SALT LAKE CITY Sara James made the most of her opportunity to play extended minutes.
With starter Toni Kokenis held out as a precaution, James stepped up with a career-high 18 points Sunday to help No. 4 Stanford beat Utah 70-56.
"The highlight of this game was Sara James," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said of the 5-foot-10 reserve out of Oak Ridge High School. "She's been working really hard in practice. It was her time."
James, The Bee's 2009 Player of the Year, came off the bench to hit 6 of 8 shots, including 3 of 5 from three-point range. She also had four assists and two steals in 31 minutes. The junior went into the game averaging 4.1 points in 10 minutes.
Each time the Utes would get close, James was there to answer. She did it after Utah pulled to 35-33, countering with a driving layup.
She did it again with a three-pointer after Iwalani Rodrigues scored back-to-back baskets to trim Stanford's lead to 47-41.
And after freshman Paige Crozon hit a three-pointer with 6:38 left, James scored again to bump the Cardinal lead to nine with 6:23 to go.
"I keep telling people Sara is the most competitive person I ever met at Stanford. And that's on the court and off the court," said Chiney Ogwumike, who led the Cardinal with 20 points. "I've just been hoping and praying for an opportunity for her to come out and really show people that, and (Sunday), she did."
Stanford (13-1, 2-0 Pacific 12 Conference) is now 15-0 against the Utes (9-4, 0-2). The Cardinal extended to 80 its streak of consecutive conference wins.
Ogwumike entered the game having posted 10 consecutive double doubles, but she managed just six rebounds.
No. 7 Cal 53, No. 20 Colorado 49 in Boulder, Colo. Unable to hit free throws with any consistency down the stretch, Cal still found a recipe for success with some old-fashioned defense and rebounding.
Brittany Boyd scored 15 points, Reshanda Gray and Afure Jemerigbe rebounded missed free throws in the late going, and Layshia Clarendon figured in a defensive stop that prevented a last-second shot as the Bears (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12) hung on to beat Colorado (11-2, 0-2).
No. 2 Baylor 83, No. 13 Oklahoma State 49 in Waco, Texas Brooklyn Pope scored 18 points and Brittney Griner had 14 points and 10 rebounds to help Baylor (12-1, 2-0 Big 12 Conference) beat Oklahoma State (11-2, 0-2).
Odyssey Sims had 13 points for the Lady Bears, who extended the longest active home winning streak in the country to 47 games.