SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah shed its underdog status in the Pac-12 with a big first for the program.
Erika Bean scored a career-high 23 points and hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left, and the 21st-ranked Utes beat No. 6 Stanford 75-68 on Sunday, their first ever victory over the Cardinal.
“We continued to just chip away,” Utes coach Lynne Roberts said. “This win is so big because of who Stanford is and what they’ve done.”
Utah was active on defense, getting into passing lanes and forcing Stanford into coughing up the ball or taking rushed low-percentage shots. On offense, the Utes stayed patient and turned good looks into baskets at critical times.
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Bean was 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and her final basket put Utah ahead 71-68.
Megan Huff had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Utes, and Kianna Moore added 13 points. Utah (18-1, 7-1 Pac-12) won its sixth straight and remains a game behind first-place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings.
Alanna Smith had 19 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 50 seconds left for Stanford (17-2, 7-1). Dijonai Carrington scored 13 points, and the Cardinal shot just 25 of 65 (.385) from the field and went 8 of 28 from the perimeter.
Utah finished 24 of 55 (.436) from the floor, including 11 of 24 from 3-point range.
“They shot the ball well, but they’re not a one-dimensional team,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “It was not a fluke they beat us. They played better than us.”
Smith committed an offensive foul after Bean’s 3, and the Cardinal missed all three shots they took in the final minute.
Utah sealed the victory after Huff made a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left.
“I didn’t see any wavering or nervousness,” Bean said. “Everyone was locked in. We had a minute to go and we wanted to get that win.”
The Cardinal opened the first quarter by missing 11 of their first 12 shots. That opened the door for Utah to charge out to a 17-12 lead after scoring baskets on four straight possessions. Moore capped the flurry by draining a 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the quarter.
Shots fell more consistently for the Cardinal in the second quarter. Stanford used a 15-6 run to take a 29-26 lead, starting with a layup from Smith and culminating in a 3-pointer from Carrington. The Cardinal scored on seven of eight possessions to facilitate their run.
Stanford pushed its lead to 42-35 early in the third quarter behind 3-pointers from Kiana Williams, Smith, and Alyssa Jerome.
Bean took over and sparked Utah’s rally to tie it at 44 on back-to-back layups. Bean scored a pair of fast-break layups to fuel an 11-0 spurt that put Utah up 58-50 with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter. The Cardinal missed seven straight shots and went four minutes without scoring, enabling the Utes to surge back in front.
Stanford tied it up four times in the fourth quarter, the final time at 68 on a pair of free throws from Lexie Hull with 2:04 remaining.
Bean set new career marks with her outside shooting. Prior to Sunday, the senior guard had not made more than 3 3-pointers in a game or attempted more than four. It helped Bean put together the first 20-point performance of her collegiate career.
“Erika Bean hit big shots for them,” VanDerveer said. “We gambled and she made us pay.”
IF A TREE FALLS…
VanDerveer was upset the Pac-12 Network decided not to air the game.
“The sad thing is this game wasn’t on television,” she said. “This was a great game. It was great for the fans, but it’s too bad it wasn’t on TV.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Stanford: The Cardinal’s normally efficient offense struggled to find consistency. They endured bad shooting spells in the first and third quarter that made it possible for Utah to hang around and pull away late.
Utah: There’s no question that the Utes are no mere upstart. Utah put itself in contention for the Pac-12 title by playing smart defense and efficient offense against the Cardinal.
Stanford visits California on Thursday and hosts the Bears on Saturday.
Utah travels to No. 5 Oregon on Friday and No. 9 Oregon State on Sunday.
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