Four days, eight upsets, one wild ride

Peanut Tuitele and Mya Hollingshed celebrate Colorado’s upset of No. 1 Stanford. Cliff Grassmick Photo.

Four days that saw eight different top 25 teams upset culminated with the takedown of No. 1 Stanford on Sunday.

Colorado, which took the Cardinal to the wire twice last season, pulled off the 77-72 upset in overtime behind a career-high 32 points from Mya Hollingshed. The Buffs trailed for the first 24 minutes of the game, but used an 8-0 third quarter run to take the lead. The score seesawed back and forth until a Jaylyn Sherrod steal and layup tied the game at 67 and forced the extra period. Free throws sealed the deal for the winners down the stretch.

It was the first loss on the year for Stanford, and the first time in program history that Colorado had beaten a No. 1 team.

“I told them all there’s 1,000 reasons I’m proud of them,” Buffs coach JR Payne said. “The way we performed today was the biggest. We just really had the right mindset going into this game. There was no fear. We were excited for the opportunity.”

“We didn’t start out necessarily the way that we wanted, but our team rallied and really dug in and stayed really positive with each other and with themselves and just continued to compete on every single possession.”

Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer cited her team’s lack of defense on Hollingshed as a key issue in the loss, as well as poor overall effort.

“We weren’t playing inspired basketball, and that’s disappointing,” she said. “Colorado outplayed us, they were more aggressive, they were extremely motivated for this game, and every single one of them stepped up, and we didn’t.”

“We didn’t have the ball movement we needed to. I’m very disappointed with how we played, and we’re going to have to learn from it and get better.”

The previous night saw another shocking upending, as Iowa State beat No. 6 Baylor, 75-71, after leading most of the game. The Cyclones downed the Bears in their previous meeting last March, to end the regular season. But this game was on Baylor’s floor, which snapped their 61-game home court winning streak that dated back to the 2018-2019 season, which they finished with a National Championship.

Sam Haiby and Kate Cain rejoice after defeating No. 15 Ohio State. Nebraska Athletics photo.

Also Saturday, Nebraska upset a ranked team for the third time this year, as they ran by No. 15 Ohio State, 63-55. Kate Cain, Whitney Brown and Sam Haiby each scored in double figures for the Huskers to pace the win.

The busiest night for upsets in this week’s stretch was Thursday, as a spirited LSU team powered past No. 7 Texas A&M, 65-61, to give them their first loss on the season. Alabama rose up to drop No. 14 Mississippi State, 86-78, and Georgia outlasted No. 23 Tennessee, 67-66, for their first win in Thompson-Boling Arena since 1996.

Friday USC powered past No. 25 Washington State in overtime, 81-77. And in Sunday’s other dethronement, Texas Tech outran No. 21 Texas, 74-66.

How the losses will play out in this week’s AP top 25 poll will be unveiled Monday. The Aggies and Lady Vols bounced back for wins Sunday, but Nikki McCray-Penson’s Bulldogs lost to TAMU, so they may take a tumble in the rankings. The Cougars will drop out, as they lost to both USC and No. 8 UCLA this weekend – though they gave the Bruins a scare in overtime.

Will Iowa State and Nebraska enter the poll? Some feel they should. The question is, which teams would they replace? Washington State will be out, but the Longhorns won’t – nor is Tennessee likely to lose their ranking.

If the first two weeks of 2021 play are any indication, we are in for a fun ride for the rest of the season. Bring it.