"Any time we can come to Cal and get a win is exciting," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "The team is playing well and we want to keep improving. We have a lot of important games coming up."
Stanford doesn't always have an easy time of it in Seattle. The Huskies have won four of the past seven meetings between the teams in Washington.
The Huskies are 5-10 in their past 15 games against the Cardinal, an ordinary stat expect that no other Pac-10 team matches that success rate over the same period.
Washington (5-1, 12-5) dropped out of a first-place tie with Stanford after losing at No. 14 Arizona State (4-1, 14-2) on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies' three conference titles are second only to Stanford's 15. They are also second in total Pac-10 victories with 239 to Stanford's 311.
Washington averages 74.9 points a game, second in the Pac-10 just ahead of Stanford's 72.9. Huskies' senior Cameo Hicks is third in the conference with an 18.4 scoring average.
Candice Wiggins (seventh in the Pac-10 at 15.8) scored 18 points, hitting a season-high six 3-pointers, including all three she attempted in the second half, against the Bears but again the Cardinal didn't wait for its marquee players to spark the offense.
Stanford opened a 14-2 lead in the first five and a half minutes, with Kristen Newlin scoring half of them.
Cal, ranked No. 21, used several different defenses, including a box-and-one when freshman Jayne Appel entered the game, and still hasn't found a way to stop Stanford. It's been nearly 14 years since the Bears (2-3, 11-4) have beaten the Cardinal in Berkeley. Stanford won its ninth straight of the season and its 14th consecutive over the Bears (and 29 of 30).
"Teams have to make decisions to double Brooke (Smith) or guard the 3-point line," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We do look to Brooke but it seemed like she had two people on her every time. Kristen was open and Brooke found the open player. She makes the people around her better."
Wiggins didn't score until Stanford held a nine-point. She did, however, record two assists, blocked a shot and grabbed an offensive rebound to help contribute to that lead. Wiggins matched her season highs with eight rebounds and seven assists. The six 3-pointers are one off her career high.
"I keep working on my 3-point shot because I know it opens the inside for us," Wiggins said. "I focus on that right away."
She missed her first two long-range tries, and then made six of seven, including her last four in a row. Wiggins took over sole possession of ninth place on Stanford's all-time 3-point goals made list with 157.
For Appel, it was a homecoming of sorts. She attended Carondelet High and hails from nearby Pleasant Hill. It was also her first experience playing against the Bears.
"Just being part of the game was exciting," said Appel, who scored a game-high 19 points and added seven rebounds. "The team said 'Welcome to your first Big Game' and most of my family and my whole high school team were here."
Appel reached double figures in scoring for the fifth consecutive contest and she blocked her 24th shot.
The Cardinal held Cal to season lows in both points and shooting percentage (.222). The Bears missed 12 of their first 13 shots in the first half and 11 of their first 12 shots in the second half.
"The defense stepped up and that's where it all started," VanDerveer said. "We executed our game plan almost to a 'T.' The end of defense is rebounding and I thought we did that well, too."
Stanford held its opponent to fewer than 50 points for the fourth time. Defense likely will play a role on Thursday, too. Stanford leads the conference in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 57.8 points. Meanwhile Washington is last at 68.9.
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