In an already remarkable season, the No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball team made more history on Saturday when it beat the Arizona Wildcats, 91-61, for its record-tying 48th straight Pac-10 victory.
The Stanford starters put the game out of reach early as Stanford (20-2, 11-0 Pac-10) led by 10 less than five minutes into the game.
Even though the Wildcats (13-9, 4-7) cut the lead to just five a few minutes later, Stanford took back a 21-11 lead with 11:53 left in the first half on a Lindy La Rocque three, and Arizona never made a run again.
All five starters finished with double-digit point totals, with senior Jeanette Pohlen making five three-pointers en route to 17 points, and senior Kayla Pedersen and La Rocque adding 14 apiece. Junior Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 13 points and tied her season high with 14 rebounds, and her sister, freshman Chiney Ogwumike, had 11.
Stanford was coming off an unspectacular performance at Arizona State, where it led by only five points at halftime and finished with a 72-54 victory, its closest margin of the conference season. But the Cardinal reprised its role as the dominant force in the Pac-10 with a 30-point victory in Tucson.
Stanford’s effort handed the Wildcats their fourth straight loss, dropping them to just 4-7 in the Pac-10.
Arizona got 19 points from Ify Ibekwe, 16 points from Davellyn Whyte and 11 points from Shanita Arnold, but the trio didn’t get much help.
Meanwhile, Stanford’s 48-game Pac-10 winning streak tied the record set by the 1995-1998 Cardinal, who didn’t lose a game in conference from Feb. 9, 1995 to Jan. 12, 1998.
Despite the somewhat sour game at Arizona State, the Cardinal’s record-tying win was the latest in a good week for Stanford overall, and especially for Pohlen. The senior from Brea, Calif., had 36 points, 10 assists, four steals and just three turnovers on the trip to the desert, and she was also added to the State Farm Wade Watch List on Wednesday, joining Stanford teammates Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Pedersen in contention for one of the most prestigious awards in collegiate women’s basketball.
So far, Pohlen is having her career-best season in a Cardinal uniform, as she is averaging 16.6 points per game, 4.86 assists per game, shooting a solid 45.4 percent from the floor and shooting 44.7 percent from three-point range.
Should Pohlen’s dominant play continue, the Cardinal will have no trouble rewriting the history books once again with a new Pac-10 streak, especially in a season that has already seen head coach Tara VanDerveer win her 800th career game, Pedersen become the all-time leader in minutes played for the Cardinal and, of course, the victory over then-No. 1 UConn to snap the Huskies’ 90-game winning streak.
The Cardinal returns to the Farm on Thursday night when it puts its 48-game Pac-10 winning streak on the line against Washington State back. Tip-off with the Cougars is scheduled for 7 p.m.