No. 3 Stanford 100, Washington St. 59
Nnemkadi Ogwumike and her teammates realized in a hurry that Washington State had improved drastically. Stanford was forced to make adjustments on both ends of the floor to handle the Cougars.
No problem. The Cardinal are constantly trying to change for the better and do whatever it takes to prepare for a run at that elusive NCAA title next month.
Ogwumike scored 19 points, Kayla Pedersen added 15 points, five assists and five rebounds and No. 3 Stanford broke its own Pac-10 record by winning a 49th straight against conference competition with a 100-59 rout of Washington State on Thursday night.
''One of the things that I think is our best quality is we don't have an arrogant air about ourselves,'' Ogwumike said. ''We don't walk in and say, 'Oh, we're Stanford, let's just play, things will work for us.' When we're not playing or performing, it's a lack of concentration and focus.''
Jeanette Pohlen had 12 points and eight assists in the Cardinal's 15th straight victory overall since a pair of road losses at DePaul and Tennessee in December. Stanford (21-2, 12-0 Pac-10) extended its home winning streak at Maples Pavilion to 57 games - and now is two away from tying the school-record run of 59 wins in a row set from Nov. 25, 1994, to March 14, 1998.
Jazmine Perkins scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half and made all seven of her shots. But Washington State (7-17, 5-7), which lost to Stanford 94-50 on its home court in Pullman on Jan. 16, is yet to beat Stanford in 52 all-time meetings.
Stanford, which hasn't won a national championship since 1992, started the second half with a 15-2 run to build a 61-34 lead. Washington State didn't make its first basket after the break until Rosetta Adzasu scored at the 14:19 mark.
''The second half, we really took over,'' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ''I think our team might have come out a little casual. We weren't as aggressive as we needed to be early in the game. We had to make some adjustments offensively, which I thought we did.''
The Cardinal, who moved up a spot in this week's rankings, matched their season high in points also done in a 100-45 win at San Francisco on Dec. 22 - VanDerveer's 800th career victory. Returning home after two weeks of road games, Stanford topped its own mark of 48 consecutive wins against the Pac-10 set from Feb. 9, 1995, to Jan. 12, 1998. The Cardinal haven't lost to a Pac-10 opponent since a 57-54 road defeat to rival California on Jan. 18, 2009, in Berkeley.
Washington State was coming off its first conference sweep in a decade with wins last week against the Oregon schools, but the Cougars couldn't maintain the energy and shooting touch they showed early to keep it close.
They will try for their third Pac-10 road win of the season Saturday at Cal. Washington State hasn't won more than two road games in conference play since getting four such victories in 1997-98.
The Cardinal, headed for their 11th straight Pac-10 regular-season crown and what they hope turns into a fourth consecutive trip to the Final Four, overcame a slow start by their standards in which they missed open shots from close range, didn't convert free throws and committed six turnovers in the opening 12-plus minutes.
Still, the Cardinal shot 55.2 percent in the first half and 63.3 percent overall.
They play five of their final seven games at home - then hosts the first and second round of the NCAA tournament at Maples in mid-March.
After Hana Potter scored for the Cougars to cut Stanford's early lead to 8-7, the Cardinal responded with an 11-3 run and got 10 of those points from Ogwumike and younger sister, Chiney. Washington State kept hitting big shots to stay in it.
Chiney Ogwumike finished with eight points and seven rebounds, helping Stanford to a 36-20 advantage on the boards. Fellow freshman Toni Kokenis added 13 points off the bench for the Cardinal, who led 46-32 at halftime.
Washington State hit 11 of its first 19 field-goal tries with four 3-pointers on a night players and coaches on both teams sported pink for breast cancer awareness. Washington State players wore pink high-tops and socks, with coach June Daugherty in pink Converse sneakers.
''I said this before the game and this reconfirms it: They're the best team in the country. There's no doubt about it. They just get better and better,'' Daugherty said. ''We're making big steps and strides, but Stanford's Stanford. ... Tara reached down into that huge, fat playbook of hers and pulled out some plays we haven't seen.''
Stanford had pink shoelaces and some players even went with pink streaks in their hair.