Washington State women still looking for a way to beat Stanford
Stanford beat Washington State 50 games in a row in Pac-10 play and has a streak of 52 straight overall against the Cougars.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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It doesn't make sense.
Wichita State has done it. Pacific managed to do it three times. Even Oregon State has defeated Stanford. But Washington State?
Not once in a span of 52 meetings dating to 1983, or any of the 50 games they played in Pac-10 history, which began for women's basketball with the 1986-87 season.
And Cougars fans thought the 33-game losing streak to Washington was bad. WSU is actually on the wrong end of two of the NCAA's 10 longest streaks in women's basketball, the Stanford mark being the longest intraconference skid in history.
"It's a crazy number, there's no doubt about it," said fifth-year Cougars coach June Daugherty. "But let's not lose sight of the fact that Stanford has one of the best coaches ever in the game with Tara VanDerveer. She's done a phenomenal job of building that program and maintaining it."
Daugherty, who previously coached at Washington, is the only current coach in the Pac-12 who has beaten the Cardinal. The Cougars (9-8, 3-2) travel to play the Bay Area schools this week, the only meeting this season in the reformatted league.
Stanford has been as steady as a redwood tree, winning the past 11 regular-season Pac-10 titles and advancing to four consecutive NCAA Final Fours. VanDerveer was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in August.
"One thing about Stanford that I really admire is they're always ready," said Washington coach Kevin McGuff, whose Huskies (10-5, 2-3) play at Stanford (15-1, 6-0) on Saturday. "When you look at the consistency that they have and the success, it's not easy to do. They have a lot of talent and Tara is a great coach, but what I marvel at is how consistent they are."
With Title IX entering its 40th year in June, some would point to Stanford's dominance as another indicator of women's basketball's lack of parity. The Cardinal hasn't lost at home in 71 games, including a victory that ended Connecticut's historic 90-game win streak in 2010.
Stanford's margin of victory against familiar conference opponents is equally impressive. This year's Cardinal roster, which started with six freshmen, outscores the Pac-12 by 18.3 points. WSU has only come within five points of Stanford three times, most recently 78-73 in 2000.
"I think the game has transitioned a little bit toward there being a lot more parity," Daugherty said. "With the coaching and TV exposure that's going on in the game, student-athletes are more likely to look at other schools and want to be part of programs for other reasons — whether it's academics or making their own tradition or location ... but you're still going to have those five or 10 in our country that just handpick the best athletes."
As long as Stanford is one of those, the hold against WSU might continue.
"I love playing Stanford," Cougars senior Jazmine Perkins said. "You never know who's going to win a basketball game on any given night."
Rogers still out
Washington center Regina Rogers remains day to day with a right hamstring bruise. Rogers, the team's leading scorer (16.2 points), suffered the injury during an overtime loss to Utah on Jan. 7 after a player kneed her in the back of the leg.
McGuff said Rogers hasn't been cleared to practice. She's expected to travel this week.
"It just hasn't gotten to a point where we felt confident putting her on the court," McGuff said.
Hit the boards
Stanford is nationally ranked and California leads the NCAA in rebounding margin (plus-17), making this the toughest trip in the Pac-12.
McGuff's team normally practices against men, but this week they'll be more physical to simulate how the Cardinal and Bears play. Daugherty said she's emphasizing rebounding with the Cougars.
Cal sophomore Gennifer Brandon averages 11.2 rebounds. Stanford senior Nnemkadi Ogwumike, a projected WNBA lottery pick, is averaging 23.4 points and 11.5 boards.
"Both teams are incredible rebounding teams," said McGuff, whose team is the third-best rebounding club in the conference. "(Our rebounding) has been a disappointment at times. ... When Stanford or Cal rebound, they finish around the basket or get fouled. They really make you pay."
• No date has been set for UW forward Marjorie Heard's left-knee surgery. She's walking without crutches but doctors are waiting for the swelling to decrease before the procedure.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.
|Fifty and counting|
|Washington State has lost to Stanford in women's basketball each of the 50 times they've played since the Pac-10 began play in 1986-87. A look at the longest streaks in Pac-12 men's and women's basketball:|
|Women's longest streaks (from 1986-87 season)|
|Men's longest streaks (from 1978-79 season)|
|Note: Streaks include nonconference games and conference tournament games. The first Pac-10 season for men was 1978-79, for women was 1986-87.|