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Buffs Use Fourth-Quarter Surge to Battle from Behind

Feb 5, 2021

STANFORD, Calif. — Lighting did not strike twice for the Colorado women's basketball team on Friday night, but it hit pretty close. 

The Buffaloes trailed by 25 points in the third quarter and battled back to within four points late in the game, falling to the No. 6 Cardinal 62-54 at Maples Pavilion. 

Colorado (6-9, 4-8 Pac-12) played without starters Jaylyn Sherrod, who is out for the season, and Aubrey Knight. The Buffs struggled to get anything going in through the first three quarters, totaling just 26 points. 

The game looked to be in the bag for the Cardinal at the start of the fourth quarter, but that's when things began to click for the Buffs. CU scored more points, 28, in the final quarter than it had the first 30 minutes of the night, forcing its way back into contention. 

"We have to bottle that energy that we played with in the second half and play like that for 40 minutes," head coach JR Payne explained. "It doesn't matter who is in the lineup. We might lose all of our starting lineup but that energy and tenacity and sort of fervor we were playing with needs to be for 40 minutes."

Senior Mya Hollingshed led CU with 16 points, scoring 14 in the second. She did most of her damage from the free-throw line, going 10-for-12 on the night, before fouling out with 2:22 to play in the fourth quarter. Junior Lesila Finau helped lead the charge, totaling 10 points, five of which came in the fourth quarter. 

Stanford (16-2, 13-2 Pac-12) had four players reach double figures. Kiana Williams led the Cardinal with 16 points. But it was Cameron Brink who hurt Colorado defensively with her six blocks to go with her 13 points and eight rebounds.  
 

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Cardinal lead hit 25 points, 42-17, with four minutes played in the third quarter. Colorado cut it down to 21 by the 3:58 mark of the quarter but the Cardinal hit the 25-point mark twice more before the end of the quarter. 

Hollingshed closed the third quarter with a jumper, her first field goal of the game, taking a 23-point deficit (49-26) into the fourth quarter. 

The Buffs immediately cut the lead down to 20 thanks to a 3-pointer from Peanut Tuitele to start the fourth. Stanford answered back with a 3-ball from Williams, giving the Cardinal back the 23-point cushion. 

The uphill climb for the Buffs looked almost impossible at that moment. But Colorado was determined to not go down without a fight. And fight they did. 

Four straight points from Frida Formann got the Stanford lead to below 20 points for the first time since the final minute of the second half. A layup from Jones and a free-throw from Hollingshed and suddenly the Buffs had a 7-0 run, cutting the Stanford lead to 52-36. 

Stanford had no answer and the Buffaloes' run kept growing. Freshman Kylee Blacksten scored three points on a drive and foul three more free-throws from Hollingshed cut the lead all the way down to 10, 52-42, with 4:19 still left to play. 

Back-to-back baskets from Hollingshed extended the CU run to 17-0, over six minutes, getting the Buffs to within six points (52-46) with 2:55 to play. 

Brink hit a free-throw to put the CU run on hold for a moment, but Finau fired back with a 3-pointer, to make it a two-possession game (53-49) with 2:10 to go. 

"They didn't really sub anybody [during the run]," Payne noted. "It wasn't like they emptied their bench, which is good for our team to recognize that we did that against their core group. I think it was just energy. Whenever we press, we typically reap the rewards because we don't do it a lot. I thought the press is what brought the energy and the enthusiasm. We were able to turn them over. They were missing some shots against the zone and we were defensive rebounding better late in the fourth quarter. I think all of that combined gave us a boost energy."

Stanford finished 9-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final 1:45, providing just enough to keep the Colorado comeback at bay. 

TURNING POINT: Lexi Hull hit three 3's for Stanford in a span of eight minutes in the second quarter, helping the Cardinal outscore CU 22-6. The run allowed Stanford to establish control of the game, taking a 22-point lead at the half. 

KEY STATISTICS: Colorado held Stanford to just 1-for-8 shooting in the fourth quarter. The Cardinal put up seven 3-pointers in the quarter, not attempting a shot inside the arc until the 2:25 mark of the period…Colorado was just 18-of 19 from the free-throw line, while Stanford hit 10-of-11 from the line in the fourth quarter (13-for-17 total).

NOTES: Tayanna Jones got her first start at CU in place of Knight…Hollingshed scored 10 of her 16 points from the free-throw line…She now has 1,139 career points, moving past Bianca Smith (1,138) for 24th all-time at CU…CU's 28 points in the fourth quarter was its most since scoring 32 against Denver (1Q) Dec. 12, 2019…Stanford outscored CU 26-18 in the paint…the last four games between CU and Stanford have been decided by a combined 24 points (-8, -3, +5, -8) with two going to overtime.

NEXT UP: The Buffs wrap up the road trip with a visit to Berkeley on Sunday. Colorado and Cal will tip-off at 2 p.m. MT. The game will be live-streamed on CUBuffs.con/WatchWBB.