The No. 1-ranked Stanford women’s basketball team lost for the first time this season Sunday, falling 77-72 in overtime at Colorado as the Buffaloes posted their first-ever win over a top-ranked team.
This was the Buffaloes’ fifth victory in 26 meetings with Stanford and their first since Colorado became a member of the Pac-12 in 2011-12. The Buffaloes were 0-16 previously against the Cardinal in Pac-12 play.
The last time Colorado beat Stanford was in the 2002 Sweet 16, when the Buffaloes were still in the Big 12.
Last season, the Buffaloes lost two heartbreakers to the Cardinal: 76-68 in overtime at Stanford and 69-66 at Colorado. Stanford won the latter game with two 3-pointers in the final 14 seconds.
Under coach JR Payne, who took over at Colorado in 2016-17, the Buffaloes had been 2-36 against opponents ranked in The Associated Press poll.
“There have been those close games that we thought we could have won and didn’t,” Payne said. “We’ve talked about not being the team that just gets close, but actually finishing. Everyone deserves to enjoy the historic nature of the victory.”
Senior forward Mya Hollingshed led Colorado (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) with 32 points and 10 rebounds.
“They played very inspired basketball,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We did not defend Hollingshed worth a darn. She had her way with whoever was guarding her. We tried to put different people on her. We fouled too much. We didn’t have the ball moving the way we needed to. I’m very disappointed with how we played, and we’re going to have to learn from it.”
Lexie Hull had 19 points to lead Stanford (11-1, 8-1). Haley Jones, who missed the Cardinal’s victory at Utah on Friday for an undisclosed reason, returned to the starting lineup and had 16 points.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, No. 1 women’s basketball teams are 468-6 against unranked foes over the past 20 seasons. Stanford has two of those losses, having also been defeated as No. 1 last season by Texas.
Colorado scored the most points that any team has against the Cardinal this season. The previous high came from Oregon on Jan. 8 in the Cardinal’s 70-63 win.
Stanford faces No. 8 UCLA on Friday and USC on Sunday in Santa Cruz, California, where the Cardinal are playing their home games because they are prohibited from playing or practicing at Maples Pavilion due to Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 regulations.
“I hope I see people digging in a lot deeper, working a lot harder coming out to play UCLA and USC,” VanDerveer said. “It doesn’t get easier for us. I hope that this really bothers people and gets under their skin, and they decide that we want to play basketball at a different level.”
With Stanford’s loss, it seems near certain that No. 2 Louisville, which beat Florida State 84-56 on Sunday to move to 12-0, will jump to No. 1 for the first time in program history when the AP poll comes out Monday.
“It’s a great honor,” said Louisville coach Jeff Walz, who took over the Cardinals for the 2007-08 season and has been to the Final Four three times, including two NCAA championship game losses. “It’s something we’re proud of because we have sustained something here for 14 years. It’s been a lot of work, a lot of great players, wonderful staff. Not every women’s basketball [program] is supported like ours.”