones 2-10 1-2 5, Belibi 1-3 0-0 2, Prechtel 1-4 0-0 2, Lac. Hull 3-4 1-2 10, Jump 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 21-54 13-17 62.

Colorado                                 6          9          11        28        –           54

Stanford                                  14        23        12        13        –           62

3-point goals – Colorado 4-17 (Formann 1-8, Tuitele 1-2, Whittaker 1-2, Finau 1-1, Jones 0-2, Hollingshed 0-1, Blacksten 0-1), Stanford 7-26 (Lac. Hull 3-4, Williams 2-9, Wilson 1-3, Jump 1-3, Lex. Hull 0-3, Prechtel 0-3, Jones 0-1). Rebounds – Colorado 30 (Hollingshed 6), Stanford 38 (Brink 8). Assists – Colorado 6 (Finau, Tuitele 2), Stanford 8 (Lac. Hull 3). Steals – Colorado 6 (Formann, Finau 2), Stanford 8 (Wilson 4). Blocked shots – Colorado 3 (Hollingshed 2), Stanford 9 (Brink 6). Turnovers – Colorado 18, Stanford 15. Total fouls – Colorado 19, Stanford 22. Fouled out – Hollingshed.

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