Sports


Pac-10 basketball title No. 20 is only the beginning for Stanford

 

On another historic night for the Stanford women's basketball team, there was a feeling it was only the beginning.

The second-ranked Cardinal clinched the outright Pac-10 regular-season title with a 99-60 victory over visiting Oregon Saturday and now the real work begins.

Stanford (17-0, 26-2) has Senior Night against California at 8 p.m. Thursday before turning its attention to the conference tournament and beyond.

The Cardinal emphasized its record 60th consecutive win at Maples Pavilion by playing the game at a high level. The victory also handed the program its 11th straight conference title and 20th overall.

An amazing achievement in itself, and yet a sense of unfulfilled expectations linger as Stanford looks forward.

"I think maybe some people might take it for granted some times," Stanford senior guard Jeannette Pohlen said. "But a lot of work goes into everything that we accomplish."

Pohlen scored 20 points and Kayla Pedersen had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Ducks.

"It's not easy to stay healthy, to compete," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "If it was easy, more people would do it."

The Cardinal home winning streak dates to the 2007 season opener and includes victories over top-ranked teams, including stopping Connecticut's unprecedented 90-game winning streak earlier this season. Stanford also beat No. 1 Tennessee in 2007 at Maples Pavilion.

"The streak we have here at home is very special," Pohlen said. "We want to give our fans a win every time we're at home."

Just about the only NCAA Division I programs that can compare to the home success of the women's basketball program are the tennis, soccer and swimming teams at Stanford.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, also made an appearance for the Cardinal. She had four points and four rebounds in a cameo appearance that lasted all of 12 minutes.

Her presence, after she missed two games with a sprained right ankle, was inspiration in itself. Stanford had enough to beat the conference's second- and third-place teams but the Cardinal wouldn't want to be without her much longer.

"It's debatable whose the best team in the country," Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. "They would certainly get my vote."

From here on out, Stanford wants to win that debate.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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