February 21, 2016

Cardinal runs away from the Utes 72-54

As at Colorado, Stanford opened slowly, giving up points off a couple of turnovers. However, by the first media time-out the score was tied at 9-all. The Utes kept it close throughout much of the second quarter, tying the score several times, but near the end of the first half the Cardinal opened a gap, ending the half at 31-27.

That lead widened slowly through the third quarter. Then, in the fourth, Stanford went on a 17-1 run to put the game away. With two minutes to go, the scout team of Alexa, Alex, Kiran, Tess and Shannon was once more on the floor to finish up.

The Cardinal scoring was led by Bird who had 18 points, plus a career-best seven blocks and nine rebounds. This performance was especially notable because five of her baskets were jumpers from the high post, a distance she has had trouble with in the past. In her postgame interview, Bird said, "Blocking shots builds energy for our defense."

Kaylee also hit mid-range jumpers, a very good sign for the Cardinal offense. She had 13 points, eight rebounds and a block.

Marta had a remarkable line in the box score. Most prominently, she had eight points from four of nine shooting. For Marta to have attempted nine shots – her career best – is a remarkable improvement (and, in fact, there was a tenth drive in which she was whistled for an offensive foul). Besides this jump in her offensive performance, she also had a steal, three rebounds, six assists, and only one turnover.

Lili was the third Cardinal to score in double digits — she had ten points, most coming late in the game. Alanna had eight points and Brittany five. In all, 14 players had time, ten of them scored and nine grabbed at least one rebound.

Stanford now comes home to close the regular season with two challenging games against the Oregon teams. The Beavers stand at the top of the league and the Ducks are on a tear with nine wins in their last eleven games.

Here are game reports and commentary:

And the box score and play-by-play.

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