Stanford survives upset-minded Colorado in an overtime thriller, 76-68

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Photos © Baranduin Briggs, all rights reserved

STANFORD, Calif. – Fans at Maples Pavilion Friday night enjoyed a thrilling overtime matchup as No. 6 Stanford (17-2, 6-1 Pac-12) survived unranked and upset-minded Colorado 76-68 in overtime. The exhilarating contest featured 12 lead changes and buzzer-beating shots.

“Colorado is extremely aggressive,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We had our hands full the whole game. But, I’m really proud of our team and how we battled, and we executed down the stretch. We made some really great plays.”

Led by freshman guard Jaylyn Sherrod, the Buffs burned rubber for a hot start, quickly earning and maintaining a lead over the Cardinal. Sherrod paced her team with a prolific 11 points in the first quarter, helping Colorado (13-5, 2-5) earn near a double-digit lead, 21-13, heading into the second quarter. She ended her productive first quarter with a layup and with just a second left in the period.

Stanford mounted a comeback effort in the next ten minutes augmented by defense that shut down Sherrod completely and only allowed the Buffs to score four points in the quarter. After outscoring Colorado 14-4 in the second period with a balanced offensive effort, Stanford went into halftime with a slim 27-25 lead.

Cardinal senior forward Nadia Fingall got things started after the half with a trey, giving her team a five-point lead. The Buffs retaliated right away, going on a run to tie the game up at 4:39, 37 all, after a jumper from sophomore guard Lesila Finau.

Undaunted by trailing at the half, Colorado outscored Stanford 16-12 in the third quarter. Sherrod, recovered from her second quarter drought, earned six points in the period. The Buffs entered the fourth quarter with a 41-39 lead.

Once again, Stanford began a period with a three-point shot. This time freshman guard Hannah Jump hit the trey. Colorado responded with an 18-10 run to accumulate a seven-point lead, 59-52. It seemed as if the Buffs had the momentum for an upset, but Stanford had other plans. With a 12-5 run capped by a layup by Prechtel at the buzzer, the Cardinal sent the game into overtime.

Prechtel, along with sophomore guard Lexie Hull, did much of the heavy lifting offensively for the Cardinal in the overtime period with four points each. In the end, Stanford’s experienced squad prevailed in the battle.

“I thought it was two very competitive, hard-working, tough teams,” Colorado head coach JR Payne said. “Obviously they’re more experienced…but I thought both teams, pretty much gave their all tonight. So, I thought it was a fantastic basketball game to watch.”

Stanford won the contest without four valuable players: freshman guard Haley Jones; senior guard DiJonai Carrington, junior forward Maya Dodson and senior guard Mikaela Brewer. All four are injured but there is no timetable for their return as they recover. Dodson and Brewer have not played all season. Carrington’s last game was November 24 against Buffalo. She has only played five games this season.

Jones last saw action at Oregon State on January 19.

Colorado continues its road trip facing Cal on Sunday. Stanford hosts Utah the same day.

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