Streak over: Stanford controls No. 1 UConn 71-59

Streak over: Stanford controls No. 1 UConn 71-59
December 31, 2010, 6:27 am
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Dec. 30, 2010

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STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Stanford really does have UConn's number. Top-rankedConnecticut's record 90-game winning streak in women's basketball endedThursday night when No. 9 Stanford outplayed the Huskies from the startin a 71-59 victory at Maples Pavilion - where the Cardinal have theirown streak going.Stanford hasn't lost in 52 games athome. The Cardinal took an early 13-point lead, never trailed anddidn't let the mighty Huskies back in it after halftime in this one.They kept pounding the ball inside and banging the boards.UConn fans accustomed to watchingcoach Geno Auriemma's team blow past opponents hadn't seen a loss sincethe 2008 NCAA semifinals - Stanford got the Huskies that time, too,82-73 in the Final Four at Tampa, Fla."At some point reality had to set in,and today reality set in," Auriemma said. "I'm not destroyed about it.Winning that many games in a row, it's unheard of." These teams have a bit of a history.Last season, Stanford almost beat Maya Moore and UConn in the nationalchampionship game before losing 53-47.That the Cardinal won in the rematch shouldn't have been a total surprise.Stanford was unbeatable at home, hadgiven the Huskies fits in past meetings, and UConn came close to losingto then-No. 2 Baylor last month.Jeanette Pohlen hit five 3-pointerson the way to a career-high 31 points for the Cardinal (9-2). Moorecouldn't find a rhythm until it was too late, held to 14 points on5-of-15 shooting."I thought we let it get away fromus," Auriemma said. "I think the atmosphere and what was going on andwhen Maya couldn't get going early. I think it affected the rest of ourguys. We just didn't play like ourselves. Give credit to Stanford. Ithink they played an unbelievably good game."Last week, the Huskies (12-1) toppedthe 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team from1971-74 by beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62, then won their 90th in arow this week at Pacific."When you see what happens tonightand how it happened, I think you can appreciate it even more what ittook to get to that point and how many things can go wrong and how youcan have bad nights," Auriemma said.He said such a winning streakrequires good players, luck and "that all your best players have toplay great every night. And we didn't get that tonight."Pohlen sealed it with six freethrows in the final 42.5 seconds. She shot 8-for-15 overall and hadnine rebounds and six assists. Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 12 points andsix rebounds and Kayla Pedersen 11 rebounds for an inspired Stanfordsquad that held a 43-36 advantage on the boards.It was a physical game from the opening tip, with players pushing and shoving all night in the paint."I thought we showed moments offight where we came together and were playing together at times," Mooresaid. "Then we would hurt ourselves ... and momentum would shift rightback to them."Moore's 3-pointer with 10:50 leftcut Stanford's lead to 48-44, then Pedersen answered moments later onthe other end. Moore tried to will her team back late, scoring eightstraight during one stretch. But she missed the front end of aone-and-one off the rim with 1:42 left that could have made it afour-point game. "I think we worked very hard defensively," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She's a great player. She's human."Kelly Faris scored 19 points andBria Hartley 14 for the Huskies, who never found their usual dominantform while playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 7,329-plusfor this highly anticipated, nationally televised showdown between thetop programs from either coast."I think that's an incredible,incredible accomplishment," VanDerveer said of UConn's run. "Since welast played them and beat them, we've lost eight games - and two ofthem were to them. I'm really proud of our team for really stepping upand not being intimidated by the streak. Tonight was our night."Former Stanford star Candice Wiggins- who got the Cardinal back to the Final Four in that 2008 NCAA run -danced onto the floor in celebration the second the final buzzersounded and slapped high-fives with players. VanDerveer returned to thecourt and thanked the crowd, then Pohlen did the same.Yet nobody rushed the court after a monumental victory for this program, which hasn't won it all since 1992."It's not a national championship but it's a very big game for us and we're very excited," VanDerveer said.Former players from both schoolswere in the stands: Wiggins, Jayne Appel, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and JJHones of Stanford sitting together on one baseline, and ex-UConn starTina Charles. Also attending were Alana Beard and Ruthie Bolton, amember of VanDerveer's gold medal winning 1996 Olympic team in Atlanta. Even former Secretary of StateCondoleeza Rice was there, flashing a huge smile and bouncing along tothe music when the Cardinal won. VanDerveer's mother, Rita, made thetrip to see this one, too."Good job guys," Auriemma and acouple of UConn's players said while waving to Stanford after theHuskies' postgame news conference.UConn was headed home from the BayArea on what certainly would be an extra-long redeye flight out of SanFrancisco. The team just beat