No. 20 Colorado stuns top-ranked defending champion LSU in season opener

Colorado stunned Angel Reese and No. 1 LSU Monday night. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LSU's title defense is off to an ominous start.

No. 20 Colorado beat the top-ranked Lady Tigers, 92-78 for a stunning upset to open the college basketball season in Las Vegas.

The Buffaloes rode a hot night from the field and 3-point distance to victory while limiting LSU stars Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith from the floor.

LSU opened a 16-14 lead to close the first quarter. But Colorado took a 38-32 lead into halftime and controlled the game from there. The Buffaloes extended a 12-point third quarter lead to 77-55 in the fourth quarter, putting the game out of reach long before the final buzzer.

It was a shocking start for an LSU team that cruised to a national championship victory over Iowa last season and added All-ACC guard Van Lith in the transfer portal.

Senior guard Frida Formann and junior center Aaronette Vonleh led the scoring effort for Colorado with a dominant inside-outside punch. Formann tallied 27 points, five rebounds and five assists while shooting a scorching 7 of 11 from 3-point distance.

Vonleh controlled the paint en route to 24 points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting 11 of 15 from the floor.

Senior point guard Jaylyn Sherrod, meanwhile, orchestrated the offense while filling up the box score with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.

"This win doesn't define our season," Sherrod told TNT after the game. "We've got a lot of basketball to play. I'm just happy that this team came out — we were very poised, we stayed together, we talked to each other. We knew that we could do it."

As a team, Colorado shot 53.2% from the field and 10 of 23 (43.5%) from 3-point distance.

Colorado's zone defense, meanwhile, gave LSU fits on offense. Reese, fresh off All-America and NCAA tournament MOP honors — struggled from the floor on a 6-of-15 night while tallying 15 points and 12 rebounds. Van Lith shot 4 of 11 from the field in her LSU debut while posting 14 points and seven assists.

Freshman guard Mikaylah Williams was a bright spot for the Lady Tigers with 17 points and four assists in her NCAA debut. With an 8-for-16 effort from the field, she was the only LSU starter to shoot 50% from the field.

LSU's pressure defense led to 21 Colorado turnovers. But it was ineffective in slowing the Buffaloes down when they got into their offense. The Buffaloes recorded 24 assists on their 33 made field goals.

The upset marks an early reset of expectations for both programs. Colorado advanced to the Sweet 16 last season and now knows that it can not only compete with the nation's best, but thoroughly outplay them.

For the Lady Tigers, it's a wake-up call from the high of last season's championship run. They'll have eight games before facing another ranked opponent when they take on No. 8 Virginia Tech on Nov. 30.