CUSportsNation - Buffaloes suffer first loss of the season to No. 2 Stanford, 60-52
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Buffaloes suffer first loss of the season to No. 2 Stanford, 60-52

Much anticipation preceded Friday’s meeting between No. 22 Colorado and No. 2 Stanford at the CU Events Center.

Colorado's Quay Miller led all game participants Friday with 16 points. She ultimately fouled out in the fourth quarter and the Buffaloes suffered their first loss of the 2021-22 season at the hands of No. 2 Stanford
Colorado's Quay Miller led all game participants Friday with 16 points. She ultimately fouled out in the fourth quarter and the Buffaloes suffered their first loss of the 2021-22 season at the hands of No. 2 Stanford (Nigel Amstock / Rivals)

Stanford, the reigning national champion, came to Boulder seeking revenge after the unranked Buffaloes dealt the then-undefeated and No. 1-ranked Cardinal a stunning overtime loss last season.

For the Buffs, it was their first win over Stanford since 2002 and proved to be one of only two losses the Cardinal suffered last year.

This time around, while the Cardinal once again came to town as one of the top five teams in the nation, the Buffaloes met it on more equal ground.

Colorado entered Friday’s game as the last remaining unbeaten team out of the 714 men’s and women’s programs across Division I basketball. CU’s 13-0 start was the best such start to a season since 1992-93.

All things considered, Friday night’s game, in front of a season-high 3,744 fans at the CU Events Center, very much lived up to the hype.

The Buffs (13-1, 2-1 Pac-12) started hot and led at halftime, but by the beginning of the fourth quarter, it was all tied at 41.

From there, Stanford started hitting shots, while the Buffaloes suffered a crippling late-game scoring drought, allowing the Cardinal to come out on top, 60-52.

"Honestly, at some point, we were going to lose a game, and Stanford is one of the best teams in America, not just this year, but every year," head coach JR Payne said after the loss. "They're well-coached, they're tough, they're disciplined — they're everything a good college basketball team should be."

"I believe that we also are everything a good basketball team should be. We're tough we're fearless, we compete on every single possession...and I'm unbelievably proud of our team today."

Quay Miller, who fouled out with about six minutes to play, was Colorado’s primary offensive weapon throughout the game, leading all game participants with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

"I think my teammates noticed that I was hot and they just kept looking for me," Miller said. "...They look for me, they set me in position to take great shots and that's what they did for me tonight."

As for her teammates, it was a rough collective night at the office. CU shot just 30% from the floor, including a less-than-ideal 15% conversion rate from long range.

Jaylyn Sherrod finished the night with six points, five steals and five turnovers
Jaylyn Sherrod finished the night with six points, five steals and five turnovers (Nigel Amstock / Rivals)

Stanford, by comparison, managed a 39% make rate, hitting 38% of its three-point shots, as well.

Mya Hollingshed, Colorado's leading scorer and rebounder, struggled in particular, going 2-of-12 from the floor with seven points while failing to hit any of her six attempted three-pointers.

Early on, the Buffaloes’ stingy defense made up for the lackluster offense, with CU’s 10 steals in the first quarter setting a program record.

Frequent hands on passes and an abundance of Stanford turnovers had the Buffs up, 15-8, after one quarter of play.

Stanford found some rhythm offensive in the second quarter, outsourcing the Buffaloes, 16-13, and at halftime, the Buffs were holding on to a 28-24 lead.

The Cardinal scored the first six points of the third quarter, taking its first lead of the game en route, following a layup by Cameron Brink.

But the Buffs answered, mounting a seven-point run of their own, with Miller draining a three, followed by back-to-back layups by Kindyll Wetta and Jaylyn Sherrod.

At that point, CU led, 35-30, about midway through the quarter.

Sherrod later found Peanut Tuitele, who was next behind Miller with 10 points, with a slick bounce pass in the paint to set up a layup, on which Tuitele was fouled.

While she completed the three-point play, the Cardinal scored five straight points to close out the quarter, tying the game.

With the scoreboard reading 41-all to begin the fourth quarter, it was Stanford which came out swinging, scoring five straight points to take a 46-41 lead at the 8:01 mark.

A timely Tuitele three-pointer got the Buffs back within a basket, trailing 46-44 with 7:18 to play, but from there, Colorado had trouble hitting shots while Stanford steadily increased its lead.

For the remainder of the game, the closest CU would come was six points.

Down the stretch of the fourth quarter, as the Buffs were trying to claw their way back into things, they turned often to the three-ball, which, in a microcosm of the entire night, did not fall frequently late in the game.

"Certainly, (it) would have made things for us if we had just hit one or two (more three-pointers," Payne said. "27 threes is way too many for our team. But players that really shoot high percentage threes just didn't hit it tonight. That's just the way it goes sometimes."

Perhaps the most alarming statistic of the game was the rebounding margin: Colorado was obliterated on the glass, as Stanford edged the Buffs 49-27.

Looking down the barrel, the Buffs will have a bit of a break ahead of them, as this upcoming Sunday’s game in Boulder vs. California was postponed due to COVID-19 trouble within the Bears’ program.

Next up for CU will be a road game at Oregon State on Monday, Jan. 17., with a 3 p.m. MST tipoff.