The conference changed names, but the champion stayed the same, as the Stanford women’s basketball team clinched the inaugural Pac-12 championship with an 81-46 rout of Oregon on Saturday.
The No. 2 Cardinal (24-1, 15-0 Pac-12) has now won 12 straight conference championships dating back to 2001.
Junior forward Joslyn Tinkle dominated in the post, leading Stanford with 19 points. The Ogwumike sisters joined her in double figures, as sophomore forward Chiney and senior forward Nnemkadi posted 14 and 12 points, respectively. Saturday marked just the fifth time this season that someone not named Ogwumike lead the Cardinal in scoring — Tinkle has been that someone four of five times.
“It’s special for all of us to share this,” Tinkle said. “Especially being the first Pac-12 season…We have had great success in the Pac-10 the past few years, but we just don’t let up. That’s the goal for us each time we come out here, regardless of who we’re playing.”
The conference title is head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 21st in her 27 seasons on the Farm. The win was also Stanford’s 21st in a row, and the Cardinal remains undefeated in conference play.
Nia Jackson led Oregon (14-13, 6-9) with nine points. Amanda Johnson, who is averaging 19.4 points per game for the Ducks, was held to just eight on Saturday.
The Cardinal took advantage of Oregon mistakes in the contest, scoring 19 points off of turnovers. Stanford capitalized on their trips to the free throw line as well, sinking 19 of 20 attempts.
Stanford came ready to play and jumped ahead soon after tipoff. A layup by Nneka Ogwumike, followed by consecutive three-pointers from sophomore guard Toni Kokenis and Tinkle put Stanford up 8-0 just 72 seconds into the game.
Meanwhile, the Ducks struggled from the field, missing their first seven attempts and shooting just 25 percent (16 for 64) on the night.
Later in the half, Stanford freshman guard Amber Orrange swiped the ball from Oregon’s Lexi Peterson and converted the fast-break basket, sparking a 12-2 Stanford run. The Cardinal continued to build on its lead throughout the first half and went into the locker room up 42-20.
In the second half the Ducks consistently fouled Stanford shooters, and the Cardinal made them pay from the free throw line. The squad was a perfect 14 for 14 in the second half and controlled the pace of the game.
Midway through the second half, Chiney ignited a 17-4 run with a strong move down low that led to a layup. She then capped the run with another layup to push Stanford’s advantage to 28 points.
VanDerveer used her bench extensively and effectively in Saturday’s game. Freshmen Taylor Greenfield and Bonnie Samuelson both rained in two shots from behind the arc, and Samuelson totaled eight points on the night.
The Cardinal has been clicking on all cylinders of late, winning its past six contests by an average of almost 27 points. Over that stretch, Stanford has been stout defensively as well, holding all of their opponents under 60 points.
“I think we’re coming together and jelling at the right time,” VanDerveer said. “We’re playing well defensively, and we’re ironing out some bugs offensively and getting some different people to step up.”
Stanford returns home this week to take on Pac-12 foes Colorado and Utah. The Cardinal takes on the Buffaloes on Thursday at 7 p.m., then grapples with the Utes on Saturday at 2 p.m.