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WOMENS BASKETBALL


Stanford 66, Utah 64

Stanford 66, Utah 64

BY MATTHEW COLES
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY - Kiki Iriafen had 25 points and 16 rebounds to help No. 8 Stanford edge No. 19 Utah 66-64 for the Cardinal’s seventh straight win.

Hannah Jump scored 12 points and Cameron Brink had nine points for Stanford (15-1, 4-0 Pac-12) as Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer moved one win from tying former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s all-time wins record of 1,202.

Utah’s Alissa Pili made a pair of free throws and a twisting layup to cut Stanford’s lead to 65-64 and then a couple of jump balls were called on each team’s subsequent possessions.

Talana Lepolo made one free throw with two seconds left and Pili missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to allow the Cardinal to escape.

Pili had 16 points but was 5 for 18 from the field and was hounded by double teams and Stanford’s interior height.

Utah’s Jenna Johnson had her best offensive game of the season with 15 points while also battling Brink in the post. But Johnson didn’t score in the fourth quarter and the Utes (11-5, 1-3 Pac-12) only shot 39% for the game.

The Utes got back into the game with scrappy defense and crafty passing in the third quarter. Ines Vieira capped a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer to get Utah within 50-49 with 1:06 left in the quarter.

The Cardinal responded with an 11-3 surge that gave them a 61-52 lead.

Iriafen scored 14 points in the first half, but Stanford got baskets from three other players in a 9-0 run to take command in the second quarter. Jump’s layup made it 38-29 for the Cardinal with 2:26 left in the half.

Utah was ranked in the top five preseason but second-leading scorer Gianna Kneepkens broke bones in her right foot in early December and starting guard Issy Palmer has missed most of the season.

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: Iriafen provided the offensive firepower but the Cardinal did it with defense and didn’t allow Pili to get going. Stanford is now 32-2 against the Utes, with both setbacks coming in recent years in Salt Lake City.

Utah: The Utes fluid offense sputtered the way most teams do against Stanford’s vaunted defense, which allows just 34.7% shooting on the season. With their tough early conference schedule, Utah is facing a tough climb from near the bottom of the standings. They’ll need their offense to repeat their conference title last season.


January 12, 2024





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