Las Vegas, OR – The No. 1-seeded Stanford Cardinal faced off against No. 7-seeded Utah Utes in the championship game Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay. Stanford was trying to avoid an upset after top-ranked South Carolina lost to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. The Cardinal pulled away in the second half and topped the Utes 73-48. Tournament MVP Haley Jones led the way for the Cardinal with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. 6-4 center Cameron Brink, limited to 18 minutes due to foul trouble, added 16 points on 8-ot-12 shooting and blocked four shots. Lexie Hull was active for the Cardinal with 15 points and five rebounds. Brynna Maxwell led Utah with 16 points, hitting 3-of-6 from deep.
Stanford looked like they would run away with it early looking crisp and shooting well moving out to a 21-11 lead after the first quarter. The Cardinals center Brink scored six points inside in the first four minutes of the game. Jones then helped the Cardinal extend their lead, making her two three-point attempts and scored eight points. The Utes came right back with a strong second quarter, outscoring Stanford 19-11 to cut the Cardinal lead to 32-30 at the half. Utah connected on 6-of-8 shots from the field in the quarter including 4-of-5 three-pointers. Desia Young hit both her three-point attempts and scored nine points in the quarter to lead the Utah comeback. Defensively they held Stanford to 1-of-6 from deep in the quarter. Stanford’s Jones scored 13 points to lead all scorers at the break, connecting on 3-of-4 from distance.
Stanford picked up the pace in the third quarter after Utah scored the first basket to tie the score. They used their advantage inside to get two buckets from Brink as well as two baskets and five points from Lexie Hull to take a 45-36 lead. Brink had two nice helpside blocks at the hoop to help ignite the run. Stanford ended the quarter with a 52-43 lead. They were helped by eight points in the quarter by Brink who was limited to six minutes of action in the first half after committing her second personal foul. Utah stayed close with a four-point play and nine points in the stanza from Maxwell,
The Cardinal extended their lead to 60-45 early in the fourth quarter helped by three-pointers from Lacie and Lexie Hull. They continued to use their size to score in the paint, eventually outscoring Utah there by a 38-10 margin. The Cardinal gradually increased their lead to over 20 points and coasted to the 25-point win. Stanford outscored Utah 41-18 in the second half.
Stanford (28-3) will get a No. 1-seed when the NCAA Tournament selections come out. Utah (20-11) will get a bid as well and will be helped by their strong showing in Las Vegas.