Stanford had to make some kind of statement in the Pac-12 Conference. The 19th-ranked Cardinal had reigned supreme the past 14 years before allowing the baton to be passed to No. 7 Oregon State this year.
The Beavers clinched a share of the women's basketball regular-season title and was looking to clinch an outright title against Stanford.
Oregon State deserves to be champions, but until it beats the Cardinal, there is something missing.
Stanford handed the Beavers their first home loss of the season, 69-58, Thursday night as five players hit double figures in scoring, led by Lili Thompson's 13. Oregon State was 13-0 in venerable Gill Coliseum entering play Thursday.
Erica McCall and Amber Orrange each added 12, while Briana Roberson and Bonnie Samuelson each had 11 as the Cardinal (13-4 Pac-12, 21-8 overall) improved to 61-4 in the month of February since 2007, and three of those losses have been this month.
"We knew that this was going to be a big game for them," McCall said. "But we know that we're Stanford. Stanford does big things. We call ourselves the party crashers."
Stanford travels to Oregon for a 1 p.m. game Sunday that concludes the regular season. The conference tournament starts next Thursday in Seattle.
The Cardinal won its 29th consecutive game against Oregon State, and 40 of 41 overall. There's a good chance these teams may meet again in the Pac-12 tournament, perhaps as early as the semifinal.
If nothing else, Stanford improved its RPI rating with its second win over a Top 10 program this season; this one a road victory.
Stanford maintained a 10-point edge for most of the final 12 minutes, though that never stopped Oregon State from rallying. The Beavers closed within eight at 64-56 with 1:09 left.
"I think that some teams are tough matchups for other teams, and what our strength is, is what they don't like. And in some ways, it's the other way around: What their strength is we don't like to play against," coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It was a one-point game at halftime. We had to dig in. we made some big shots in the second half."
Bonnie Samuelson hit a 3-pointer for the first points of the second half, sparking the Cardinal. She hit two more long-range shots to help Stanford open a 13-point advantage with 7:39 remaining to play in the game.
Stanford led for all but 23 seconds of the game, the first 14 of which was a 0-0 tie.
Roberson instigated the first half rally. She hit five of her six shots, scoring all of her 11 points, to lead the way.
The Cardinal led by as many as nine, 26-17, on a layup by McCall with 7:43 left in the first half.
The Beavers gnawed at the lead the rest of the way and pulled within 34-33 by halftime.