By Jeremy Rubin
No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (22-3, 11-2 Pac-12) jumped out to a 23-13 lead in the first quarter against Utah (12-12, 5-8 Pac-12) and didn’t look back. The Cardinal dominated the contest and secured a 97-64 victory in Salt Lake City on Friday.
The Cardinal drained 15 3-pointers, the most in Pac-12 play since 2014, and shot 50% from deep in the game. Guards junior Kiana Williams and sophomore Lexie Hull shouldered most of this burden for Stanford, hitting four apiece. The backcourt duo finished with 19 and 24 points, respectively, while shooting a combined ultra-efficient 16-for-28 from the field.
Stanford kept its foot on the gas throughout the second quarter, outscoring the Utes by 12 to head into the locker room with a comfortable 22-point lead. Stanford shot 60% from the field, including 6/10 from three, while making nearly twice as many field goals as the Utes (13 to 7) in the quarter.
The second half was no different, as the Cardinal won all four quarters of the game individually to cruise to victory. Freshmen forwards Ashten Prechtel and Fran Belibi both contributed strong play in the winning effort. Prechtel scored 16 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds, while Belibi added another 10 points on just six shots.
Pace was the name of the game for the Cardinal, as Stanford operated at a full sprint until the final buzzer sounded. The effort earned the Cardinal 25 fast-break points, compared to just two for the Utes. Winning the transition battle opened up easy lanes for layups and jumpers, and Stanford took advantage, shooting 54% from the field for the game.
Stanford recorded 12 steals and 11 blocks on the night, picking off passes at timely moments throughout the contest. Four out of the five starters recorded two or more steals; senior forward Nadia Fingall paced the Cardinal with three. Fingall and Prechtel also recorded three blocks each.
In her season debut, junior forward Maya Dodson saw nine minutes of action off the bench and immediately made an impact for the Cardinal. Dodson scored seven points on perfect 3-for-3 shooting from the field, while also chipping in a rebound, block and steal. She missed the first 24 games due to an injury from last season.
With the win, Stanford moved into second place in the Pac-12 standings. No. 3 Oregon defeated No. 7 UCLA Friday night to push its record to 12-1. Oregon defeated Stanford 87-55 when the two teams met on Jan. 16, but the Ducks will come to the Farm on Feb. 24 for a rematch that the Cardinal surely have circled on their calendars. Stanford currently sits one game behind Oregon and one game ahead of UCLA in the conference standings.
Next up, the Cardinal will continue east on their road trip and play Colorado on Sunday. It took overtime for Stanford to secure a 76-68 win when the two teams faced off on the Farm in late January. Lexie Hull scored a career-high 29 in the contest, and Prechtel contributed a clutch layup as time expired to send the game to extra minutes.
Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. PT in Boulder.
Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu.