UTAH UTES

No. 8 Utah Utes Take Down No. 3 Stanford Cardinal In Regular Season Finale

Feb 25, 2023, 2:03 PM | Updated: 8:29 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 8 ranked Utah women’s basketball team took down No. 3 Stanford in the Pac-12 regular season finale.

Utah had to battle early for a lead, but once they got it, never looked back beating the Cardinal, 84-78, in front of a rowdy Huntsman crowd. The Utes were money in Thursday’s match against Cal and proved they still had the juice against Stanford. Utah’s win bodes well for a team that was projected as a 1 seed earlier in the week for the NCAA Tournament.

Gianna Kneepkens was money for the Utes down the stretch putting up 28 points and going 7-13 from the field and 5-9 from the three.

Stanford, Utah First Quarter

Stanford got off to a quick 9-0 start on the Utes until Jenna Johnson and Alissa Pili sunk two threes to make it a 9-6 game just under the seven-minute mark. Issy Palmer wound her way to the basket with just under five minutes in the quarter getting Utah within one, 9-8.

A trip to the line for Kelcey Rees gave Utah their first lead of the day at the 3:30 mark, 10-9. After the Cardinal got an easy bucket off the board, Pili turned around and put her own up giving the Utes the lead again, 12-11. Stanford pulled away with a trip of their own to the line and a three-point shot, 16-13. With seconds remaining, Pili got another off the board making it a 17-15 game with the Cardinal at the end of the quarter.

Cardinal, Utes Second Quarter

Pili tied the game up to start the second quarter with another layup, 17-17. After Stanford pulled ahead, Kennady McQueen hit a three-pointer to put the Utes within one again, 21-20. Stanford got hit with an offensive foul to give Rees the opportunity to put Utah ahead 22-21. The game tied up again at 24 after Kneepkens went two for two at the line. Kneepkens later followed it up with a three and two to make it a 29-26 game.

Out of the timeout McQueen went to the line and put up three shots giving Utah a 32-28 lead over Stanford with 4:30 left in the half. Dasia Young and McQueen got chances at the line extending Utah’s lead, 35-31, with 2:34 on the clock. Kneepkens hit another three for the Utes giving them their largest lead of the day, 40-34 to go into the half.

Stanford, Utah Third Quarter

Utah came out of the half hot and keeping their second quarter lead intact, 52-42, with 5:29 in the third quarter.

Stanford started to chip away at Utah’s lead in the second half of the third quarter getting within five before Kneepkens went to the line, 53-47. The Cardinal hit a three at the 3:30 mark, 53-50, but Kneepkens was quick with her own three to put Utah back up by six, 56-50. Young and Pili got their hands on a Stanford ball getting it to McQueen for the easy layup to go up, 59-55 with under two minutes to play. Pili put an exclamation point on the end of the third quarter with the buzz three, 62-57.

Cardinal, Utes Quarter Four

Early in the fourth quarter Stanford got within three, 63-60, but freshman Loni White hit a three to give the Utes some room again, 66-60. White followed it up with a cleanup shot from a Pili attempt, 68-60. Kneepkens hit a three to put the Utes up 71-64 with under six left to play.

 

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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