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Cardinal bury Huskies for 17th win in row

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Nicole Powell doesn't know how long
she's been a point guard. What she knows is how one should act.

Powell had 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead
second-ranked Stanford to the Pacific-10 Conference title with an
81-65 victory over Washington on Thursday.

It was Stanford's 17th straight win and 11th conference title in
16 seasons. Powell has four triple-doubles -- three this season.

"I've been playing the point since about midway through the
season," Powell said before she was interrupted by Stanford coach
Tara Vanderveer.

"Nicole, you just started playing point the last two weeks,"
Vanderveer corrected.

Powell shrugged.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore has played the point off and on at
Stanford, but took over full-time duties there Feb. 7 at Oregon.
She now has four of the conference's 10 triple-doubles. Her 12
assists, a career high, came on the heels of her being named one of
the 20 finalists for the Naismith College Women's Player of the
Year on Tuesday.

"Last year she was thrown into the role," Vanderveer said.
"This year she's grown into it. The thing is she's just so big and
she has great vision. She's a tough matchup for anyone."

The Huskies, who got 18 points from Andrea Lulum, 14 by Giuliana
Mendiola and 11 from Loree Payne, agreed. They had their five-game
winning streak halted largely because of Powell's play.

Lindsey Yamasaki added 19 points and Bethany Donaphin 18 points
and 11 rebounds as the Cardinal improved to 25-1, 15-0 in the
Pac-10.

"She's hard to match up with no matter where she plays,"
Mendiola said of Powell. "She showed again what a great player she
is."

Powell had just eight points, six assists and 12 rebounds in the
teams' first meeting, a 75-67 Stanford win on Jan. 19.

The Huskies (15-9, 10-5) kept it close the first half and
trailed just 44-39 as the backcourt of Mendiola and Payne had 11
points apiece.

"Our defense was at the concession stand the first half,"
Vanderveer said.

The Cardinal, which assured itself the top seed at the inaugural
Pac-10 Tournament March 1-4 at Oregon, used its long-distance
shooting to take control early in the second half. Stanford went on
a 26-11 run after intermission thanks in part to five 3-pointers.
Three of those came from Yamasaki, who set a conference record with
nine 3-pointers in a loss at Washington last year.

Powell had seven assists during the second-half run as Stanford
opened up a 70-50 lead.

"She reminds me of Teresa Edwards in the (1996) Olympics,"
said Vanderveer, who was the coach of that gold medal-winning team.

Washington made just 10 of 33 shots in the second half when it
committed 10 of its 15 turnovers.

"We just didn't come out with the same defensive intensity the
second half," Mendiola said. "You can't play just one half of
basketball and expect to beat a team as strong as Stanford. There's
a reason they're No. 2 in the country."