Saturday, April 13

No. 2 Stanford routes Utah 73-48 to win another Pac-12 title


Haley Jones scored 19 points, Cameron Brink added 16 and No. 2 Stanford won its second straight Pac-12 tournament with a 73-48 rout of Utah on Sunday.

The Cardinal (28-3, 17-0) shut down the Utes defensively in the second half to pull away in what was a two-point game at halftime. The reigning national champions held Utah (20-11, 8-8) to 7-of-33 shooting in the second half and had a 40-12 advantage in the paint to win their 15th Pac-12 tournament in 21 tries.

The Cardinal stretched their winning streak to 20 straight games heading into the NCAA Tournament, where they’ll undoubtedly be a No. 1 seed. Stanford is 30-1 all-time against the Utes.

Utah was without forward Peyton McFarland, who injured her knee against Washington State on Thursday, and struggled against Stanford’s length inside, particularly in the second half.

Brynna Maxwell had 16 points to lead the Utes, who went 2 for 13 from 3 in the second half as Stanford pulled away.

The Cardinal breezed into their 19th Pac-12 title game, beating Oregon State and Colorado by a combined 39 points in Las Vegas. The 71-45 win over the Buffaloes was the 1,000th for coach Tara VanDerveer at Stanford and the Cardinal’s 33rd straight against Pac 12 opponents.

Stanford looked like it was primed for another runaway, using an 11-1 run to build an early 12-point lead. The Cardinal held Utah scoreless for more than 3 1/2 minutes until Maxwell hit a turnaround jumper at the first quarter buzzer and led 21-11.

The scrappy Utes weren’t going to let it be that easy.

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Utah reached its first Pac-12 championship game by getting hot at the right time, hitting a combined 24 3-pointers in wins over California, Washington State and Oregon in Las Vegas.

The Utes took advantage of three Stanford players on the bench with two fouls and started to hit from 3-point range in the second quarter to get back in it. Utah went 4 of 5 from the arc — Dru Gylten hit one from 10 feet behind it — and used an 8-0 run to pull within 32-30 at halftime.

Jones, Brink and Lacie Hull returned in the third quarter and so did Stanford’s defense. The Cardinal held Utah scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes to push the lead to 52-43 after three quarters.

The Cardinal ran away from the Utes in the fourth. Hull hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 16-1 run that stretched Stanford’s lead to 71-46 and the Cardinal kept up the pressure cut down the nets for the second straight year in Las Vegas.

BIG PICTURES

Utah was no match for Stanford in the second half, but just reaching the title game was an accomplishment for a team picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 preseason poll.

Stanford dominated the second half after allowing Utah to hang around in the first and will be among the favorites to win it all when the NCAA Tournament starts in less than two weeks.

UP NEXT

Utah: Should be in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

Stanford: Will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and should have a good chance to repeat as champion.

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More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25




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