In Boulder yesterday night, the Stanford women’s basketball team defeated Colorado 57-40 to open Pac-12 play with a win and snap Colorado’s unbeaten season-opening streak.
After having its own undefeated home streak broken by No. 1/1 Connecticut a week ago, the No. 4/3 Cardinal (12-1, 1-0 Pac-12) faced a tough challenge on the road to its unbeaten status in the Pac-12 conference that dates back to a 57-54 loss in Berkeley on Jan. 18, 2009. The No. 20/25 Buffaloes (11-1, 0-1 Pac-12) meanwhile, entered this contest on a run of 11 games that ranked them alongside UConn and No. 3/4 Duke as one of just three teams with undefeated seasons still intact.
However, Colorado would suffer significantly on shooting accuracy in the first half, hitting just one shot out of the first 16 it took to be on a single-figure shooting percentage. By the break it had recovered to 28.0%, but the damage had been done and the 17-point difference that separated the two teams when they headed to the locker rooms would last out the game.
Leading Stanford, junior forward Chiney Ogwumike grabbed her tenth-straight double-double, with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while both senior forward Joslyn Tinkle and sophomore guard Amber Orrange hit double figures, with 13 and 11 points, respectively. From the bench, sophomore guard Jasmine Camp and sophomore forward Taylor Greenfield also contributed, with seven and four points, respectively.
Rounding out the Cardinal scoring, redshirt junior Mikaela Ruef added two points from the charity stripe, but as usual it was her contribution elsewhere that justified her presence in the starting lineup, grabbing eight defensive boards and handing out four assists. Only Orrange set up more scoring opportunities, with six assists of her own.
Colorado’s leading pairing of senior guard Chucky Jeffery and freshman forward Arielle Roberson both had made double-figure points contributions for their team by the final buzzer, with 17 and 10, respectively, but that statistic hides the fact that at half time Roberson had just one layup to her name, a score that came with just 1:27 remaining before the break.
Until this contest, the Buffaloes had scored an average of 74.3 points per game, with their lowest total of 67 points against San Diego State on No. 24. Though Jeffery and Roberson hit close to their then-season averages, 12.2 and 15.7 points per game, respectively, a lack of scoring from elsewhere on the team meant it fell far short of previous totals.
In the first period Stanford’s swarming defense proved to be too much for Colorado, which missed crucial shots, but the Buffaloes did not help themselves. Several times they regained possession from the Cardinal only to fail to control the ball and cheaply turn it over.
The second half was a much closer contest, the two team’s tying it 26 points each, but it was a case of too little, too late for Colorado. Though it challenged from the start in both periods, holding Ogwumike scoreless for over six minutes at the start of the game, the margin it handed the Cardinal in the first period was too much to overcome against a top-four team.
Next Stanford heads to Salt Lake City to face Utah (9-3, 0-1 Pac-12) on Sunday at 1pm PT, looking to extend its unbeaten streak in the conference to 80 games. The Utes lost narrowly 55-50 to California last night and will be looking to get their Pac-12 season back on track against the Cardinal.