Spoiler alert: No, they couldn't; but they made a game of it for a while.
Utah came out defending in a matchup zone that they used throughout the game. Stanford has had problems against the zone this season but seemed not to be so bothered by it now, especially in the first quarter when they had a quick start aided by Utah's turning the ball over eight times. Marta had two near-identical steals on consecutive Utah possessions. Karlie hit three of four three-point shots. Alanna blocked the Ute's final shot to end the first quarter at 20-7.
Utah pulled together offensively and kept pace with Stanford in the second quarter. Kaylee had good minutes in this quarter, hitting shots and getting rebounds. The half ended 35-24.
The Utes made progress in the third quarter and for a while looked as if they were going to be back in the game, coming within 6 points for several minutes before falling back.
The opening minutes of the fourth quarter, however, put a decisive end to their hopes. Nine seconds in, Bri hit a three. Shortly, Karlie hit a mid-range jumper, then Alanna hit a three and, a minute later, hit another. In less than four minutes, the lead went from eight points to fifteen, and the game was effectively over.
Karlie led the team with fourteen points, hitting four of seven three-point shots while playing "only" 34 minutes, more than anyone else.
The rest of the scoring was almost evenly split among Bird (11), Alanna (10), Brittany (9), Marta (9), Nadia (8) and Bri (7). The Cardinal should feel some confidence with such a balanced attack.
The Cardinal challenged the Utes' standing among the top ten in the nation in 3-point field goal defense by making 38% of their shots from beyond the arc — in addition to Karlie's four, Alanna sank two, Bri and DiJonai each had one.
The Utes are a strong defensive team, but the Cardinal was stronger today. They snagged more O-boards (15-11), more total rebounds (44-37), and blocked more shots (10-7).
Marta ran the point for most of the game and had seven assists to two turnovers. In this game Marta showed a new offensive skill: Previously her offense had consisted almost entirely of drives to the basket, with a rare 3-point attempt. In this game she twice stepped in and took mid-range jump shots, hitting both.
On Sunday it's on to Boulder to play the Buffaloes.
Here are game reports and commentary:
- No. 13 Stanford women cruise to 77-58 win over Utah, the Associated Press game recap
- Karlie Samuelson dominant behind the arc, leads Stanford women's basketball to win over Utah, the Pac-12 game recap video
- Utah falls to No.13 Stanford, the Utah Athletics game recap
- Cardinal pulls away from the Utes 77-58, the Stanford Athletics game recap
- No. 13 Stanford tops Utes, 77-58 by Eric Butler (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Slow start, faltering finish doom Utes against No. 13 Stanford by Joseph Coles (Deseret News)
- WBB: Stanford 77 Utah 58 from the CARDboard
- Women’s basketball scores 27 fourth-quarter points in rout of Utah by Alexandre Bucquet (The Stanford Daily)
- Success at Huntsman in SLC by Harriet Benson, FBC traveller
And a video interview of Karlie, "We came alive in the 4th."