STANFORD, Calif. -- Anna Wilson takes Stanford’s defensive streak seriously, even if she wasn’t aware of it.
The second-ranked Cardinal have not allowed a team to score more than 77 points since the end of the 2019-20 season. That streak reached 56 games Friday night as Stanford beat Utah 91-64.
“It’s definitely a byproduct of what we do, but I didn’t even know that.” Wilson said. “We take scout really seriously. Our team is very, very athletic. Everyone wants to play really hard and give their best effort. That’s a result of that.”
Lexie Hull and Haley Jones each scored 15 points. Cameron Brink had 10 points and seven rebounds and moved into the school’s top 10 for career blocks as Stanford (20-3, 11-0 Pac-12) extended its conference winning streak to 26 games.
The Cardinal weren’t as crisp as usual offensively, but made up for it with a defense that forced 20 turnovers leading to 22 points.
Wilson, who had 11 points and six assists, had three of Stanford’s 11 steals.
“I don’t think there’s anyone that plays harder defensively than Anna does,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “Our guards have developed and are playing so well. That’s why our team is doing what we’re doing, getting out and running, forcing turnovers, taking defense personally. That’s contagious to our bigs.”
Stanford rode its defense to a national championship a year ago, and Wilson believes it will be key in March once again. The last time the Cardinal allowed more than 77 points was March 8, 2020, when then-No. 3 Oregon defeated Stanford 89-56 in the Pac-12 championship game.
“It’s been really critical to our team and it’s going to be really important where we want to go,” Wilson said. “Last year, we were one of the best defenses in the country, if not the best. There’s things that we can improve on, but the idea is if you can play defense every night really well, offense will come.”
Brink, who enrolled at Stanford the year the defensive streak began, helped anchor the Cardinal’s effort against the Utes. She tied her career-high with six blocks, giving her 141 for her career, which ranks ninth in school history.
Gianna Kneepkens and Peyton McFarland scored 12 points apiece for Utah (14-8, 5-5). The Utes had won four straight.
“Stanford’s defense is phenomenal,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said. “They came to play. They were ready for us. We shot a (good) percentage from 3, but it didn’t feel easy.”
Hull and Jones kept Stanford’s offense moving.
Hull had eight points as part of a 20-5 run in the second quarter, then scored the final five points of the third, giving the Cardinal a 67-50 lead.
Jones had five straight in the fourth to push Stanford’s lead to 21 points, and Lacie Hull hit a 3-pointer to make it 85-55.
Utah: The Utes were game early, but fell to 0-5 against ranked teams this season. After scoring 91 points against USC two nights earlier, Utah couldn’t get much going and had only two players reach double figures.
Stanford: It wasn’t pretty offensively, but VanDerveer’s club does what it does best: win. The Cardinal had a 37-28 rebounding advantage and outscored the Utes 13-1 in fast-break points. Stanford is 29-1 all-time against Utah.
Utah: Plays at California on Sunday. The teams had their game in January postponed due to COVID issues within Cal’s program.
Stanford: Hosts Colorado on Sunday.