The longest conference-winning streak in the history of women’s college basketball now stands at 81 games.
Chiney Ogwumike scored 26 points and Amber Orrange added 15 as No. 5 Stanford extended its historic Pac-12 winning streak with a 62-53 win over No. 7 Cal at Haas Pavilion on Tuesday.
“I think [the winning streak] means a lot for the legacy,” Ogwumike said. “But quite frankly, I live in the moment. We try to live in the moment; we take it one day at a time. Today is the biggest day, the most important day.”
The Bears (12-2, 2-1) outrebounded the Cardinal 45-31 and held them to 0-of-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. But the Bears shot 30.2 percent from the field and knocked down only 2-of-21 3-point attempts.
“I really thought at some point the basket would just open up for us and it never did,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “It grinds on you, wears on you, puts a lot of pressure on everything else.”
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said the goal was to slow down Cal’s transition game.
“We tried to limit their easy baskets,” she said. “Not let them get run-outs, even though they did get a couple of those, not let them pound it inside on us. They’re very physical post players.”
The Bears led the Cardinal for most of the first half and hung close throughout the second. The game was tied 46-46 with 8:46 to play, but Stanford pulled away with a 16-7 run to close it out.
Stanford took the lead for good when Ogwumike drove the lane for two and Orrange followed it up with a basket of her own. The lead stretched to six with 6:03 to play when Orrange threw a home run pass to Joslyn Tinkle for an easy lay-in. The Cardinal delivered the decisive blow with roughly five minutes to play when Tinkle lobbed an inbound pass off the glass and Ogwumike put it back as the shot clock expired, pushing the lead to eight points.
“That one was a lucky play,” VanDerveer said. “Let’s be honest, we didn’t diagram that one.”
Stanford hasn’t lost a conference game since Cal beat them at Haas Pavilion on Jan. 18, 2009, two days before Barack Obama was inaugurated as president. Cal started 12-1 for the first time in school history this year and they have a shot at breaking Stanford’s streak on Sunday at Maples Pavilion.
“Cal is a definite top 10 team,” VanDerveer said. “We had to do everything we could to beat them today.”