Of the six games remaining on the regular-season for No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (21-3, 10-2 Pac-12), four will take place on the road, including this week’s challenges: Utah (12-11, 5-7 Pac-12) and Colorado (14-9, 3-9 Pac-12). The Utes will be Stanford’s first foe of the trip on Friday evening, while a game against the Buffaloes is set to follow on Sunday.
When the mountain teams visited the Farm at the end of January, Stanford had no trouble handling the Utes in a decisive 82-49 fashion. In the Jan. 26 meeting, the Cardinal were fueled by a career-high 20 points from freshman forward Fran Belibi, whose offensive performance was complemented by four other double-digit marks: 14 from freshman guard Hannah Jump, 11 each from freshman forward Ashten Prechtel and senior forward Nadia Fingall and 10 from sophomore guard Lexie Hull. Stanford netted 48.6% of all attempts from the field against the Utes; an impressive 75% (12-for-16) mark in the fourth quarter was balanced out by a 5-for-18 effort in the second.
On the defensive side, Stanford held the visitors to just 36.5% shooting while forcing 16 turnovers, 11 of which were tallied by Stanford as steals. Lexie Hull topped the category for the Cardinal, snagging three. That said, the Utes’ showing in Maples was hardly typical — Utah has averaged a 42.3% success rate from the field, including a 35.6% mark from behind the arc, just higher than Stanford’s 34.8%. In the teams’ second meeting of the season, ensuring Utah is not fully comfortable on its home court will be key for the visiting Cardinal.
A similar sentiment will also be crucial to leaving Colorado victorious. Just two days before the Cardinal cruised past the Utes, the Buffaloes became one of just two teams to push Stanford to overtime; the Cardinal’s two losses at the time had come in regulation from Texas and Oregon, but Gonzaga had also faced Stanford in extra minutes. A rocky first half by the Buffaloes was counteracted by a 16-for-27 effort in the second half, while Stanford’s shooting, despite a career-high 29 points from Lexie Hull, clocked in at 40.7% — its fourth-worst of the season at the time.
The weekend’s action gets underway Friday in Salt Lake City. Tip-off against the Utes is set for 6 p.m. PT.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.