No. 3 Utah beats No. 8 Stanford to share 1st Pac-12 title


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gianna Kneepkens scored 28 points to lead No. 8 Utah to an 84-78 victory over No. 3 Stanford on Saturday that gave the Utes a share of their first regular-season Pac-12 Conference title.

Alissa Pili finished with 14 points and Kennedy McQueen had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and six steals for Utah (25-3, 15-3), which shares the conference title with Stanford.

Hannah Jump led Stanford (27-4, 15-3) with 24 points. Cameron Brink had 14 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Cardinal, while Haley Jones added nine points and eight rebounds.

Utah led the entire second half, but Stanford pulled within one at 73-72 after Brink and Jones combined to make four straight baskets. Kneepkens knocked down a 3-pointer to keep the Cardinal from erasing the deficit completely.

The Utes then forced three straight turnovers in the final minute to secure the win.

Stanford seized a quick 9-0 lead after making four straight baskets, culminating in back-to-back jumpers from Jump. Utah used stout defense to erase the deficit, going ahead 10-9 on a pair of free throws from Kelsey Rees. The Utes held the Cardinal scoreless for five minutes and forced four turnovers in that stretch.

Utah built a seven-point lead during the second quarter behind hot shooting from Kneepkens. She scored 12 points in the quarter, culminating in a 3-pointer that put the Utes up 40-33. Kneepkens gave Utah’s offense a spark while Pili sat the final nine minutes of the first half after picking up her third foul.

The Utes made 5 of 7 shots to open the second half and went ahead 52-40 on back-to-back baskets from Kneepkens and Issy Palmer.

Second-chance baskets sparked a Stanford rally. The Cardinal scored 11 second-chance points in the third quarter after being held scoreless in that category during the first half. Stanford trimmed the deficit to a basket, cutting Utah’s lead to 59-57 on a layup from Jones.


Stanford: The Cardinal dominated on the glass, outrebounding Utah 37-23. That gave Stanford numerous critical extra possessions against a tenacious Ute defense.

Utah: The Utes were proficient in disrupting Stanford’s offense and capitalizing on turnovers. Utah scored 26 points off 21 Cardinal turnovers.


Beating a top-5 Stanford team should boost Utah back into the top 5.


Stanford and Utah will play in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. Both teams have a bye into the quarterfinal round on Thursday.


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