No. 2 Stanford Clinches Pac-10 Title With 81-65 Win Over Washington

Feb 15, 2002

Stanford, Calif. - Nicole Powell doesn't know how long she's been apoint guard. What she knows is how one should act.

Powell had 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead second-rankedStanford to the Pacific-10 Conference title with an 81-65 victory overWashington on Thursday.

It was Stanford's 17th straight win and 11th conference title in 16 seasons.Powell has four triple-doubles - three this season.

'I've been playing the point since about midway through the season,'Powell said before she was interrupted by Stanford coach Tara Vanderveer.

'Nicole, you just started playing point the last two weeks,' Vanderveercorrected.

Powell shrugged.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore has played the point off-and-on at Stanford, but tookover full-time duties there Feb. 7 at Oregon. She now has four of theconference's 10 triple-doubles. Her 12 assists, a career high, came on theheels of her being named one of the 20 finalists for the Naismith CollegeWomen's Player of the Year on Tuesday.

'Last year she was thrown into the role,' Vanderveer said. 'This yearshe's grown into it. The thing is she's just so big and she has great vision.She's a tough matchup for anyone.'

The Huskies, who got 18 points from Andrea Lulum, 14 by Giuliana Mendiolaand 11 from Loree Payne, agreed. They had their five-game winning streak haltedlargely because of Powell's play.

Lindsey Yamasaki added 19 points and Bethany Donaphin 18 points and 11rebounds as the Cardinal improved to 25-1, 15-0 in the Pac-10.

'She's hard to match up with no matter where she plays,' Mendiola said ofPowell. 'She showed again what a great player she is.'

Powell had just eight points, six assists and 12 rebounds in the teams'first meeting, a 75-67 Stanford win on Jan. 19.

The Huskies (15-9, 10-5) kept it close the first half and trailed just 44-39as the backcourt of Mendiola and Payne had 11 points apiece.

'Our defense was at the concession stand the first half,' Vanderveer said.

The Cardinal, which assured itself the top seed at the inaugural Pac-10Tournament March 1-4 at Oregon, used its long-distance shooting to take controlearly in the second half. Stanford went on a 26-11 run after intermissionthanks in part to five 3-pointers. Three of those came from Yamasaki, who set aconference record with nine 3-pointers in a loss at Washington last year.

Powell had seven assists during the second-half run as Stanford opened up a70-50 lead.

'She reminds me of Teresa Edwards in the (1996) Olympics,' saidVanderveer, who was the coach of that gold medal-winning team.

Washington made just 10 of 33 shots in the second half when it committed 10of its 15 turnovers.

'We just didn't come out with the same defensive intensity the secondhalf,' Mendiola said. 'You can't play just one half of basketball and expectto beat a team as strong as Stanford. There's a reason they're No. 2 in thecountry.'

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