STANFORD, Calif. — Finally playing back on campus after more than two months as nomads, Stanford hardly delivered its best game.
The Cardinal still won on their home court in Maples Pavilion, and that meant a lot.
Fifth-year senior Anna Wilson had 11 points and four steals with her Seattle Seahawks quarterback big brother Russell Wilson’s cardboard cutout watching alongside one of Stephen Curry above Stanford’s bench, and No. 6 Stanford returned home at last and held off Colorado 62-54 on Friday night.
“I thought we had a really good game from Anna Wilson, both defensively, offensively,” coach Tara VanDerveer said.
Kiana Williams added 16 points and converted two key free throws with 1:18 remaining as the Cardinal withstood a late Colorado rally finally playing their first game on campus at Maples Pavilion since the Nov. 25 season opener against Cal Poly. Restrictions on sporting events and practices forced by an emergency directive from Santa Clara County that came down Nov. 28 forced Stanford to live out of hotels until this week.
“It’s hard to compare this season to any other season because we’ve been through a lot. It’s been challenging but it’s made us closer,” Lacie Hull said. “A lot of positive emotions. We came home and that was really huge for us. Being able to unpack our suitcases was incredible.”
Colorado, which trailed 49-26 heading into the final quarter, rode its defense to hold Stanford without a field goal over the final 8:53 of the game during which the Cardinal were 0 for 6. The Buffaloes outscored the Cardinal 28-13 in the fourth.
“We weren’t moving the ball well,” said VanDerveer, who pointed to 15 turnovers and untimely fouls as a problem.
Stanford (16-2, 13-2 Pac-12) avenged a 77-72 overtime loss on Jan. 17 in Boulder, the team’s first defeat when it was ranked No. 1 before falling to UCLA the next game.
The Cardinal played three “home” games at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz at the home of the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate.
“I was thrilled for them to be able to be home,” Colorado coach JR Payne said. “I’m sure there was energy, sleeping in your own bed and playing in your own gym is huge.”
Buffaloes senior Mya Hollingshed fouled out with 2:22 to play after scoring 16 points for cold-shooting Colorado (6-9, 4-8), which shot 36% and lost its third straight game since stunning Stanford and also had two contests postponed during that span.
Stanford made 5 of its initial 7 shots to jump ahead 10-2 and only kept pushing until letting Colorado back in the closing minutes. The Cardinal made just 7 of 26 3-pointers – 2 for 9 by Williams – and leading scorer Haley Jones struggled with her shot going 2 for 10 from the floor to finish with five points – nearly 10 below her average.
“That first half was too big of a hole to get out of,” Payne said.
The Cardinal’s trips included spending Dec. 2-12 in Las Vegas, Dec. 12-16 in Berkeley, and Dec. 16-21 in Los Angeles, followed by a short holiday break spent in San Mateo County before a visit to Arizona on Dec. 27, returning to the Bay Area from Jan. 3-5 then practices and games in Santa Cruz Jan 5-10 and again Jan. 19-24 after the Utah-Colorado trip.
“It has been a long road to get to this point,” VanDerveer said.
Colorado: Colorado missed 12 free throws, going The Buffaloes began 3 for 14 and 1 of 7 on 3s to fall behind 24-9. … Colorado dropped to 0-6 on the road. … The team shot 4 for 17 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 38-30.
Stanford: The Cardinal had never lost to Colorado before the last meeting – and before Friday’s lopsided victory four of the previous five matchups had been decided by single digits with two of the last three going to OT. … Stanford has only been swept by a Pac-12 opponent in the same season four times since 2010. … After facing four ranked teams in the previous seven games the Cardinal are now in a stretch of seven against unranked teams.
Colorado: Completes the Bay Area trip at California in Berkeley on Sunday afternoon.
Stanford: Hosts Utah on Sunday afternoon.