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No. 3 Stanford holds on to beat Washington 62-52

Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 22 points and nine rebounds and No. 3 Stanford overcame one of its worst performances of the season to beat Washington 62-52 on Saturday for a 16th straight victory.

Freshman Chiney Ogwumike added a career-best 21 points and 10 boards for the cold-shooting Cardinal (22-2, 13-0 Pac-10) as they held on for their 58th straight home win at Maples Pavilion, one shy of matching the school record set from Nov. 25, 1994, to March 14, 1998. Stanford is trying for a third straight undefeated home season for the first time since 1994-96.

But that's not all this team is looking for — there are bigger plans. Stanford hasn't won a national title since 1992 despite three straight trips to the Final Four.

Kristi Kingma scored 22 points for Washington (10-12, 5-8), keeping her team close in the second half with clutch 3-pointers. Her 3 with 6:09 left trimmed Stanford's lead to 47-45.

This one was far too close for comfort for the Cardinal. They know they will have to play much better to make a run at that elusive championship.

Stanford shot an uncharacteristic 36.5 percent, missed its first 18 3-point attempts and several key free throws late, and held a slim 36-30 rebounding advantage against the scrappy Huskies. Washington got five 3-pointers from Kingma, one shy of equaling her career high, after being blown out by the Cardinal 80-51 in Seattle on Jan. 14.

The Cardinal were 1 for 21 overall from beyond the arc.

Sarah Morton's 3 with 7:56 to play pulled the Huskies within 44-41, then Mollie Williams converted one of two free throws the next time down to make it a one-point game. Stanford, headed for its 11th consecutive Pac-10 regular-season crown, is far from accustomed to playing in close games against conference opponents. The Cardinal whipped then-No. 8 UCLA 64-38 on Jan. 20 in what had been a highly touted matchup.

The Ogwumike sisters combined to score Stanford's first 13 points of the second half, including a pair of putbacks by freshman Chiney. The Cardinal built a 10-point lead — their second-biggest of the game at that point — at 36-26 on Nneka Ogwumike's basket at the 14:24 mark.

She was then whistled for her fourth foul with 10:32 remaining and briefly came out of the game.

Leading scorer Jeanette Pohlen shot 1 for 9 and missed all six of her 3-point attempts, while Kayla Pedersen went 3 for 13 and 0 of 8 from 3-point range but still wound up with 13 points and five rebounds.

This hardly looked like the team that dominated then-No. 1 Connecticut in a thrilling 71-59 victory Dec. 30 to snap the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak.

Still, Stanford did enough right to win its 50th in a row against conference competition after the Cardinal broke their own Pac-10 record by beating Washington State 100-59 on Thursday night — matching their season high in points, too.

Stanford earned its 11th straight victory against the Huskies, who had won three of four and were coming off a big 60-49 victory Thursday at California. The Cardinal, who go to USC and UCLA next week, will try to match their school-record home winning streak Feb. 24 against Oregon State.

Stanford opened the game just 3 for 19 and missed 15 straight shots between Chiney Ogwumike's layin at the 18:17 mark and Pedersen's basket at 10:58.

The Cardinal shot only 6 for 25 — 24 percent — in the first half but converted 12 of 15 free throws and led 24-18 at the break. They missed all 11 of their first-half 3-point tries and didn't connect from long range until Toni Kokenis hit one with 5:23 left in the game.

Washington hasn't beaten Stanford since Dec. 22, 2005.