BOULDER, Colo. – What looked like a runaway result at halftime turned into a rugged battle as No. 4/4 Stanford checked a late rally from No. 17/18 Colorado to earn an 87-77 victory.
Freshman Karlie Samuelson, who scored a season-high 19 points in the win, hit her fifth 3-pointer of the game at the first-half buzzer to give Stanford a 55-38 lead at the break. The Cardinal got the lead up to 19 at 71-52 with 8:56 to play but the Buffaloes took advantage of streaky shooting and Stanford’s foul trouble to get as close as seven with 1:01 left before the Cardinal’s defense and free-throw shooting iced the game.
“Colorado got us into foul trouble, but we had some young people step up and really helped us,” said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball Tara VanDerveer. “But I wasn’t impressed with our overall team effort. We looked a little tired and we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. I credit Colorado, they’re a top-20 team and they battled.”
Chiney Ogwumike scored 34 points, her sixth 30-point game in the past seven contests and eighth of the year, and grabbed 16 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. But the All-American got caught up in the second half’s foul issues, where a combined 30 fouls were called against the teams, picking up her fourth foul with 7:08 to go and heading to the bench with the Cardinal ahead 74-57.
Colorado took advantage of Ogwumike’s absence with five straight points to pull to within 12 at 74-62 over the next 58 seconds. Jamee Swan hit a layup and Brittany Wilson’s 3-pointer forced VanDerveer to burn a timeout and put Ogwumike back into the game. Swan led the Buffaloes with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, one of four Colorado players to score in double figures.
Lili Thompson’s 3-pointer got Stanford in front by 16 at 82-66 with 2:59 to go, but Arielle Roberson scored four of her 19 points in the game to start Colorado’s 9-0 run and close to 82-75 at the 1:01 mark. But the Buffaloes could get no closer as Swan missed a 3-pointer then was whistled for an offensive foul in consecutive possessions, and Stanford got three free throws from Mikaela Ruef in the final minute to put Colorado away.
The nervy ending belied a first half that had been all Stanford over the final seven minutes. After calling a timeout to stem a Buffaloes run that cut the Stanford lead to five at 30-25 6:56 before the break, the Cardinal ended the half on a 25-13 run capped by Samuelson’s triple at the horn. Ogwumike and Samuelson combined for 37 of Stanford’s 55 first-half points, with Ogwumike scoring 20 and Samuelson hitting five triples and scoring 17.
“Karlie had a great game, she really knocked down shots,” said VanDerveer.