The No. 3 Stanford women's basketball team will look to extend a trio of streaks when it hosts Washington State tonight at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal will go for its 15th straight win since a rare two-game losing streak in December and a league record 49th consecutive win against Pac-10 foes. Tara VanDerveer's squad can also complete yet another season sweep of the Cougars, who are 0-51 against the Cardinal all-time.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink to raise breast cancer awareness, but don't hold it against Washington State fans if they opt to wear black instead. Stanford won the first game in the one-sided series, 78-64, on Feb. 1, 1983. Three of the schools' next 10 matchups were decided by 10 points or less, but only four games since then have been so close. The last was on Jan. 13, 2007, when the Cardinal overcame 20 turnovers to win a sloppy game in Pullman, 63-55. Candice Wiggins missed the game with a sprained ankle.
The closest Washington State came to putting its 0-fer-Stanford streak to rest since it eclipsed 20 games came Feb. 24, 2000, at Maples Pavilion. Stanford, which had made a habit of falling behind in the first half against lesser opponents, continued the trend against the lowly Cougars (4-19, 1-12). WSU made five 3-pointers in the first 8 minutes and led by as many as 13 points before Stanford pulled to within 38-37 at halftime.
"I don't know if I can understand this or explain it, but sometimes it just seems like our team is waiting to see what kind of game it's going to be," VanDerveer told reporters after the game. "Instead of coming out and asserting ourselves, I call it `the bloody nose' theory. We have to wait until we get a bloody nose to start fighting."
The Cardinal stormed to a 16-point lead in the second half, but Washington State wouldn't fold. The Cougars got 30 points from Alke Dietel, whose sixth 3-pointer of the game with 18 seconds left cut the Cardinal's lead to 76-73. Stanford senior Milena Flores, who dished out her 600th career assist in the first half, made two free throws to ice the game.
"How many times can you go to the well?" VanDerveer said after watching her team erase its fourth 10-point deficit of the season. "The top teams that I've had have found a way to--without sounding crass--go for the jugular. You've got to be able to put somebody away. It's great that we can come back. But as a coach, I like it when people come out and hammer."
Stanford has done a lot of hammering this season, including a 94-50 win at Washington State last month. There's no reason to think it won't continue tonight. You can listen live on KZSU.