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2022 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament

March 2-6 | Las Vegas, NV
Michelob ULTRA Arena

Michelle Smith previews the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament championship game

Mar 5, 2022
Erin Chang/Stanford Athletics

LAS VEGAS - No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 6 seed Utah.

This isn’t a matchup that people might have seen coming, at least from one side of the bracket. The Utes were picked 10th in the preseason poll and had never advanced past the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

But a group of fearless, talented underclassmen has brought Utah to its first Pac-12 Tournament title game, and on the verge of an NCAA Tournament berth.

The task is huge, a top-seeded Stanford team that is rolling with an 18-game winning streak and eyes on defending its NCAA title.

Let’s break it down.

What happened in 2021-22

Stanford won at Utah, 83-73, on Jan. 16 and at home, 91-64, on Feb. 11.

Recent history

Stanford is 9-1 in its last 10 games against Utah, and 29-1 all-time, with the Utes winning on Jan. 27, 2019 in Salt Lake City, 75-68.

Tournament history

Stanford is playing for its 15th conference tournament title. The Cardinal has made 19 appearances in the title game, including the last six in a row.

Utah will be competing in its first Pac-12 Tournament championship after never advancing past the quarterfinals prior to this season.

The streaks

Stanford has won 18 in a row and 33 straight over Pac-12 opponents, a streak that dates back to Jan. 2021.

Utah has five wins in the last six games.

Starting lineups

Stanford: G Lacie Hull, G Anna Wilson, G/F Haley Jones, G/F Lexie Hull, C Cameron Brink.
Utah: G Gianna Kneepkens, F Kelsey Rees, G Kennady McQueen, F Jenna Johnson, G Dru Gylten.

Watch out for

Stanford’s Anna Wilson, who has made some huge plays on the defensive end in the past couple of weeks and is coming off a season-high 12 points against Colorado.

Utah’s Gianna Kneepkens, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, who had a monster game in the semis against Oregon with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists.

What the Cardinal needs to do to win

The Cardinal has a size advantage with Brink, Fran Belibi and Ashten Prechtel, as they do over most opponents, and it will need to exploit it by getting the ball inside and leaving space for the shooters to get hot. Stanford’s 3-point shooting has been up and down over the last few weeks, but it hit eight 3s against Colorado. Getting the Hull sisters and Hannah Jump going from the outside could quickly make this an huge uphill climb for the Utes. Stanford is quietly one of the toughest defenses in the nation and it works for them, particularly in the postseason. Stanford is now 25-1 in Tournament games when it scores at 70 points and 52-0 when holding an opponent to less than 70.

What the Utes need to do to win

The Utes will have to take care of the ball, because Stanford will capitalize on transition opportunities almost without fail. Additionally, Utah will have to make up for a size disadvantage — particularly without Peyton McFarland available — to be physical with the Cardinal bigs inside. Coach Lynne Roberts already knows that Stanford will take away the things they like to do best, so she will need to go to Plan B in terms of running their offense.


Fran Belibi, Stanford: In Stanford’s last game against Utah, Belibi came off the bench to score 10 points with four rebounds and four assists in 19 minutes. When Belibi comes in hot off the bench, she takes Stanford’s depth in the post to a nearly unguardable level.

Kennady McQueen, Utah: McQueen busted out for 13 points and 11 rebounds against Oregon, her first career double-double, mitigating for the Utes’ size disadvantage inside with moxie on the boards. Utah will need that and probably more.