One remarkable Stanford women's basketball streak is gone and another will be challenged over the next two weeks with the start of Pac-12 play.
The Cardinal's 82-game home winning streak, the second longest in women's college basketball history, was ended in resounding fashion when Connecticut handed the Cardinal a 61-35 defeat on Saturday.
Now Stanford must try to rebound from that ego-bursting loss - the Cardinal's most lopsided home loss since Tara VanDerveer became coach and the lowest scoring total under VanDerveer - in time to continue its remarkable run against conference foes, starting with Friday's game at Colorado.
Stanford, which is ranked No. 4 in this week's AP poll and No. 3 in the coaches poll, has won 78 straight games against conference opponents, and has not lost to a conference foe in nearly four years. The last time Stanford lost to Pac-10 or Pac-12 opponent was Jan. 18, 2009, when Stanford was beaten by Cal 57-54.
But the early part of the Cardinal's Pac-12 schedule will challenge that streak, as four of Stanford's first five conference games are against teams ranked among the top 20.
It begins with Friday's Pac-12 opener against Colorado, one of just three unbeaten teams in the country. The Buffaloes won their past two games by a combined margin of 81 points, and in the game before that, they beat then-No. 8 Louisville. All three of those games were on Colorado's high-altitude home court, which is the site of Friday's game. Colorado is an outstanding rebounding team, so it will be a challenge for Chiney Ogwumike.
Colorado started 12-0 last season, but only went 6-12 in the conference, including a 26-point home loss to Stanford. But that recent victory over Louisville changes the perception of Colorado this year. Much of it has to do with the addition of freshman Arielle Roberson, who sat out last season with a hip injury but is Colorado's leading scorer this season. She is the sister of Colorado men's star Andre Roberson.
After playing Colorado, Stanford faces Utah (9-2) on Sunday, then plays No. 7 Cal in Berkeley on Tuesday to wind up a tough three-games-in-five-nights stretch, all on the road.
The odd schedule calls for Stanford to play Cal again in its next game after that, on Sunday, Jan. 13, at Maples Pavilion. So, four games into the conference season, Stanford and Cal will be finished with their season series -- although it's a good bet they'll face each other again in the conference tournament.
Stanford then plays 16 UCLA on Jan. 18 at Maples Pavilion. At the end of that stretch, we'll have a pretty good idea of whether Stanford will win its 13th consecutive regular-season conference championship.