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Buffs Battle, Fall on the Road to No. 2 Stanford

Feb 13, 2022
Lesila Finau finished with a team-high 11 points Sunday

STANFORD, Calif. – The Colorado women's basketball team held a one-point lead at halftime but faltered in the second half and fell to No. 2 Stanford 63-46 Sunday at Maples Pavilion.

Colorado falls to 16-7 (5-7 Pac-12) while Stanford improves to 21-3 (12-0 Pac-12).

Lesila Finau led the way for Colorado with 11 points, followed by Mya Hollingshed, who had her seventh double-double the season and 23rd of her career with 10 points and 10 boards.

After falling behind early, the Buffs put together an impressive second quarter, outscoring the Cardinal 16-9, and holding a slight 30-29 lead at halftime. Colorado's leading scorer on the season, Hollingshed sat out much of the second half in foul trouble as Colorado struggled to hit shots in the third and fourth quarters. The Buffs got within six early in the fourth, but the size and pressure from Stanford proved too much for Colorado as it used a 17-3 surge to put the game out of reach for the Buffs.

The Cardinal dominated in the paint with 34 points compared to just 18 from Colorado. The Buffs also struggled from the field, connecting on just 14-of-54 attempts. 

"They're (Stanford) really good defensively," said Colorado head coach JR Payne. "They're bigger and stronger than us at almost every position on the floor. It makes things very difficult. Every touch is difficult. Every shot is not just contested but extremely contested. If you're soft around the basket at all, it makes it a lot harder."

Lexie Hull led the Cardinal with 14 points while Cameron Brink followed with a double-double, recording 11 points and 11 rebounds. 

How it happened

Turnovers plagued the Buffs early as they finished the first quarter with eight turnovers, including two right out of the gate that led to two quick field goals for the Cardinal, as Stanford went up 4-0. Finau responded with a 3-pointer from the left wing to get the Buffs on the board and the score was 4-3. After a pair of free throws by Quay Miller, Stanford went on a 7-0 run and held CU scoreless for five and a half minutes and extended their cushion to 12-5 midway through the period. Hollingshed halted the drought with back-to-back threes and brought Colorado back to within three, 14-11. However, the Cardinal connected on two shots from behind the arc to end the quarter and held a 20-14 lead after one period of play. 

The Buffs picked it up on both ends of the floor in the second quarter. Following a two from Brink of Stanford, CU put together a 9-0 run to tie the game at 27-27. Tameiya Sadler had four in the run, including a fast-break bucket off a steal. Peanut Tuitele added three and Miller tacked on two of her own to cap off the surge. To end the period, the sides exchanged points and Miller tipped in a layup off a missed shot to send Colorado into the locker room with a 30-29 advantage.

"We thrive off our defense," said Sadler. "Once we got our defensive intensity up, that really pushed our pace on the offensive end and we were getting out in transition. Our first option is to look to score in transition."

It was a defensive battle to start the second half with neither team scoring for the first two and half minutes. Wilson of Stanford finally broke the silence with a layup in the paint to give the Cardinal the lead 31-30. The Buffs came right back down the floor as Finau drilled a three off a Hollingshed assist, and the Buffs led 33-31. Midway through the quarter, the Buffs received an extreme blow as Hollingshed picked up her fourth foul and was forced to sit for much of the remainder of the game. Then Stanford took over, scheming together a 12-2 run to end the period as the Buffs shot just 2-for-15 in the quarter, and the Cardinal led 43-35 into the final period of play.

"It changes a lot of things," said Sadler. "Majority of our points come from Mya and with her being a fifth-year, we look for her a lot. This was a big game and not having her out there and not having her presence, you could just tell that we needed her on the court."

To start the fourth, the Buffs were looking to get back into the game as Finau stepped up and sank three free throws to bring the Buffs to within six, 44-38. Then the Cardinal took over and went on a 17-3 run as the Buffs struggled to match up with Stanford's size down low. Turnovers and missed shots also hurt the Buffs as Stanford led by as many as 19 late and held off the visiting Buffaloes. 

"We felt that we could win this game," explained Payne. "We knew that things would have to go well for us to win this game. They are the No. 2 team in the country for a reason. With that being said, we believe strongly enough in ourselves that we could come in and beat these guys - and we did for a half. We have to make sure that we really learn from the second half and what adjustments we should have made as far as being able to finish at the cup and get clean looks and things like that. Hopefully, we get another chance to play them (Stanford) this year."

Up Next:
Colorado will stay on the road as they travel to Los Angeles, Calif., Friday for an 8 p.m. MT tipoff against UCLA.

Finau's first basket on Sunday pushed her over 400 career points…Mya's two 3's give her 151 for her career, passing Amy Palmer for 10th all-time…Hollingshed also moved into a tie for second in career games played with Brittany Wilson (133)...The Buffs are now 14-3 this season when leading at the half…CU shot a season-low 25.9% (14-54)...The 14 FGM are the fewest this season (16, Washington State)…The Buffs' six assists were also the fewest of the season (8 at Oregon State)

Head Coach 
JR Payne
On moving on after this loss
"Short memory is definitely the most important lesson to learn. We played great Friday (vs. Ca) and we played great for 20 minutes of this game her and led the No. 2 team on their home floor, where it's always extremely difficult to win. It's about having a short memory and moving on. We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves or wallow or be disappointed. We need to learn from it, move on and get ready for UCLA."

So., G Tameiya Sadler
"They (Stanford) sped us up a lot in certain possessions. We were just rushed. If we would have slowed it down it would been easier. We were forcing stuff that wasn't there and we didn't string getting the ball in the post either and they were just gapping and reading our offense."