Pac-12 women’s basketball report: Stanford stunned, Utah ties for first
The Stanford Cardinal lost to USC three weeks ago, but had not lost a game since then. The Cardinal were still leading the Pac-12 standings heading into their Sunday game in Seattle against the Washington Huskies. USC won in Seattle two weeks ago, but it wasn’t easy. The Trojans had to battle into overtime to finish off UW.
The Huskies haven’t thrived in the Pac-12 this season, but they have been consistently competitive. Stanford was fully expected to win, but Washington was going to make the Trees earn it.
Washington picked quite a time to break through and play crunch-time minutes better than it had at any previous point this year.
Washington had come up short in OT against USC, late in regulation against UCLA, and against other high-profile opponents. On this day, however, the Huskies stacked together several late-game defensive stops. They also crashed the boards and scored 30 points in the second quarter after an eight-point first quarter. Trailing 65-63 with 3:19 left, they scored the next eight points and earned a 72-67 win.
Washington finished plus-10 in rebounds and allowed only two offensive boards to Stanford’s powerful front line. A team which had knocked on the door but hadn’t busted through finally crossed the threshold …
… much as USC finally broke through against the same Stanford team after losing twice to UCLA by a combined total of four points.
Stanford’s loss to Washington, combined with Utah’s win at Oregon on Sunday, pushed the Utes into a first-place tie with the Cardinal. Colorado swept the Oregon schools as well to be one game back.
It’s a three-team race again after it seemed Stanford and Utah were separating from the pack.
Stanford goes to Colorado and Utah on the final weekend of the regular season in late February. Those two games are likely to decide the 2023 Pac-12 champion.