STANFORD (CBS/AP) — Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer hoisted the Pac-10 title trophy and handed it to her players, just as she has done every year for the last decade. Only this time she hardly even cracked a smile.
Been there, done that.
This Stanford team wants even more.
Jeanette Pohlen scored 20 points, Kayla Pedersen had 13 points and 10 rebounds and second-ranked Stanford clinched its 11th straight Pac-10 championship with a 99-60 victory over Oregon on Saturday.
“It’s not easy,” VanDerveer said of her program’s incredible run through the conference since 2000. “To stay healthy, to compete. If it was easy, more people would do it.”
The Cardinal (26-2, 17-0) dominated in every phase to set a new home record with their 60th consecutive win at Maples Pavilion. They haven’t lost at home in more than four seasons.
Stanford also got a boost with the return of Nnemkadi Ogwumike. The reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year had four points and four rebounds in only 12 minutes after missing the last two games with a sprained right ankle.
Kristi Fallin had 10 points and Deanna Weaver added eight for the Ducks (13-14, 4-12), who were held to 24 percent shooting and outscored 32-14 on free throws. Three Oregon players also fouled out in the kind of physical game Stanford craves.
“It’s debatable who’s the best team in the country,” Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. “They would certainly get my vote.”
Stanford just overwhelmed Oregon from the opening tip.
Pohlen anchored a crisp Cardinal offense that often went end-to-end without the ball even touching the floor. She scored six points during a 10-0 run early in the first half that put Stanford ahead 31-10 and made the final 30 minutes feel more like a formality.
Then again, conference championships have practically become an annual tradition on The Farm.
VanDerveer has led more than a decade of dominance in the conference — and much longer than that in overall victories — for the program, with so many league titles the school simply combines every one of them on a single banner. After this year’s regular-season championship is added, the 20th overall for the program, they’ll be only one spot left before a new banner will have to be raised.
“It makes it even more remarkable that Stanford has won 20 of the last 25 years,” said Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, who attended the game to personally hand the trophy to VanDerveer.
“I think maybe some people might take it for granted some times,” Pohlen said of the streak. “Maybe the fans or people who don’t really follow Pac-10 basketball closely. But a lot of work goes into everything that we accomplish.”
The Cardinal left no doubt they still reign supreme.
They had another 10-0 spurt late in the first half to take a 50-19 lead, and Stanford’s starters hardly even played in the second half. There was so much offense that Westhead — the king of the relentless run-and-gun system when he was at the helm of the Los Angeles Lakers, Loyola Marymount and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury — and his running Ducks couldn’t keep pace.
Not many teams can at Stanford.
The Cardinal’s incredible home-winning streak dates back to the 2007 opener and includes victories over a pair of top-ranked teams, most notably stopping Connecticut’s unprecedented 90-game winning streak earlier this season. Stanford also beat No. 1 Tennessee in 2007 at Maples Pavilion.
“The streak we have here at home is very special,” Pohlen said. “We want to give our fans a win every time we’re at home.”
(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)