Stanford women race away from Utah to claim second straight Pac-12 tournament title
Haley Jones scored 19 points, Cameron Brink added 16 points in just 18 minutes, and Stanford raced away from Utah in the second half Sunday to claim the 2022 Pac-12 Tournament championship with a 73-48 victory.
No team came close to Stanford in the tournament, as the Cardinal won its 20th straight game on the season and its second straight tournament crown. In fact, Stanford now owns 15 of the 21 conference tournament titles on the women’s side. No other Pac-12 team has more than two.
The win also capped an unbeaten run through conference play for head coach Tara VanderVeer and her side, who will now turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament as they look to defend last season’s national championship. With No. 1 South Carolina losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship game, perhaps the door is open for Stanford to earn the No. 1 overall seed.
The Cardinal held Utah to just 21% shooting after the halftime break. (Stanford has now held 59 of its last 64 opponents under 42% shooting in a game, a truly absurd number.)
Nine first-half points from Utah’s Dasia Young and early foul trouble on Brink (two fouls in five minutes) helped the Utes outscore Stanford by eight in the second quarter and go into the locker room down just two, 32-30. A bucket from Utah’s Kelsey Rees to open the scoring in the third quarter tied the game at 32-all.
Then Stanford went on a 15-4 run. Stanford guard Lexie Hull converted an and-one and Jones converted six of her points during the stretch to push the Cardinal out in front by 11 points.
Utah’s Jenna Johnson scored the first points of the fourth to bring the Utes within seven.
Then Stanford just started throwing haymakers.
Or, more appropriately, the Hull sisters started throwing daggers.
Lacie Hull hit a triple. Brink got inside for two. Then sister Lexie hit another triple and converted in the lane the next trip up the court. A single free throw from Rees broke the 10-o scoring spurt from the Cardinal, but 15 seconds later Lacie splashed another 3. With 2:39 to play in the game, Lexie hit the fourth 3 of the quarter to put Stanford up by 25 points.
The Cardinal outscored Utah 21-5 in the fourth.
Lexie finished with 15 on 6-of-12 shooting. Lacie had six points to go with six boards and four assists.
Utah was led by Brynna Maxwell, who scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 3-of-6 from downtown. Rees had eight points and 10 boards.
Stanford (28-3, 16-0 Pac-12) and Utah (20-11, 8-7 Pac-12) will now wait for Selection Sunday to find out where they’re headed for the NCAA Tournament. The 2022 bracket will be revealed next Sunday, March 13, on ESPN at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme has Stanford as the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region and Utah as an 8-seed in the Greensboro Region.