BOULDER – The Colorado women’s basketball team’s stampede of a season was stopped for the first time Friday at the CU Events Center.
Stanford, the defending national champion and second-ranked team in the country this season, dropped the Buffaloes, which entered Friday as the nation’s last unbeaten Division I squad, 60-52.
“Stanford is one of the best teams in America, not just this year but every year. They’re well-coached. They’re tough. They’re disciplined," Colorado coach JR Payne said. "They’re everything a good college basketball team should be. I believe that we also are everything a good college basketball team should be. We’re tough. We’re fearless. We compete on every single possession.” .
“I’m unbelievably proud of our team today.”
A crowd of 3,744, the largest since the 2018 season, was on hand to watch the ranked conference rivals square off.
“Last year, it was very quiet, and we had to create our own energy. It was really nice to see Buff nation show up and support us,” Colorado forward Peanut Tuitele said after scoring 10 points in the loss.
“I’ve never been in that environment here, so it was nice. I hope that Buff nation continues to support us, because this one game doesn’t define who we are.”
After the Buffaloes handed Stanford its first loss last season, the Cardinal returned the favor behind 11 points from Haley Jones and 10 points apiece from Ashten Prechtel and Cameron Brink. Prechtel, a junior who played her prep basketball at Discovery Canyon in Colorado Springs, also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
“We know that Colorado is always going to come out to play against us in particular,” Prechtel said. “This year, they’re a really good team, so we knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Quay Miller led Colorado with 16 points but only played 19 minutes before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
“I think my teammates noticed that I was hot, and they just kept looking for me,” Miller said. “They do that every night whether I’m hot or cold. They look for me and set me up in position to take great shots, and that’s what they did for me tonight.”
Colorado scored the first six points and led 15-8 after one quarter. The Buffaloes scored 11 of their first-quarter point off 13 Cardinal turnovers. Jaylyn Sherrod tied the program record for steals in a quarter with four in the first 10 minutes.
The Cardinal closed within four late in the second, but Frida Formann’s 3-pointer with 2:09 left in the second helped the Buffaloes maintain a 28-24 lead at halftime.
Stanford scored the first six points of the third quarter to take its first lead of the game. A 3-pointer from Miller and consecutive layups from Kindyll Wetta, a freshman from Castle Rock, and Sherrod put the Buffaloes back in front by five midway through the third. Prechtel then scored her first bucket to end Colorado’s 7-0 run. Prechtel’s second bucket started a 7-3 Cardinal spurt to end the quarter that tied it at 41 to start the fourth.
Prechtel hit her first 3 a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter, giving the Cardinal a five-point lead. Her second 3 put the Cardinal up seven the possession after Miller fouled out, and Stanford led the rest of the way with Prechtel scoring all 10 of her points after halftime.
“I’m not trying to force things up, so in the second half, there was just more opportunities for me,” she said. “It just ended up working out that way.”
Prechtel and Wetta were among five players with Colorado ties to play in the game. Kylee Blacksten, an Air Academy graduate, hit a late free throw for the Buffaloes, while Jana Van Gytenbeek (Cherry Creek) and Francesca Belibi (Regis Jesuit) added three and two points, respectively, for the Cardinal.
“A game like tonight when there’s a bunch of Colorado players, born-and-bred Colorado players on the floor competing at the very highest level of amateur basketball in the entire world, I think that’s incredible,” Payne said.
“It’s a beautiful thing for young Colorado kids to see these strong, beautiful, confident, athletic women that are out there competing.”
The Buffaloes are scheduled to return to action Monday at Oregon State, while Stanford continues its season Sunday at Utah.
“Maybe now we’ll go 34-1,” Payne joked.