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February 8, 2009
Washington at Stanford Preview
A difficult road stretch has Washington faltering in its first stint this season as a ranked team. If the 22nd-ranked Huskies want to maintain any hope of staying in the Top 25, they'll have to win in a building where their road woes have persisted for 15 years.
On Sunday, Washington will try to avoid its second straight Bay Area loss and a 16th straight defeat at Maples Pavilion, where Stanford is 11-2 this season.
A 13-1 stretch capped by a four-game winning streak moved Washington into the poll on Jan. 26, but it's been a struggle since then as the Huskies (16-6, 7-3 Pac-10) work their way through four straight road games.
They split two contests last week, losing to Arizona on Jan. 29 before beating then-No. 14 Arizona State two nights later. The Huskies then shot just 36.1 percent in an 86-71 loss at California on Thursday, and those problems carried over to the defensive end, as they allowed 56 second-half points after giving up 69 after halftime in the 106-97 loss to the Wildcats.
"We weren't getting stops, we weren't paying attention to our defensive assignments ... and they capitalized on it," Washington forward Quincy Pondexter said on Thursday.
Pondexter led the Huskies with a season high-tying 21 points, but senior Jon Brockman missed all four of his field goal attempts and managed just four points.
While Brockman had 15 rebounds and ranks in the top 10 nationally, averaging 11.0 rebounds per game, he's been inconsistent on offense lately after leading Washington with 17.8 points per game last season. He also scored four points on 0-of-8 shooting against Southern California on Jan. 22.
Brockman has one more chance to avoid becoming part of the latest Washington class to graduate without a win in Palo Alto. The Huskies have dropped 15 straight at Stanford since a 68-67 win during the 1992-93 season.
"A stat like that has no relevance whatsoever on Sunday's game," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar told his school's official Web site. "Certainly it is interesting, but it doesn't affect the matchup or the game itself. The fact that the seniors have not won here, now that might provide some extra motivation for them."
After beating Stanford 84-83 at home on Jan. 8 behind 19 points and 18 rebounds from Brockman, the Huskies are also going for their first regular-season sweep of the Cardinal since 1992-93.
Washington has come close to ending its woes at Maples. Its last three visits resulted in an overtime loss, a one-point defeat and a three-point loss on Feb. 28, when Stanford was ranked eighth.
After losing twin standouts Brook and Robin Lopez to graduation, the Cardinal (14-6, 4-6) have fallen off considerably this season, although they ended a three-game losing streak with a 65-54 win over Washington State on Thursday.
Senior Lawrence Hill scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting in that game, but Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins was more pleased with his team's defense, which responded after allowing UCLA to shoot 63.3 percent from the field in the Cardinal's 97-63 loss last Saturday.
"I thought we really defended well, especially after the first five or six minutes of the game," Dawkins said. "We started to really lock in and make it difficult. We didn't give up any easy baskets. And that's what we have to do - we have to make teams earn what they get."
Visitors have shot a surprisingly high 49.3 percent from the field in Palo Alto despite Stanford's impressive record at home. The Cardinal are 27-3 at Maples since the beginning of last season.