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No. 4 Stanford pulls away to give No. 8 Utah women 2nd loss of season


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” No. 4 Stanford forward Cameron Brink was a problem.

And for much of the night at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, eighth-ranked Utah had no answer for the 6-foot-4 junior. Brink didn't play for much of the fourth quarter and fouled out with 1:11 left to play, but still scored 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting and had 14 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and one steal in a dominant night.

Brink was unstoppable in the post to help the Cardinal outscore the Utes 42-26 in the paint and to pull away for a 74-62 win at home.

Though Utah (15-2, 5-2 Pac-12) kept the score close for much of the night, the team wore down as the game progressed against a stout defense that forced the Utes into bad looks and out-of-rhythm play. It's the second loss of the season for the Utes, who started the season 15-1 in Lynne Roberts' best start with the program.

Brink set the tone for the Cardinal early to score a team-high 15 points at halftime, but Hannah Jones took over in the second half to put distance on a Utah team that continued to make it a one- or two-possession game. Jones finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 39 minutes of action.

"It was a hard-fought game," Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said. "I think our players did a good job competing. If you look at their box score, Brink and Jones had 50 (points) and 26 (rebounds). Those two are just tough. But for us, in terms of our offense and what makes us go, if we're going to shoot 19% from three, we're not going to come in here and win."

Utah opened up the game hot on a 10-2 run to send a message to the home team, but Stanford (18-2, 6-1 Pac-12) quickly settled in and reeled off a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game up 12-12. And from there, Stanford controlled the tempo of the game and stayed ahead of Utah to build up a 12-point lead in the second quarter.

The Utes opened up the third quarter much like the first quarter and cut a 9-point Stanford halftime lead to three, but Utah could get not closer. Every time Utah made it a one possession game, Stanford quickly rallied and pushed the lead to double digits.

"I thought we came out of halftime really good and we just got a little tired. That's my fault, but credit to Stanford," Roberts said. "They're so good and they're so deep, and it feels like they just keep bringing in somebody 6-5 all the time. Credit to Stanford. I thought we battled, but we just didn't shoot well enough."

Utah committed 12 turnovers, which led to 14 points on the other end for Stanford, but it was the team shooting 34% from the field and 19% from 3-point range that limited Utah's ability to make a late-game comeback.

Conversely, Stanford shot 49% from the floor on high-percentage shots in the post. The Cardinal only made four 3-pointers on the night and shot 78% from the free-throw line on 18 attempts, but there was little Utah could do to contain Brink in the post.

Utah was led in scoring by Alissa Pili, who had 25 points and five rebounds. Gianna Kneepkens added 19 points, including three made 3-pointers, and four rebounds in the loss.

The loss is the first one against a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 this season. Utah holds a 2-1 record this season against ranked opponents, which is an improvement upon Utah's 0-8 record against ranked teams last season.

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Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer of University of Utah athletics β€” primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

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