Pac-12 Women's Championship game recap

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Asher Bookspan | The Daily Wildcat

Stanford celebrating its programs 15th Pac-12 Tournament title on Sunday, March 3 in Las Vegas. Stanford defeated the University of Utah 73-48 to win the championship for the second straight year. 

LAS VEGAS - Stanford University defeated the University of Utah in the Pac-12 women's basketball championship game 73-48 at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 6. 

Stanford continued its pregame tradition of wearing Stanford women's soccer shirts and wrist tape with iterations of "KM/19."

"It was because of who she was. She was for women's sports. She was enthusiastic. She was so positive, so loving, so outgoing, so compassionate in everything she did. So I think going into this tournament, we had very heavy hearts for her, ourselves, her family, the soccer team," Haley Jones said. 

In its first Pac-12 Championship game, Utah got off to a strong start against the No. 1 seed being down 10-8 with 4 minutes left in the first quarter but was unable to keep the momentum going and ended the first quarter down 21-11 after Stanford made three 3-pointers in a row to jump ahead. 

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Utah was able to make an 8-0 run to start the second quarter and cut the lead to 2 points with a Dru Gylten 3-pointer, a Kelsey Rees basket and a Gianna Kneepkens 3-pointer. 

For Utah, Dasia Young had a 9-point quarter followed by Brynna Maxwell with 7 points and six rebounds. Gylten also had 6 points and four assists.

Stanford had a weaker second quarter and scored 11 points to go into halftime leading 32-30. Jones for Stanford had 13 points, two rebounds and one assist with Cameron Brink following behind with six points.

“Lexie [Hull] really stepped up in the second half, too. We shot the ball better. I think our defense kicked in better. And it's a great team win. I'm really proud of our team," Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. 

Utah tied the game on their first shot of the third quarter but was met with a 6-0 run from Stanford that led to them jumping out to an 11-point lead and ended the quarter up 9 by a score of 52-43. 

RELATED: Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament notebook

After that Stanford took control as Utah could not make a basket, going 2-15 from the field in the quarter to end the game. Stanford continued to make shots and went on a 21-1 scoring run, holding Utah without a basket for 7 minutes to win the title. 

“I think after halftime we just missed the shots we usually take and then we kept turning it over. And that's just Stanford's, that's what they do best is make you pay for those. I think after halftime that's kind of what fell apart for us was the turnovers and missed shots,” Gylten said. 

Maxwell scored 16 points to lead Utah with Young scoring 9 and Rees finishing with 8 points and 10 rebounds. Gylten finished with 6 points, five assists and two blocks. 

“This game doesn't define our season. I'm certainly proud that we were here. Disappointed we lost but our season's not over. So I'm excited about the NCAA Tournament,” Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said.

Jones was named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player, after finishing the game with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Hull had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists with Brink scoring 16 points, grabbing four rebounds and having four blocks.  

“It's not ever easy. It's really challenging. At halftime, things didn't look good. We were fouling too much. And I think when we came out, we went to [Brink]. She really delivered. I thought Haley had a great game on both sides of the ball, playing defense, knocking her 3 down.” VanDerveer said.

After a tough week due to the death of Stanford women’s soccer player and captain Katie Meyers, the team wanted to embody her spirit for the rest of the season and did just that. 

"I think we tried to embody that spirit like Anna [Wilson] said. We tried to be competitive, be gritty. She's one of the most enthusiastic players I've ever seen. Getting to watch her play in the soccer Final Four, we all went to their game," Jones said. "So to be able to win and bring this home and kind of be with our Stanford family when we get back is going to be really special. But I think we did a really good job embodying that for her and for each other." 

Stanford won the game to earn its 15th Pac-12 Championship title. It is their second straight title and their third in four years. Stanford also went undefeated (16-0) in conference play and won the title in the same year for the fourth time in program history.


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