Cardinal win 62nd straight at Maples
The last time Stanford's women lost a game at Maples Pavilion was in the 2007 NCAA tournament. The Cardinal were host for early-round games then, but that advantage didn't help Stanford in a second-round matchup with Florida State.
The Seminoles won that game, but disappointed as Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer was, she knew she had a couple of very good recruits coming in the next season. Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen have been all she expected and more.
The Cardinal senior duo is trying to take Stanford to its fourth consecutive Final Four appearance, and started that 2011 journey Saturday with an 86-59 victory over UC Davis.
It was the 62nd consecutive win at Maples for the Cardinal, the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Regional. Pedersen and Pohlen can close out their Stanford careers without a loss at home if they can defeat No. 9 St. John's in Monday's second round.
Pedersen and Pohlen each scored 11 points, and they combined for 15 assists against UC Davis. Leading the way for Stanford was junior Nneka Ogwumike with 22 points, and freshman Chiney Ogwumike had 10 points.
Stanford has quite a legacy of superstars from various eras. Where Pedersen and Pohlen eventually are placed on that pantheon likely will depend on whether they can help the Cardinal win the program's third NCAA title, but first since 1992.
Two other players who could be very important in that quest are junior starter Lindy La Rocque, who had 14 points, and freshman Toni Kokenis, who scored 11 off the bench Saturday. Those two combined for seven 3-pointers, part of Stanford's 13-of-22 barrage from behind the arc.
Kokenis had a season-best 17 points a week ago in Stanford's victory over UCLA in the Pac-10 tournament final. She made two 3s in that game and seems to be finding her range at the right time for the Cardinal.
Pedersen and Pohlen will be glad for all the help they can get.