SAN DIEGO -- Stanford is off to a fast start in its attempt to get back to the NCAA championship game.
The No. 2 seed Cardinal routed UC Santa Barbara 74-39 in an opening-round game on Saturday night, getting double-doubles from Pacific-10 Conference player of the year Jayne Appel and freshman Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Appel had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Ogwumike had 13 points and 11 rebounds.Stanford (30-4) extended its winning streak to 17 games.The Cardinal will face San Diego State on Monday night, with the winner advancing to the regionals at Berkeley. For Stanford, that would mean a trip across San Francisco Bay."I think we are really excited," Appel said. "But we are glad to get this first one done."The Cardinal lost to Tennessee in last year's national title game, 64-48.Stanford last won the NCAA title in 1992. For what it's worth, that tournament run began 17 years earlier to the day with an 82-73 win over the Gauchos on Stanford's home court."It's no surprise that the Stanford Cardinal are a pretty amazing team," UCSB coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "I think we saw them on a pretty good night. They came out like one of the best teams in the country. I think they will be in this for a long time, maybe all the way to the finals."This one was never in doubt as Stanford breezed to its 10th straight first-round win.Stanford made five 3-point shots in the first 11:30, including two apiece by Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen, to race to a 20-11 lead. The Cardinal, the Pac-10 regular-season and tournament champion, finished the first half with a 16-0 run to lead 42-14."Hitting those shots helped us get in the game and relax," Pohlen said."We hit our shots, rebounded and took care of the ball really well early on," coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I think we can play better. We will have to do a better job on Monday."San Diego State beat DePaul 76-70 to improve to 15-0 this season at Cox Arena, and ran its overall home winning streak to 17.Whitney Warren had 10 points for the Gauchos (22-10), who suffered their worst NCAA tournament loss. The 35-point losing margin eclipsed by one last year's 86-52 loss to Virginia.Lauren Pedersen, who came in leading the Gauchos at 13 points a game, was held scoreless, going 0-for-8 from the floor.Stanford outrebounded UC Santa Barbara 57-31.It was the eighth time Stanford reached the 30-win mark, and the first in consecutive seasons.