the big East Coast blizzard to get here,leaving at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. UConn played at Maples for the first timesince Dec. 28, 1993, and Stanford has won all three meetings in therivalry on its home floor."I'm just happy for our team,"VanDerveer said. "The streak is something that they did. We're aboutStanford and what we want to do."For the Cardinal, this was a longtime coming. VanDerveer, who joined the elite 800-win club last week,thought about that championship loss for months and felt her teammissed a big opportunity, saying it fueled her to be a better coach anddid the same for her players. Stanford hasn't won it all since 1992despite making the last three Final Fours. Stanford led at halftime for thethird straight time facing UConn, having blown a 20-12 edge at thebreak in the title game last April. This marked the sixth meetingbetween the schools since the 2007-08 season.UConn had trailed all of 134 minutesduring the entire winning streak, including only 13 minutes in thesecond half. The UCLA men's last loss before the 88-game winning streakwas to Notre Dame, then it was the Irish who ended the run - in asimilar situation to UConn's domination.Moore missed her initial four shotsand didn't score her first points until knocking down a 3 at with 3:14left in the opening half. The two-time national player of the year camein averaging 24.8 points and received a rousing ovation from theStanford crowd when starting lineups were introduced, though Auriemmawas booed.It was Pohlen, not Moore, who was by far the best player on the floor."I just had that mentality. I'm notgiving up until that buzzer goes off," Pohlen said. "I think our teamwas really looking for me to get my shot. I'm just happy that wedefended Maples. We got the win, and our team played awesome."Stanford hasn't lost at home since a 68-61 upset by Florida State in the second round of the NCAA tournament in March 2007.The Cardinal already had played abrutal nonconference schedule this month, traveling to DePaul andTennessee - their two losses that dropped them from their earlier No. 3ranking - and beating No. 4 Xavier in a surprising 89-52 blowoutTuesday.Stanford, picked to win its 11thstraight Pac-10 crown, made 9 of its first 13 shots and four of five 3sand used an 11-0 run to go ahead 17-4.UConn started 2 for 12 and missedits first five 3-point tries while also committing three turnovers inthe opening 6:31 to fall behind 17-4. Hayes' 3 at 13:10 was UConn'sfirst.Hartley then scored seven during a10-2 UConn run that got the Huskies back within 24-19 with 7:33 left inthe first half. Stanford led 34-30 at halftime.Pedersen told her team at the break it was a new game for the final 20 minutes. No letdowns."It's a huge win but it isDecember," Pedersen said. "This instills confidence that we can beatany team. We haven't won anything yet." STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Stanford really does have UConn's number. Top-ranked Connecticut's record90-game winning streak in women's basketball ended Thursday night whenNo. 9 Stanford outplayed the Huskies from the start in a 71-59 victoryat Maples Pavilion - where the Cardinal have their own streak going.Stanford hasn't lost in 52 games athome. The Cardinal took an early 13-point lead, never trailed anddidn't let the mighty Huskies back in it after halftime in this one.They kept pounding the ball inside and banging the boards.UConn fans accustomed to watchingcoach Geno Auriemma's team blow past opponents hadn't seen a loss sincethe 2008 NCAA semifinals - Stanford got the Huskies that time, too,82-73 in the Final Four at Tampa, Fla."At some point reality had to set in,and today reality set in," Auriemma said. "I'm not destroyed about it.Winning that many games in a row, it's unheard of."These teams have a bit of a history.Last season, Stanford almost beat Maya Moore and UConn in the nationalchampionship game before losing 53-47.That the Cardinal won in the rematch shouldn't have been a total surprise.Stanford was unbeatable at home, hadgiven the Huskies fits in past meetings, and UConn came close to losingto then-No. 2 Baylor last month.Jeanette Pohlen hit five 3-pointerson the way to a career-high 31 points for the Cardinal (9-2). Moorecouldn't find a rhythm until it was too late, held to 14 points on5-of-15 shooting."I thought we let it get away fromus," Auriemma said. "I think the atmosphere and what was going on andwhen Maya couldn't get going early. I think it affected the rest of ourguys. We just didn't play like ourselves. Give credit to Stanford. Ithink they played an unbelievably good game."Last week, the Huskies (12-1) toppedthe 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team from1971-74 by beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62, then won their 90th in arow this week at Pacific."When you see what happens tonightand how it happened, I think you can appreciate it even more what ittook to get to that point and how many things can go wrong and how youcan have bad nights," Auriemma said.He said such a winning streakrequires good players, luck and "that all your best players have toplay great every night. And we didn't get that tonight." Pohlen sealed it with six freethrows in the final 42.5 seconds. She shot 8-for-15 overall and hadnine rebounds and six assists. Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 12 points andsix rebounds and Kayla Pedersen 11 rebounds for an inspired Stanfordsquad that held a 43-36 advantage on the boards.It was a physical game from the opening tip, with players pushing and shoving all night in the paint."I thought we showed moments offight where we came together and were playing together at times," Mooresaid. "Then we would hurt ourselves ... and momentum would shift rightback to them."Moore's 3-pointer with 10:50 leftcut Stanford's lead to 48-44, then Pedersen answered moments later onthe other end. Moore tried to will her team back late, scoring eightstraight during one stretch. But she missed the front end of aone-and-one off the rim with 1:42 left that could have made it afour-point game. "I think we worked very hard defensively," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She's a great player. She's human."Kelly Faris scored 19 points andBria Hartley 14 for the Huskies, who never found their usual dominantform while playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 7,329-plusfor this highly anticipated, nationally televised showdown between thetop programs from either coast."I think that's an incredible,incredible accomplishment," VanDerveer said of UConn's run. "Since welast played them and beat them, we've lost eight games - and two ofthem were to them. I'm really proud of our team for really stepping upand not being intimidated by the streak. Tonight was our night."Former Stanford star Candice Wiggins- who got the Cardinal back to the Final Four in that 2008 NCAA run -danced onto the floor in celebration the second the final buzzersounded and slapped high-fives with players. VanDerveer returned to thecourt and thanked the crowd, then Pohlen did the same.Yet nobody rushed the court after a monumental victory for this program, which hasn't won it all since 1992."It's not a national championship but it's a very big game for us and we're very excited," VanDerveer said.Former players from both schoolswere in the stands: Wiggins, Jayne Appel, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and JJHones of Stanford sitting together on one baseline, and ex-UConn starTina Charles. Also attending were Alana Beard and Ruthie Bolton, amember of VanDerveer's gold medal winning 1996 Olympic team in Atlanta. Even former Secretary of StateCondoleeza Rice was there, flashing a huge smile and bouncing along tothe music when the Cardinal won. VanDerveer's mother, Rita, made thetrip to see this one, too."Good job guys," Auriemma and acouple of UConn's players said while waving to Stanford after theHuskies' postgame news conference.UConn was headed home from the BayArea on what certainly would be an extra-long redeye flight out of SanFrancisco. The team just beat the big East Coast blizzard to get here,leaving at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. UConn played at Maples for the first timesince Dec. 28, 1993, and Stanford has won all three meetings in therivalry on its home floor."I'm just happy for our team,"VanDerveer said. "The streak is something that they did. We're aboutStanford and what we want to do."For the Cardinal, this was a longtime coming. VanDerveer, who joined the elite 800-win club last week,thought about that championship loss for months and felt her teammissed a big opportunity, saying it fueled her to be a better coach anddid the same for her players. Stanford hasn't won it all since 1992despite making the last three Final Fours.Stanford led at halftime for thethird straight time facing UConn, having blown a 20-12 edge at thebreak in the title game last April. This marked the sixth meetingbetween the schools since the 2007-08 season.UConn had trailed all of 134 minutesduring the entire winning streak, including only 13 minutes in thesecond half. The UCLA men's last loss before the 88-game winning streakwas to Notre Dame, then it was the Irish who ended the run - in asimilar situation to UConn's domination.Moore missed her initial four shotsand didn't score her first points until knocking down a 3 at with 3:14left in the opening half. The two-time national player of the year camein averaging 24.8 points and received a rousing ovation from theStanford crowd when starting lineups were introduced, though Auriemmawas booed.It was Pohlen, not Moore, who was by far the best player on the floor."I just had that mentality. I'm notgiving up until that buzzer goes off," Pohlen said. "I think our teamwas really looking for me to get my shot. I'm just happy that wedefended Maples. We got the win, and our team played awesome."Stanford hasn't lost at home since a 68-61 upset by Florida State in the second round of the NCAA tournament in March 2007.The Cardinal already had played abrutal nonconference schedule this month, traveling to DePaul andTennessee - their two losses that dropped them from their earlier No. 3ranking - and beating No. 4 Xavier in a surprising 89-52 blowoutTuesday.Stanford, picked to win its 11thstraight Pac-10 crown, made 9 of its first 13 shots and four of five 3sand used an 11-0 run to go ahead 17-4.UConn started 2 for 12 and missedits first five 3-point tries while also committing three turnovers inthe opening 6:31 to fall behind 17-4. Hayes' 3 at 13:10 was UConn'sfirst.Hartley then scored seven during a10-2 UConn run that got the Huskies back within 24-19 with 7:33 left inthe first half. Stanford led 34-30 at halftime.Pedersen told her team at the break it was a new game for the final 20 minutes. No letdowns."It's a huge win but it isDecember," Pedersen said. "This instills confidence that we can beatany team. We haven't won anything yet."