Stanford Shoots Past Utes
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Stanford dominated another opponent defensively to keep its perfect record intact.
The No. 1 Cardinal held Utah without a field goal for two extended periods in an 82-54 victory Friday. Utah did not score a field goal over the final 6 1/2 minutes of the first quarter and went without a basket over the first 6 1/2 minutes of the third quarter.
"Utah has incredible shooters, so we knew we had to be up into them and take away their shots," senior guard Kiana Williams said.
Williams helped make the defensive stinginess pay off on the other end. She scored 18 points and teammate Hannah Jump had 15 — both all on 3-pointers. Williams was 6 for 10 from 3-point range and Jump 5 for 10.
Stanford (11-0, 8-0 Pac-12) was 14 for 36 overall from long range. The Cardinal improved to 26-1 against the Utes (3-8, 2-8).
Williams scored three of her team's first five baskets to give them an early spark.
"She is a tremendous team leader," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She really got us going."
Lexie Hull and Ashten Pretchel each had 14 points, and Pretchel added seven rebounds.
Kemery Martin led Utah with 11 points, and Kennedy McQueen added 10 points and six rebounds. The Utes shot 41% from the field and struggled to adapt to relentless defensive pressure from Stanford during the first three quarters.
"They are the best team in the country," Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. "I've seen a lot of Top 10 teams this year so far, and they're so good. They make you work for everything."
Stanford closed the first quarter with a 15-0 spurt to take a 23-8 lead. The Cardinal forced six turnovers during a six-minute scoreless stretch for Utah and scored seven points off those turnovers.
Stanford opened the second half with a 16-1 run to make it 56-26. Williams fueled the run with back-to-back 3-pointers and Jump punctuated it with a 3-pointer that gave the Cardinal a 30-point lead.
Stanford finished with only nine turnovers. The Cardinal's efficient offense made it easier to bury the Utes with stifling defense.
"Our ability to take care of the ball was really key," VanDerveer said.
The Cardinal won their eighth consecutive road game of the season by being disruptive on defense. Stanford forced 17 turnovers and scored 20 points off those turnovers.
Utah: The Utes lost their fourth straight game against a Top 15 opponent in lopsided fashion. Utah never got on track offensively when it mattered, enduring prolonged scoring droughts during the first and third quarters.
Stanford shut down Utah when it came to getting second-chance baskets. The Utes scored zero second-chance points on six offensive rebounds. The Cardinal experienced no trouble creating extra opportunities around the rim. Stanford turned 15 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points. Overall, the Cardinal outrebounded Utah 38-30.
Hull, Jump, and senior forward Alyssa Jerome were all back on the court for Stanford after not playing in the Cardinal's 70-63 victory over Oregon on Jan. 8. All three players sat out against the Ducks because of contact tracing after exposure to COVID-19 at Arizona State five days earlier.
All three played at least 20 minutes against the Utes on Friday. Hull and Jump both were key all-around contributors. In addition to scoring in double figures, each player also collected five rebounds and had two assists.
Hull said it was a relief to get back on the court after not being able to shoot or practice with the team during their quarantine.
"It taught me not to take any game for granted," Hull said.
Stanford returns to action on Sunday to take on Colorado in Boulder.