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No. 2 Stanford 99, Pepperdine 50

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STANFORD, Calif. (AP)

Tara VanDerveer points to Stanford star Jayne Appel and the legacy she wants to leave. The coach also singles out Nnemkadi Ogwumike and the sophomore's strides. Then there's Jeanette Pohlen and her leadership and court vision. And Kayla Pedersen, who gets more comfortable at the wing position with every game. "This team is better," VanDerveer said. With a grueling early schedule, the second-ranked Cardinal will find out in a hurry just how good they are. Pedersen had 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Stanford extended its winning streak at Maples Pavilion to 30 games with a 99-50 rout of Pepperdine in its home opener Thursday night. Appel added 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists. The All-American also blocked three shots as the Cardinal (3-0) overcame a slow start to quickly break the game open. Pohlen scored the final seven points in a 9-0 spurt that kicked off a 31-3 first-half run and finished with 20 as one of five Cardinal players to score in double figures. Pohlen also had three steals and three assists. "I think we can do whatever we really focus on and put our minds to because we have so much talent," Pohlen said. "We can play really good defense and force a lot of turnovers. That's how we get our points." Miranda Ayim scored 14 points to lead Pepperdine (2-1), a young and inexperienced team that was overmatched in all facets against the bigger, quicker and more talented national powerhouse at Stanford. The Cardinal, coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances and picked to win a 10th straight Pac-10 regular-season crown, shot 60.6 percent in the first half and 63.5 overall but committed 21 turnovers. VanDerveer was able to give her reserves plenty of action in this one, but ideally would like to settle on an eight-play rotation before long. Stanford's home winning streak is the fourth-longest in school history. The longest was a 59-game run from Nov. 25, 1994, to March 14, 1998. This team would like nothing more than to keep the momentum and win it all this season in Appel's senior campaign. "Jayne is on a mission. It starts there," VanDerveer said. Stanford hasn't been tested yet after road victories at Old Dominion and Rutgers last weekend, but that will soon change. "It's always nice to go on the road and experience a little bit," Appel said. "Hurricane Ida, that was interesting. We were playing in two difficult atmospheres. To start off the season with two good wins was important for us." The Cardinal are playing their toughest early schedule in VanDerveer's 24-year tenure on The Farm. Next month, Stanford hosts DePaul and Duke on Dec. 13 and 15, then Tennessee visits Maples Pavilion on Dec. 19. After that, the Cardinal hit the road for what could be the most highly anticipated game of the regular season when they play defending champion Connecticut at Hartford on Dec. 22. "I'm really thankful we're playing who we're playing," VanDerveer said. "You want to be able to play a lot of different teams. Hopefully we can benefit from every situation. I'm excited about our schedule." Ogwumike, whose younger sister Chiney will join Stanford's program next season, had 14 points and seven rebounds as the Cardinal held a 51-33 advantage on the boards. Stanford also shot 9 for 22 from 3-point range, getting four 3s from Pedersen and three by Pohlen. The Waves, who opened the season with wins against Northern Arizona and San Jose State, are in a tough stretch with three road games in five days. Pepperdine played without its best shooter, Katie Menton. During practice Wednesday in the Bay Area, Menton experienced heart palpitations and returned to the Fresno area with her parents for further tests. The Waves shot 25.3 percent without her. "We knew we had our hands full coming in," said coach Julie Rousseau, a former Stanford assistant. "This will be a pivotal game because there's so much we can learn from it. We're a pressing team. They did a great job of attacking our press." The Cardinal - who went 33-5 last season and captured a sixth Pac-10 tournament crown - have won the last five meetings with Pepperdine and eight of nine overall. Stanford started 4 for 12 from the floor, missing several easy shots in the paint, but responded by making 16 of its next 21 field-goal tries to end the half on the way to a 50-26 lead at the break. All but one Stanford player scored.

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