Now, Heintz and Mintun have to try to slow down the very team they watched dismantle Maya Moore and Co. that night.
"It was pretty unreal. They just locked down Maya Moore ... what chance do we have?" Heintz said with a smile Friday, a day ahead of her program's NCAA tournament debut against the favored Cardinal on their home floor.
Top-seeded Stanford has the remarkable winning streak at Maples Pavilion, the marquee victory over mighty UConn and the pedigree that comes with being a perennial national powerhouse with Final Four experience.
So, do the three other teams playing here in the coming days even stand a chance against the dominant Cardinal? Stanford, riding a 61-game home winning streak with 23 consecutive victories overall, begins its quest to reach a fourth straight Final Four with the game against NCAA first-timer UC Davis and retiring Aggies coach Sandy Simpson on Saturday.
Don't count on the Cardinal (29-2) looking past anybody — not with the history they made against Harvard in 1998. That year, Stanford earned a top seed and lost to the 16th-seeded Crimson, becoming the only team ever in the men's or women's tournament to lose to the lowest seed.
It still comes up on occasion.
This Stanford team won't stand for just getting back to the Final Four again. After losing in the championship game in 2008 and again last year, winning the program's first title since 1992 is what these players care most about.
Stanford — 36-2 last season with those lone losses coming at the hands of the Huskies — fell 53-47 to Connecticut in the 2010 NCAA title game after leading 20-12 at halftime. UConn won its 78th straight game to complete back-to-back unbeaten seasons.
Then, Stanford beat UConn 71-59 this past Dec. 30 to end the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak.
"I think last year's team had a great shot at winning a national championship," coach Tara VanDerveer said. "A lot of it is you don't always win with your best team. Sometimes you're not always going to have it all in place. I hope this particular team has the intangibles. I think our chances of winning it all are dependent on how aggressive we are."
Like the host Cardinal, Texas Tech has its own monumental win this season: a 56-45 upset of then-No. 1 Baylor on Feb. 19. That victory certainly helped the Lady Raiders (22-10), who lost in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament, earn an at-large bid to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.
They will play in Saturday's first game against ninth-seeded St. John's, which lost to DePaul in the Big East tournament quarterfinals. The Red Storm (21-10) are in the tournament for a second straight season and no strangers to tough venues like Maples after falling 66-65 in overtime in the second round last March to Florida State on its home floor — though the arena will be much more hostile if St. John's advances to face favored Stanford in Monday night's second round. The program is making consecutive NCAA appearances for the first time since 1983 and '84.
Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry calls it the "most intriguing 8-9 matchup in the country" between similar teams. And St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico doesn't need any convincing.
"The way I feel about our team and how good we are and how I feel about their team and how good they are, and watching them beat Baylor, I'm sure they would say they're in the best league in the country as we would say we're in the best league in the country," Barnes Arico said. "To have two great teams that had great years from two of the top leagues in the country, and to have to play each other in the first round for a chance to play Stanford at Stanford in the second round, it's unbelievable. It's got to be one of the toughest first-round matchups and it's probably going to be a great game."
Stanford senior stars Jeanette Pohlen, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, and Kayla Pedersen are trying to wrap up a perfect record at home for their careers. Stanford hasn't lost in Maples since a second-round NCAA defeat to Florida State in March 2007 — and redshirt senior Melanie Murphy is the only one on the roster who was part of it.
"I still have a tough time wrapping my head around it. If you see the teams that come into Maples, everyone competes," said Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Chiney Ogwumike. "It's an incredible feat. Hopefully if we work hard, we'll be able to do something special in the history of Stanford. Those players have taught us a legacy, and that's a legacy not to lose at Maples. Hopefully we'll hold onto that for a while."
Two of those victories during the impressive run on campus have come against UC Davis, Stanford's Northern California neighbors who posted back-to-back 20-win seasons and have made quite the adjustment to playing in Division I. UC Davis made a four-year transition to become a full-fledged Division I member beginning in the 2007-08 season. The Aggies played at No. 6 Stanford in December of that year — their first top-10 opponent.
"We're really happy to see them in the tournament. We were hoping for them and for us that they wouldn't be playing here," VanDerveer said. "It's to our team's advantage that we have played them a couple times, but I think it's also to their advantage. They've been here two out of the last three years and they're not intimidated by coming into Maples."
The Aggies are back as a proven winner now, just in time to send 14th-year coach Simpson out in style.
"It's been kind of a fairy tale for us," Heintz said.
"It's kind of taken the awe factor away," Mintun said of playing at imposing Maples Pavilion.
UC Davis left Maples with an 84-49 loss in late December 2008, then No. 2 Stanford won 76-51 at Davis in November '09. The Aggies, with their nontraditional zone focused on perimeter pressure, want to make a statement even if they are a huge underdog on basketball's biggest stage.
"We've played Stanford here before but we haven't played them in the environment we're going to play them in tomorrow," Simpson said. "It's going to be a fun atmosphere. I told the kids, 'Enjoy it.'"