All-American Chiney Ogwumike scored 34 points and Karlie Samuelson added 19 to send No. 4 Stanford to an 87-77 victory over No. 17 Colorado.
"Stanford's good, you've got to give them a lot of credit," said head coach Linda Lappe. "I would say I think they're at least the second best team in the nation. I can't think of another team, other than Connecticut, that is more dynamic and can hurt you in so many different ways."
The Buffs fell behind 22-11 early in the first half, but charged back to force Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer to call a timeout with Stanford ahead 30-25.
After VanDerveer's timeout, Stanford snapped off a rapid 12-0 run. Colorado had a chance to close the gap to 12 before halftime, but Brittany Wilson's banker missed with seven seconds left in the half. Stanford's Mikaela Ruef rebounded the miss, advanced the ball to Taylor Greenfield, who spotted Karlie Samuelson in the right corner to drain last of her five first-half three-pointers to send Stanford into the locker room ahead 55-38.
"That's a mental error," said Lappe. "At that point, you don't want to give Stanford the ball back. They had already scored a lot; we were having a tough time guarding them. We wanted to take that last shot, and we kind of forced (our shot) a little bit, being aggressive, which was good, but we forced it up too early and didn't get back and match-up in transition."
After halftime, Colorado found Samuelson in transition, and got Chiney Ogwumike in foul trouble, which enabled the Buffs to pull within seven points with 61 seconds to play. Ruef knocked down enough free throws to allow the Cardinal to hang on.
"I credit Colorado," said VanDerveer. "They're a top-20 team. They battled. Linda Lappe does a great job with her team. They are a very, very well-coached team, and she showed it tonight."
Jamee Swan had a fabulous afternoon for the Buffaloes in the losing effort. Swan recorded career-highs in points (20), rebounds (13), assists (5), field goals (9) and minutes (33).
"I felt like I played pretty well," said Swan. "I don't think I could have done it without having my teammates help me get to places that I need to get to, and getting me the ball. It's another game, it was a great game."
With the loss, Colorado moves to 1-3 in Pac-12 play. But because of the unbalanced Pac-12 schedule, Colorado won't have to face California or Stanford again this season.
"I like playing them twice," said Lappe. "I think playing them makes you better. I think in the conference standings it will help, but for your RPI and to just help your team get better, it's going to kind of be tough the next couple years. We're probably a little disappointed we don't get to play them again and don't get to go to the Bay Area. There's always the conference tournament."
Colorado travels to Washington next week to face the Cougars and the Huskies on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
With the loss, Linda Lappe moves to 0-6 against the Cardinal in her coaching career... The last time Colorado defeated Stanford was in the Regional Semifinals in 2002, when Lappe played for the Buffs... Jamee Swan recorded her second career double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds... Haley Smith made her first collegiate start, replacing Jasmine Sborov, who is out indefinitely with a broken foot... Arielle Roberson scored 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, bouncing back nicely from a rough Southern California trip last weekend... Ogwumike's 34 points is the most for a CU opponent since Iowa State's Lindsey Wilson scored 41 against the Buffs in 2003.
Player of the Game
Karlie Samuelson - Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike scored 34 points - but she averages 26.9 per game. Samuelson's 19 off the bench made the difference for the Cardinal.