Chiney 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 Connecticut that not only snapped their nation-leading home winning streak, but ended their six-week run at No. 1.
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.
Stanford began its quest for a 13th straight conference title on the right note. The Cardinal also ran their winning streak against league opponents to 79 straight.
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.
Only, it didn't quite work out that way. The Cardinal turned out to be the aggressors, outrebounding the Buffs by a 41-27 margin.
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 glanced back, taking a 31-14 lead into the locker room 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 thought of a comeback.
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.
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 former CU standout Linda 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.