No. 4 Stanford 57, No. 20 Colorado 40

Chiney Ogwumike hardly gave Stanford’s big loss in its previous

game a second thought.

The forward simply said her team had an off day and an off day

against Connecticut can make any team look bad.

What she did worry about was this: Not letting such a lopsided

loss happen again. On this night, there was no need to fret.

Ogwumike had 20 points and 11 rebounds, helping No. 4 Stanford

get back on track with a 57-40 win over No. 20 Colorado on Friday

night in the Cardinal’s first game since losing the top spot in the

poll.

The Cardinal (12-1, 0-1 Pac-12) never trailed as they rebounded

from a 61-35 loss to UConn that not only snapped their

nation-leading home winning streak, but ended their six-week run at

No. 1.

”We know what we’re capable of,” Ogwumike said. ”We know what

our expectations are. We’re trying to meet that. But I think

sometimes early success can make you complacent. We needed a wakeup

call, a reality check.”

UConn definitely provided it, showing the Cardinal they still

have work to do. And they went about fixing their flaws against

Colorado.

”Every team has a bad night and we had a bad night. It just

happened to be against UConn, so it was exposed,” Ogwumike said.

”I think it was good because it grounded us. This is a great

starting point for us, a new chance to start a new season.”

The Cardinal began a quest for a 13th straight conference title

on the right note. They also ran their winning streak against

league opponents to 79 straight.

”We were ready to play,” coach Tara VanDerveer said. ”We came

in and kind of took it to them the way some teams have taken it to

us.”

Stanford’s swarming defense prevented Colorado (11-1, 0-1) from

getting into any sort of offensive flow, as the Buffaloes scored

just 14 points in the first half – the team’s fewest-ever at home.

With Colorado’s loss, UConn and Duke are now the only undefeated

teams in Division I.

Chucky Jeffery led Colorado with 17 points, while the team’s

leading scorer, Arielle Roberson, was held largely in check and

finished with 10.

The Cardinal didn’t allow altitude or aggravation to play a

factor in this game, putting any thoughts of the thrashing by UConn

out of their minds. Then again, Stanford hasn’t lost back-to-back

games since December 2010.

Coming into this contest, the Buffs figured they had the perfect

recipe for an upset, a blueprint provided by UConn – bully Stanford

around on the boards.

It didn’t quite work out that way. The Cardinal turned out to be

the aggressors, outrebounding the Buffs 41-27.

This was simply how the night went for Stanford: Joslyn Tinkle

hit a long 3-pointer with the shot clock almost at zero on the

team’s opening possession. The Cardinal quickly jumped out to a

17-2 lead midway through the first quarter and never really looked

back, taking a 31-14 lead at halftime.

From there, Colorado was trying to avoid some dubious

distinctions. Namely, setting a record for fewest points in a

game.

But with a late surge, the Buffs avoided that piece of history.

Their record for fewest points in a contest was 32 at Texas on Jan.

17, 2009. Jeffery helped CU sidestep that on a short jumper with

4:44 remaining, slicing Stanford’s lead to 49-34.

Jeffery then hit another shot – and was fouled on the play – to

cut the lead to 12 and get the crowd revved up.

Ogwumike quickly silenced the audience with two layups in a

14-second span to end any idea of a comeback.

Colorado simply dug too deep of an early hole.

”We were tentative,” Buffs coach Linda Lappe said. ”We were

trying almost too hard at times, but in the wrong way.”

A member of the preseason All-America team, Ogwumike was as good

as advertised, hitting jumpers in the lane, driving hard to the

hoop and displaying a soft baby hook with her left hand. No matter

who the Buffaloes assigned to Ogwumike, she simply couldn’t be

stopped.

And when Ogwumike wasn’t bulldozing through the Buffs, Tinkle

went to work as she got back on track after a lackluster

performance against the Huskies. Tinkle and Amber Orrange each

finished with 13 points.

”I said this to the team, `Last week, we don’t want that to

determine the team we are. It’s all about how we react. How we

bounce back from it,”’ Tinkle said. ”I think we were embarrassed

because that’s not the kind of team we are.”

No, they’re more of a blue-collar team, as Ogwumike has taken to

calling them, paying close attention to all the little things.

”We came out from the get-go. We came out to play,” Tinkle

said.

Although the Cardinal have an impressive conference streak going

– they haven’t lost to a league foe since falling at Cal on Jan.

18, 2009 – things may not be as easy this time around. After all,

the league is rapidly improving, with four teams ranked in the top

25 for the first time since 2006.

With Lappe now leading the squad, the Buffs are ever so steadily

becoming a formidable opponent again. They appeared in the rankings

for the first time in five years and have their sights set on

making the NCAA tournament field, which they haven’t done since

2004.

However, this wasn’t exactly the performance Lappe had in mind

as Stanford returned to playing like, well, Stanford.

It doesn’t get any easier as the Buffs host seventh-ranked

California on Sunday.

”In this game, we learned a lot about ourselves,” Roberson

said. ”Just because they’re a bigger team and their name is

Stanford, (doesn’t mean) we can’t play. If anything, we should

believe more in ourselves. …

”We can take that into Cal.”