Despite facing a double-digit deficit in the first half, No. 2 Stanford women’s basketball (13-3, 4-0 Pac-12) was able to defeat the Utah Utes (9-4, 0-1 Pac-12) on Sunday by a score of 83-73 thanks to an impressive defensive showcase in the fourth quarter.
After Stanford missed its first five shots from the field, a layup from junior guard Haley Jones kicked off a 10-2 run for the Cardinal to start the game. However, Utah was able to cut the deficit to one point by the end of the quarter, thanks to three pointers from freshman Gianna Kneepkens and junior Dasia Young near the end of the period.
Following a pair of free throws from sophomore forward Cameron Brink early in the second quarter that gave Stanford a 19-17 lead, Utah went on a 14-2 run in less than four minutes of gametime to take a 37-24 lead. This Utah run was spurred by Stanford’s continued struggles from the field, as the Cardinal went over five minutes without a field goal. A three from junior guard Hannah Jump ended the scoring drought, and a subsequent 6-0 Cardinal run made this a single digit deficit entering the second half.
Stanford continued to dig into the Utah lead in a high-scoring third quarter. A three-pointer from senior guard Lexie Hull with 3:59 remaining gave Stanford its first lead of the half, 52-51. Some late free throws allowed Utah to retake the lead before the final period. Despite winning the third quarter 30-26, Stanford entered the fourth quarter trailing 63-60.
Stanford’s defense was able to hold Utah without a point for the first two and a half minutes of the final period, allowing the Cardinal to take a 64-63 lead. After a basket from sixth-year guard Anna Wilson gave the Cardinal a 69-68 lead with 5:42 remaining, Stanford never looked back. Stanford shut down the Utah offense for the remainder of the game, holding the Utes to 10 points in the quarter. The fourth-quarter offense was led by Jones, Brink and Wilson, who combined for 20 of the 23 points in the period. The trio was able to finish at the rim and at the free throw line late in the game to secure an 83-73 victory.
Brink finished the game with an efficient double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 24 points on only 12 shots from the field. Her performance helped Stanford dominate the glass, out-rebounding Utah 41-28. Her seven offensive rebounds were more than the entirety of the Utah team.
Although Jones struggled from the field (2 of 7 shooting), she grabbed eight rebounds and shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Hull had 21 points, including four three-pointers, while Anna Wilson added 12 points, three assists and two rebounds.
Utah was led by freshmen Jenna Johnson and Kneepkens, who combined for 25 points, each shooting 50% from the field.
The Cardinal will look to extend their Pac-12 winning streak when they host Cal on Friday. Tip-off versus the Bears is set for 7 p.m. PT.