The Stanford women’s basketball team returns to campus tonight as Pac-12 champions and the nation’s No. 2 team, looking to extend the nation’s longest active home winning streak against Colorado.
Stanford has not lost in Maples Pavilion since 2007, a span of 76 games and nearly five years. Until last Saturday, Connecticut held both the longest active streak and the No. 2 spot, but a surprise 57-56 upset by St. John’s capped that record at 99 wins in a row and dropped the Huskies to No. 4.
Stanford (24-1, 15-0 Pac-12) also holds one of the nation’s longest overall winning streaks at 21 games, with only the early season loss to Connecticut spoiling a perfect year. In contrast, after a perfect start to the season, Colorado (16-9, 5-9) comes into this contest having lost its last two games and five of its last six.
The last time these two teams met, the Cardinal routed the Buffaloes 80-54 and went two games ahead in the all-time history between the two schools, making it 6-4. Judging by Stanford’s improvement throughout the season, and particularly in the last handful of games, it seems unlikely that Colorado will be able to cut into that lead on Thursday.
The Ogwumike sisters, senior forward Nnemkadi and sophomore forward Chiney, continue to lead the Cardinal with 20.6 and 16.6 points per game and 10.9 and 10.5 rebounds per game, respectively, in Pac-12 play. Recently, though, their teammates have been stepping up as well. In last weekend’s road trip to the Oregon schools, junior forward Joslyn Tinkle led the team in rebounds with 14 against Oregon State and in points against Oregon with 19. It seems the team is gelling at the perfect time of the season.
Nneka Ogwumike also has the chance to move into second place on Stanford’s all-time scoring list tonight. She currently has 2,215 points, just 12 behind second-place guard Kate Starbird.
Tonight’s game against Colorado is part of a three-game homestand that will continue on Saturday with Utah and finish with non-conference foe Seattle on Wednesday. With the Pac-12 regular-season title already decided, head coach Tara VanDerveer may already be planning ahead to the Pac-12 tournament in March and the NCAA tournament just a week later.
In the conference, guard Chucky Jeffery leads the Buffaloes in points with 13.4 and the whole Pac-12 in steals with 3.07. In January’s meeting with the Cardinal, even though she played the most minutes of any Colorado player, Jeffery was held by Stanford to just 1-for-10 shooting and a single steal.
Tonight’s game against Colorado tips off at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.