STANFORD, Calif. | With three games in five days, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer has become comfortable going deep into her bench.
It’s a plan that the second-ranked Cardinal will most likely need to follow if they are to get through the upcoming Pac-12 tournament and then successfully defend their national title.
Lexie Hull had 14 points and tied her season high with six steals, Cameron Brink added a double-double, and No. 2 Stanford pulled away in the second half to beat Colorado 63-46 on Sunday.
The Cardinal (21-3, 12-0 Pac-12) trailed at halftime but outscored the Buffaloes 14-5 in the third quarter and got a big fourth from Haley Jones to remain unbeaten in conference play with two weeks left to play.
“Our depth allowed us to handle it well,” VanDerveer said of her team’s tough stretch that included wins over Oregon State on Wednesday and Utah on Friday. “I don’t think anyone looked exhausted. They can play hard and know that they’ve got great teammates that can come in and give them a blow. Our depth is the key to keeping people fresh.”
Stanford had four players in double figures, while nine played at least six minutes. In all, nine different players scored for the defending national champs. Brink had 11 points and 11 rebounds for her ninth double-double this season and 12th of her career. Anna Wilson had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
“I knew that this was going to be a really tough game,” Wilson said. “We understood what our focus was and just tried to stick with that and make as few mistakes as possible.”
Jones scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter including back-to-back layups that made it 52-41.
Stanford, which ended Colorado’s 13-0 start this season with a 60-52 win in Boulder, never trailed after Hull’s 3-pointer early in the third. Hull added another 3 in the fourth that put the Cardinal ahead by 14.
Lesila Finau scored 11 points for Colorado (16-7, 5-7).
Mya Hollingshed, the Buffaloes’ leading scorer who had 10 points, had a rough afternoon. She spent much of the first half on the bench with three fouls, picked up her fourth midway through the third then took a hard hit to the head early in the fourth.
“I think our depth wore them down a little bit,” VanDerveer said. “Without Hollingshed, they’re a different team.”
Colorado ended the first half on a 12-2 capped by Quay Miller’s layup that gave the Buffaloes a 30-29 lead.
Colorado: The Buffaloes remain winless in 13 games at Maples Pavilion. They had eight turnovers in the first quarter, shot 5 of 31 in the second half and were limited to 16 points after halftime.
Stanford: Defense continues to be the strength of this team, and Stanford proved it again against a Colorado team that beat the Cardinal in overtime last season. Wilson again anchored the defensive effort but Hull and others played key roles as well.
Colorado: Plays at UCLA on Friday.
Stanford: Plays at Oregon State on Friday.