STANFORD, Calif. — Top-ranked Connecticut’s record 90-game winning streak is over.
The Huskies never led and were beaten by No. 9 Stanford 71-59 on Thursday night, ending a remarkable run that drew national attention and acclaim to women’s basketball.
Stanford was the last school to beat coach Geno Auriemma’s team, in the 2008 NCAA semifinals.
Jeanette Pohlen hit five 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 31 points and the Cardinal (9-2) had the Huskies’ number at last — a huge number at that. Stanford won its 52nd straight at Maples Pavilion in a rematch of last season’s NCAA title game won 53-47 by two-time defending national champion UConn.
Last week, the Huskies (12-1) topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden’s UCLA men’s team from 1971-74 by beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62, then won their 90th in a row this week at Pacific.
Huskies star Maya Moore was held to 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting. UConn hadn’t lost since an 82-73 defeat to Stanford on April 6, 2008, in the Final Four at Tampa, Fla.
Pohlen sealed it with six free throws in the final 42.5 seconds. She shot 8-for-15 overall and had nine rebounds and six assists. Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 12 points and six rebounds and Kayla Pedersen 11 rebounds for an inspired Stanford squad that held a 43-36 advantage on the boards.
Moore’s 3-pointer with 10:50 left cut Stanford’s lead to 48-44, then Pedersen answered moments later on the other end. Moore tried to will her team back late, scoring eight straight during one stretch. But she missed the front end of a one-and-one off the rim with 1:42 left that could have made it a four-point game.
Kelly Faris scored 19 points and Bria Hartley 14 for the Huskies, who never found their usual dominant form while playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 7,329-plus for this highly anticipated, nationally televised showdown between the top programs from either coast.
UConn was headed home from the Bay Area on what certainly would be an extra-long redeye flight out of San Francisco. The team just beat the big East Coast blizzard to get here, leaving at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. UConn played at Maples for the first time since Dec. 28, 1993, and Stanford has won all three meetings in the rivalry on its home floor.
For the Cardinal, this was a long time coming. Coach Tara VanDerveer, who joined the elite 800-win club last week, thought about that championship loss for months and felt her team missed a big opportunity, saying it fueled her to be a better coach and did the same for her players. Stanford hasn’t won it all since 1992 despite making the last three Final Fours.
Stanford led at halftime for the third straight time facing UConn, having blown a 20-12 edge at the break in the title game last April.
Moore missed her initial four shots and didn’t score her first points until knocking down a 3 at with 3:14 left in the opening half. The two-time national player of the year came in averaging 24.8 points and received a rousing ovation from the Stanford crowd when starting lineups were introduced, though Auriemma was booed.