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No. 2 Stanford rallies to beat Utah women’s basketball

SHARE No. 2 Stanford rallies to beat Utah women’s basketball
Stanford forward Francesca Belibi defends against Utah guard Isabel Palmer.

Stanford forward Francesca Belibi (5) defends against Utah guard Isabel Palmer (1) in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Cameron Brink scored 24 points and Lexie Hull added 21 to help No. 2 Stanford rally to beat Utah 83-73 on Sunday.

Stanford (13-3, 4-0 Pac-12) trailed by seven at the half before outscoring the Utes 53-36 in the final 20 minutes. The Cardinal had 30 of those points in the third quarter as Hull had 11 in the period, but still trailed 63-60 heading into the final period.

“We settled things down, worked harder defensively, got the ball inside to Cameron Brink, and had some people hitting shots from the outside,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I thought Anna Wilson played really well, Lexie Hull made big plays, and the defense played really well too.”

The Cardinal used an early 9-0 run to take the lead for good.

Utah freshman Jenna Johnson scored 15 points and Gianna Kneepkens added 10 for the Utes (8-4, 0-1).

Eliminating miscues

Through the first half, Utah thrived offensively as they baited Stanford into making mistakes and scored 13 points off of 10 Cardinal turnovers. Into the second half, Stanford was more careful with the ball, only committing two turnovers which slowed down Utah’s extra chances and one of their primary sources of offense.

Clutch down the stretch

Over the final 5:42, The cardinal outscored the Utes 16-5 en route to victory. Stanford kept it simple and relied on Brink who matched Utah’s entire team in the fourth quarter with 10 points.

“Tough loss. Stanford is really good and what they did in the fourth quarter is what they’ve done all season in close games,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said.

Big picture

Stanford: After arguably their worst first half performance of the season, the Cardinal settled into their offense and shot a scorching 53.1% from the field and 53.8% from three to outscore Utah 53-36 in the second half.

“It shows we have a lot to work on,” Brink said. “In the first half we came out pretty flat and I think that’s going to be a big focus for us in the coming weeks.”

Utah: Despite a stellar first half and leading the No. 2 team in the country by seven, Utah’s offense failed to keep up as they shot just 41% from the field and were heavily outscored late, unable to convert a field goal over the final 2:38

“We really defended the 3-point line and had to make some adjustments defensively. It was a real hard fought game and I am excited for our team that we got the win,” VanDerveer said.

Up next

Stanford: hosts Cal on Friday.

Utah: visits Arizona on Friday.