Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and second-ranked Connecticut played spoiler and streak-buster this time, snapping No. 1 Stanford's nation-leading 82-game home unbeaten run with a surprisingly easy 61-35 rout Saturday.
It was the Huskies who saw the end of their NCAA record 90-game winning streak at Maples Pavilion with a 71-59 loss two years ago, almost to the day on Dec. 30. Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points as UConn (11-0) thoroughly outplayed Stanford (11-1) on both ends of the floor in this highly touted game featuring the country's top programs and Final Four regulars from opposite coasts.
Stanford got harassed right off the home floor that it ruled with perfection and dominant play for nearly six years — and the Huskies surely took the Cardinal's No. 1 spot along with it. The game was the 51st meeting between the top two teams in the poll.
The No. 1 seed had won the previous nine matchups and holds a 31-20 lead. Chiney Ogwumike had 18 points and 13 rebounds but struggled in the post as Stanford lost at home for the first time since March 2007. Stefanie Dolson had 10 points and 14 rebounds and flustered Ogwumike all afternoon, and Bria Hartley and Kelly Faris also scored 10 apiece for UConn.
Breanna Stewart scored seven straight points during a decisive 17-2 run in the first half as UConn built a 22-7 lead against the cold-shooting Cardinal and kept the pressure on the rest of the way. Stanford trailed 31-13 at halftime in one of its worst 20 minutes in recent memory — though the school had no record of when the Cardinal were last held to that few points in a half.
The Cardinal had gone five full seasons with an unbeaten record on their home floor. Mosqueda-Lewis, last season's Big East top freshman averaging 16.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, shot 7 for 13 as Connecticut shot 37.5 percent from the floor — and that was plenty good enough against a Stanford team that wound up at a dismal 19.3 percent (11 for 57) in its lowest single-game shooting performance and fewest field goals made.
The Huskies were far superior playing one day shy of two years after Geno Auriemma's team had its record streak snapped in a shockingly lopsided 71-59 defeat here on Dec. 30, 2010. Stanford took an early 13-point lead against Maya Moore and Co. in that one and never trailed. This time, UConn took control in a hurry after allowing Stanford to score the first two points of the game — but that was it for the Cardinal.
Stanford had four early possessions over the opening 4 1/2 minutes in which it faced a dwindling shot clock. This wasn't the Cardinal's worst home loss ever — that was a 96-51 defeat to Long Beach State on March 10, 1983 — though UConn sure made it feel like it for an afternoon to silence a typically animated crowd. Auriemma was booed by the raucous crowd during pregame introductions, then again when the coach was whistled for a technical foul with his team ahead 19 points with 13:22 remaining.
UConn, which had trailed for only 48 seconds all season coming into the game and now just 2:21 in all, won for the first time at Stanford in four tries. Ogwumike, Stanford's leading scorer and rebounder averaging 21.8 points and 12.8 boards, was held to 6-for-22 shooting. UConn's 6-foot-5 Dolson made things tough all day for Ogwumike — who stands 6-4 — and gave her problems with a size advantage to deny Stanford's top player and keep her away from the basket.
That led to some forced shots in the first half, when Ogwumike missed 8 of her first 9 attempts. She scored at the 7:25 mark of the first half to end a nearly 6-minute scoring drought since her previous basket on a putback at 13:19. Stanford then went 4:58 without scoring before Ogwumike's three-point play 2:27 before halftime.
Dolson was whistled for her third foul with 17:42 left in the game, but Mikaela Ruef missed both free throws. Bonnie Samuelson's back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half, the Cardinal's first from behind the arc, gave them some life. But it was short-lived as the Huskies pulled away. This game marked their final tuneup before the start of Pac-12 play on Friday at Colorado — and Stanford is picked to win its 13th consecutive conference crown.
The Huskies, meanwhile, play Monday afternoon at Oregon before beginning the Big East schedule at home against Notre Dame on Jan. 5. Stanford's 82-game home winning streak dated to a 68-61 loss to Florida State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on March 19, 2007. This season's Cardinal stunned defending NCAA champion and then-top-ranked Baylor and Brittney Griner on Nov. 16 to become the nation's No. 1 team and avenge a loss in last spring's NCAA semifinals.
The Cardinal hardly looked like the best team Saturday against the dominant Huskies. Stanford missed its initial 10 3-point tries and began the game 3 for 22 to fall behind 22-7, with UConn getting three quick 3s. Ogwumike's big sister, Nnemkadi — the 2012 No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick of the Los Angeles Sparks — attended the game, along with other former Stanford players Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Lindy La Rocque. Stanford senior Joslyn Tinkle, the team's second-leading scorer, managed only two points while playing on her 22nd birthday.