Five score in double figures as Stanford cruises past Utah, 82-49; Cardinal honor 1990 team

1990 national championship team honored pregame

STANFORD, Calif. – On a Sunday afternoon when Stanford honored their 1990 national championship team on the squad’s 30th anniversary, the Cardinal (18-2, 7-1 Pac-12) blew out the Utah Utes (10-9, 3-5) in an 82-49 rout at Maples Pavilion.

“I’m really proud of our team; how hard we played,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We had a great team effort; we did a lot of things we talked about in practice.”

Besides paying homage to her first national title team, VanDerveer had something else on her mind postgame.

“We’re very happy for our team’s success, but we’re very saddened about the news about Kobe Bryant,” VanDerveer said. “That’s put a damper on our celebration with the 1990 team. It enforces to our team how much we love each other, how much we take care of each other and in the big picture there are things much more important than a basketball game.”

Bryant, his daughter Gianna, along with seven others, including the pilot, died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in Southern California. VanDerveer learned the shocking news after the game.

The Cardinal led for more than 38 of the game’s 40 minutes, including an advantage as large as 34 points. They shot nearly 49% from the field while holding their opponent to just under 37%.

Stanford freshman forward, Fran Belibi, earned a career-high in scoring with 20 points and eight rebounds. She scored nine of those points in the first quarter on a perfect 4-4 from the field.

“I just was out there setting screens, and off the screens, I was just open, and my teammates were getting it to me, so I just had to put it in.” Belibi said.”

Cardinal senior forward, Nadia Fingall added 11 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

“The biggest thing for me coming into this year was doing what my team needed me to do, and that’s becoming something that became more regular,” Fingall said. “But if I’m not hitting one day, they’ll find someone else.”

Three other Stanford players scored double figures. Freshman guard Hannah Jump earned 14 points, with four treys. Freshman forward Ashten Prechtel contributed 11 points and five rebounds, and sophomore guard Lexie Hull chipped in 10 points.

The Utes had a triumvirate of double-figure scorers. Freshman guard, Kemery Martin dropped 13 points, while freshman guard, Brynna Maxwell and sophomore forward, Andrea Torres, both added 10 points apiece.

The longtime Cardinal coach revealed that having the 1990 team honored meant a lot to her.

“I was a little sentimental I have to admit going out there before the game. I just kind of had to let it go,” VanDerveer said. “I love that team. The ’90 team put Stanford on the map for basketball.”

Overall, the ceremonial day turned out well, although the tragedy a few hundred miles south did make it a bit melancholy. The win gave the Cardinal a weekend sweep after beating Colorado in overtime Friday evening.

Stanford is next in action in the Pacific Northwest, as they take on the Washington Huskies on the last day of the month, January 31, and then travel to Pullman, WA on Groundhog Day, February 2 to battle the Washington State Cougars.

The Utes head back to Salt Lake City to host the Oregon Ducks on January 30 and Oregon State Beavers February 1.

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