No. 3 Stanford 93, No. 16 Texas 78
Tara VanDerveer has a long to-do list for her Stanford team during its two-week break from games during the school's final exam period: take better care of the ball, block out more consistently, find ways to regularly get to the free throw line.
Not that things are way off.
Kayla Pedersen had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and No. 3 Stanford held off 16th-ranked Texas 93-78 on Sunday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 22 points and seven rebounds and her freshman sister, Chiney, scored 14 for the Cardinal, who moved VanDerveer (798-195) within two victories of joining the elite 800 club. She is trying to become the fifth women's coach to do it. VanDerveer is 646-144 in her 25th year at Stanford.
''I honestly don't think about it at all. I'm really focused on the moment, this team, this game, looking at what combinations need to be out there,'' VanDerveer said. ''I'm enjoying coaching this team. Maybe I've got another 800.''
Stanford took a 2-0 lead before tipoff of the nationally televised game because Texas received a technical for failing to get its lineup turned in to the scorer's table on time.
Chassidy Fussell scored 17 points, Kathleen Nash 14 and Ashleigh Fontenette 11 for Texas (4-1).
Sarah Boothe had 14 points and six rebounds as a reserve for Stanford (5-0), playing its second straight in Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal shot 57.4 percent and converted 11 of 12 free throws on a day former Stanford stars Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel sat together courtside. The fifth-ranked Cardinal football team was recognized during a timeout late in the first half. Players held up the Axe they won by whipping rival California 48-14 in the Big Game on Nov. 20.
''I think we're doing a lot better than we were two weeks ago. Today you saw a toughness out of us and a will to persevere,'' Pedersen said. ''I think people are just learning their roles and learning how they can play with each other and we're a lot more confident right now.''
After a slow start, Texas scrapped its way back into the game. This was the first road game of the season for the Longhorns, who have a tough stretch with three out of four games against Top-25 teams - including a home date with No. 4 Tennessee on Dec. 12. The Lady Vols then host Stanford in Knoxville on Dec. 19.
Fontenette, the Longhorns' second-leading scorer, went down with 12:38 left grabbing at her leg, but returned. She said afterward she twisted her right ankle but didn't expect to miss any time.
Stanford made 14 of its first 22 shots and used a 28-9 run midway through the first half to take a 34-18 lead. VanDerveer has one of her deepest teams yet at Stanford and regularly switched players in and out to keep them fresh - getting balanced contributions from throughout the lineup.
''We are a very deep team and we have a lot of talent, and it does take pressure off our big three,'' Boothe said.
Stanford's stingy man-to-man defense caused Texas trouble and made it difficult to penetrate against the taller, more athletic Cardinal. The Longhorns shot 9 for 17 from 3-point range, though.
Stanford held a 39-32 rebounding edge but committed 17 turnovers.
Texas ended the first half with a 15-7 spurt to pull within 49-39 at the break, then scored the first four points of the second half.
''We've pushed the ball on everybody else but nobody's pushed it back on us,'' Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. ''That was new for us for somebody to attack us the way we've been attacking other people.''
Stanford has won the last four meetings between the schools and leads the series 4-2 overall. But this was the teams' first meeting since Dec. 30, 1995, when the Cardinal won 72-68 in Austin, and the first visit by Texas to Maples since Jan. 5, 1993.
Texas senior Nash extended her streak with at least one 3-pointer to 17 straight games, connecting with 1:58 remaining after missing her first two attempts from long range.