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Preview: No. 19 Utah Utes aims to upset No. 8 Stanford Cardinal

Alissa Pili and the Utes will try to protect their home court against Cameron Brink and the Cardinal on Friday night in the Pac-12.

2023 Invesco QQQ Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase - South Carolina v Utah
Can Alissa Pili power Utah past Stanford?
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

On Friday, the No. 19 Utah Utes (11-4, 1-2) will host No. 8 Stanford Cardinal (14-1, 3-0) at 8 p.m. ET on the Pac-12 Network. The Utes are coming off a tough loss against Arizona in overtime last Sunday, while the Cardinal are aiming to extend their six-game winning streak.

Alissa Pili leads the way

One player doesn’t make a team, but Alissa Pili undeniably is the engine that keeps the Utes running. Her dominance inside the paint has helped the program emerge as a contender in the Pac-12, and they’ll need her to dominate Stanford’s Cameron Brink to tip things in Utah’s favor on Friday night.

While Pili is the clear leader and producer for the Utes, she’ll need guard Kennady McQueen to have a big game shooting from the outside, both to space the floor and help keep up with Stanford’s offense. They’ll be underdogs at home, but if they can win the points in the paint and rebounding categories, they’ll have a chance at pulling off the upset.

Keeping the streak alive

Cameron Brink is aiming to finish her collegiate career with a bang. She’s currently averaging 18.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists—and is a big reason why Stanford is 14-1 on the season. To help extend that win total, she’ll need to win her end of the Pili-Brink matchup and get help from her running mates, forward Kiki Iriafen and guard Hannah Jump.

With Stanford having a bit more offensive firepower than Utah, they’ll have the edge offensively, but this game will not be easy. Utah plays well at home and, as long as Pili is on the floor, the Utes can pull off the upset. They’ve started to adjust their rotations with Gianna Kneepkens out for the year and still look to be contenders in the conference.

If Stanford wants to win the Pac-12, then victories on the road against teams like Utah is how to get it done.

Game information

No. 8 Stanford Cardinal (14-1, 3-0) vs. No. 19 Utah Utes (11-4, 1-2)

When: Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT

How to watch: Pac-12 Network