The fourth-ranked Wildcats (13-1) had let the No. 15 Cardinal (8-4) back in the game late in the first half, which ended with Northwestern ahead 8-7.
Then the Wildcats shut out Stanford for the first 25 minutes, 38 seconds after intermission, thanks to five of Bridget Bianco’s nine saves and an interior defense that kept limited Stanford’s top scorers this season, Rachel Ozer (31 goals) and Kyle Fraser (20) to one shot each and no points.
As it won its 11th straight, Northwestern chewed up huge chunks of the clock with a ball-control offense and outshot Stanford 19-8 in the second half. Goalie Lyndsey Munoz (14 saves) kept the Cardinal in the game until Alyssa Leonard took a perfect pass from Taylor Thornton to give NU a 12-7 lead with 7:51 to play.
The Wildcats, whose loss was at No. 2 North Carolina, play No. 3 Florida Saturday in Gainesville.