The Stanford women's basketball team draws a crowd and its opponent's best shot no matter where it plays, but especially on the West Coast, where Tara VanDerveer's program has been the gold standard for more than two decades. Sunday's visit to Spokane was no different.
Jeanette Pohlen made two 3-pointers as part of a 9-0 run late in the second half that helped Stanford hold off Gonzaga, 84-78, before a sold out crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Nneka Ogwumike, who missed Friday's 62-53 win at Utah with an undisclosed injury, returned to the lineup and led Stanford with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Pohlen finished with 19 points for the Cardinal, who return home for three games beginning Friday against South Carolina.
VanDerveer, who said the Cardinal has a lot of improving to do, praised Pohlen's performance after the game:
“She’s clutch. She hit some big shots, she defended, she made some really nice plays. I’ll keep her.”
The tense game was a far cry from last year's meeting, when Stanford cruised to a 105-74 win.
Gonzaga, which advanced to the Sweet 16 last season, trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half before battling back to tie the game at 68 on a Kayla Standish 3-pointer with 5:29 to play. Toni Kokenis broke the tie with a pair of free throws and Joslyn Tinkle made one of two from the line to stretch the lead to three before Pohlen sank her back-to-back 3-pointers on opposite side of the final media timeout.