LAS VEGAS - In the semifinals of the Pac-12 women's basketball tournament on Friday, March 4, No. 1 Stanford faced off against No. 5 Colorado State and No. 2 Oregon State played No.6 Utah State. Here is how the games played out and who reached the championship game on Sunday.
No. 1 Stanford vs No. 5 Colorado State
No. 1 Stanford showed why they were the top-ranked seed and No. 2 team in the country heading into the tournament. Colorado started the game strong, ending the first quarter down 11-10 but things quickly fell apart after that.
Early in the second quarter, Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed put her hand in Stanford's Cameron Brinks face which led to Brink throwing the ball at her. Both players were given an intentional foul, but it was all Stanford needed to run away with the game. Brink immediately went on an 8-point scoring run that helped Stanford end the first half up 33-18.
Colorado never got back on track after that and lost the game 71-45. Haley Jones once again led the scoring for Stanford with 17 points. Brink had a complete game with 14 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Anna Wilson also contributed 12 points in the win.
For Colorado, Kindyll Wetta led the team with 12 points followed by Jaylyn Sherrod with 10 points. No other Colorado player scored more than 7 points. The team also committed 22 turnovers compared to Stanford’s 14.
“We were starting to get rolling on our offense and we were trading baskets at one point. But we weren't doing what we needed to do with a stop, score, stop,” Hollingshed said.
Wilson also stepped up her performance after the Brink/Hollingshed altercation.
“My energy came from Cam's play after the altercation and then I think that, for me, I just wanted to be really aggressive offensively,” Wilson said.
With the win, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer got her 1,000th career win and will look to make it 1,001 in the championship game on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. MST.
No. 2 Oregon vs No.6 Utah
Utah continued their impressive run in the tournament, defeating Oregon 80-73. Oregon jumped out to an early lead and held it until halftime, leading by a score of 37-32. After that things went in Utah’s direction, scoring two 3-pointers to start the half and take a 41-40 lead early.
Utah took that momentum and ended the third quarter up 55-45 with Oregon shooting 1-12 in the quarter. In the fourth quarter, Oregon made a run and retook the lead with three minutes left in the game but fell apart after that.
Nyara Sabally fouled out and Oregon head coach Kelly Graves was given a technical foul with three minutes left, which gave Utah five free throws in a row and the ball. Kennady McQueen went 4-5 from the line and a layup from Gianna Kneepkens would ultimately seal the game.
Oregon had a full team effort with four players scoring in double digits. Sabally and Sedona Prince had 12 points, Endyia Rogers scored 15 and Te-Hina Paopao scored a team-high of 17 points.
“Disappointed, but this has been our season in a nutshell, to be honest with you. We're up and down, a roller coaster most of the year. We just never know what to expect. I did a terrible job tonight coaching. Obviously lost my cool late,” head coach Graves said.
Kneepkens, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, led Utah in scoring with 24 points and seven rebounds on her birthday. Utah had a very even scoring production with Jenna Johnson scoring 13, Kelsey Reese scoring 14 and McQueen scoring 13.
“You don't have to be perfect. But you need to be as tough as you can be and play as hard as you possibly can. And tonight, I think you get rewarded for, that was an example of us just playing so tough and so hard and effort. I couldn't be more proud of them," Utah head coach Lynne Roberts said.
Utah made program history, reaching their first-ever Pac-12 championship game, and will play No. 1 Stanford in the championship game Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
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