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A Look At The Most Dominant Women’s Teams In Stanford History

After winning the 2020-2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Stanford University kept its streak of winning at least one NCAA team championship each academic year for 45 consecutive years.

This season’s Stanford basketball team finished the year 31-2 overall with a 19-2 record in the Pac-12. Both losses came early in the season, igniting a fire in the team to finish out the season on a 20-game win streak that eventually led them to its first national championship since 1992. 

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Stanford athletics have always been dominant. Both men’s and women’s athletics are responsible for a combined 127 team national championships, nine more than the University of California-Los Angeles, who have 118 total NCAA titles. Stanford and UCLA are the only two schools to have championships in 20 different sports, and the University of Southern California is closest to this mark with titles in 17 different sports. 

Stanford’s 2021 championship run also kept an impressive streak alive for the university — Stanford Athletics has won a national championship in at least one team sport for the last 45 years. 

The most dominant program at Stanford has been the women’s tennis team, which has won 20 NCAA titles from 1982 through 2019. 

The Stanford women’s tennis program has seen many dominant players as well. Teri Whitlinger played at the university from 1988-1991 and finished with a career record of 101-6. In a similar fashion, Alice Barnes finished her Stanford career 93-5 from 2003-2006. Multiple other women on the Stanford tennis team have finished their careers with single-digit losses, including Theresa Logar (2004-2007) with a record of 88-7, Amy Chiminello (1992-1996) at 87-9, and Debbie Graham (1989-1991) at 73-2. 

Those 20 NCAA championships are the highest number of titles by a women’s program in a single sport besides the University of North Carolina, whose women’s soccer program is responsible for 21 NCAA championships.

The next most dominant sport has been swimming, where the Stanford women’s team has taken home 11 National Championships. The program won two titles in the 80s before winning six in the 90s, and later won titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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Stanford also has nine national titles in women’s volleyball, including three most recently in 2016, 2018, and 2019. They have also been a runner-up in the NCAA Final Four a total of eight times. Some notable names to take the court for the Cardinal’s women’s volleyball program include Ogonna Nnamani, Logan Tom, Kathryn Plummer, Foluke Akinradewo, Kim Oden, Bryn Kehoe, Morgan Hentz, and Kerri Walsh Jennings. 

Kerri Walsh Jennings is not only the greatest Cardinal to ever take the court for the program, but she is also one of the best volleyball players in the entire world. She was a two-time NCAA champion, four-time First Team All-American, and the 1999 Co-National Player of the Year. On top of this, she is a five-time Olympian and the most decorated professional beach volleyball player in the history of the sport. 

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Between the school’s tennis, swimming, and volleyball teams, they share a total of 40 titles, more than half the total of women’s championships at the university.  The other 20 women’s titles come from water polo with seven championships, cross country with five, basketball with three, and golf, rowing, and soccer all with one.

Breakdown of Stanford Women’s NCAA Team Championships (60)

Tennis (20): 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019

Swimming (11): 1983, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2017, 2018, 2019

Volleyball (9): 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2016, 2018, 2019

Water polo (7): 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019

Cross country (5): 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007

Basketball (3): 1990, 1992, 2021

Golf (1): 2015

Rowing (1): 2009

Soccer (1): 2009

Photo Credit: Stanford Women’s Basketball, Stanford Beach Volleyball