Women’s basketball: Utes Can’t Hang With Stanford

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Senior Paige Crozon (14) maintains possesion in the final moments of the game. Utah Vs. BYU December 10,2016. Adam Fondren The Utah Chronicle

Finishing up a road trip that saw the University of Utah women’s basketball team beat Cal on Friday night, the Utes took on a tough Stanford team that was ranked No. 8 in the nation. But the Cardinal proved to be too much for the visiting Utes and in the end, Utah came away with an 87-51 loss.

“We were kind of like zombies today,” said head coach Lynne Roberts. “We looked different today than we did on Friday. First of all, Stanford is really good, and they have really smart players who are the best that I’ve been around at executing a game plan.”

The Cardinal started off quickly against the visiting Utes, as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first minute of the game. Junior forward Emily Potter and senior wing Paige Crozon responded for the Utes, but Stanford hit another triple and went up 9-7. The Cardinal then went on a run to go up 18-7 at the first media timeout.

After that, Stanford turned on the jets, and it went on an 18-0 run that put them up 31-8 at the end of the first quarter. The first quarter was the toughest for the Utes as they struggled to score. After one, the Utes had hit just 3-of-14 shots, and they were shooting 21 percent from the floor while the Cardinal connected on 11-of-21 shots from the field.

The Utes connected on a few trips to the charity stripe as they hit double digits, but they were still down 34-11. Junior wing Malia Nawahine hit her first three-pointer of the game, and the first field goal of the second quarter for the visiting team, but the Utes were still down by 23, at 37-14.

Utah forced back to back turnovers and took advantage, connecting on several tries from the field and the free throw line, but ultimately Stanford went up at the break by a score of 43-20. The second quarter saw the Utes play somewhat better, albeit marginally, as they shot 25 percent from the floor and only 20 percent from behind the three point line.

The Utes came out fighting in the second half, as junior wing Tanaeya Boclair scored on a jump shot, and sophomore guard Erika Bean hit another three-pointer for the Utes. Utah connected on three consecutive tries from different players to cut the Cardinal’s lead to 16. Utah’s effort showed on the offensive end, as they shot over 69 percent from the filed while holding Stanford to just 35 percent shooting.

Stanford refused to go away though, and by the end of the third period, the Cardinal held a 64-39 advantage. The third quarter was statistically the best for the Utes, as they scored 21 to Stanford’s 23.

In the fourth, Stanford eventually grew their lead to 32 points as they connected on 5-of-6 shots midway through the final period. When the final buzzer sounded, the Cardinal walked off the court as the victors.

“We won on Friday and anytime you can get the split in the Pac-12 is a good weekend,” Roberts continued. “It’s not just that we lost, it’s that we didn’t play to character at all.”

Up next for the Utes is a pair of home games next weekend as Utah hosts Oregon on Friday and Oregon State on Sunday.

j.walch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JaredWalch

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