No. 2 Stanford Takes Aim at No. 9 Tennessee

Dec. 20, 2004

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Stanford has started the season with a 8-0 mark and a No. 2 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today/WBCA Coaches' Poll. The Cardinal is on the road for the last half of December, playing five-straight games away from home. Four Cardinal players are scoring in double digits and nine are playing double-digit minutes. Stanford started last week ranked in the top-25 nationally in scoring offense and steals, but the Cardinal is proving itself on the defensive end of the floor as well, with the third-best scoring defense and sixth-best scoring margin in the nation. The Cardinal also came into the last weekend ranked No. 5 in the country with 12.4 turnovers per game.

One key for the Cardinal this season is depth. With 14 healthy players on the active roster, nine are averaging at least 12 minutes per game and none are averaging more than 29 minutes per game. All 14 are averaging points and rebounds for the season.

The Cardinal's match-up with No. 9 Tennessee is the second game versus a ranked opponent this season. On Nov. 28, Stanford posted a win over Texas Tech, making the Cardinal 1-0 over ranked opponents this season. Last year, Stanford went 3-3 versus ranked foes.

* Tennessee lost to Duke, 59-57, at home on Dec. 2. The Blue Devils became only the seventh team to defeat the Lady Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena, where Tennessee is 241-14 since it opened in 1987.
* Senior guard Loree Moore underwent a tonsillectomy on Dec. 10, and will likely sit out for one month.
* The last time Tennessee lost at least two non-conference games was in 2002-03, when the Lady Vols dropped a trio of non-SEC games to: Duke, Texas and UConn.

This will be the 21st match-up between Stanford and Tennessee. Last year, the squads met twice, first in December and again in March, when the Lady Vols scored a two-point win to advance to the Final Four. Tennessee has won the last-eight games in the series, as Stanford's last victory came on Dec. 15, 1996, in Knoxville.

The Cardinal is 19-20 all-time against Southeastern Conference foes. Stanford has challenged nine of the 12 teams in the conference and owns winning records against every opponent except Tennessee and Louisiana State. The Cardinal has never matched up against Kentucky, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

The Lady Vols have every Pac-10 team except California, and they own a 46-12 record against the conference. Tennessee owns winning records against all nine teams, although USC has defeated the Volunteers seven times in 15 attempts.

The Cardinal is off to an 8-0 start this season. Stanford has not opened the season with eight-straight victories since the 2001-02 season, when the Cardinal went 8-0 to begin the year. That year, second-ranked Tennessee defeated Stanford, 68-62, in Maples. In each of the past-three seasons, Stanford was undefeated until its meeting with Tennessee. The last time the Cardinal opened the season with nine-straight wins was in 1996-97, when Stanford went 9-0 to start the year (including an 82-65 victory over the Lady Vols in Knoxville).

Stanford owns an impressive 333-75 (.816) record at Maples Pavilion, including a 30-2 record over the last three years. Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 250-28 (.899) record at home* during her tenure and have posted six perfect seasons at Maples. Stanford has won 46 of its last 49 games at Maples.
*Home record includes this season's games at the Leavey Center.

Stanford had a 12-day span between Texas Tech (N28) and Pepperdine (D10). The Cardinal scheduled the time off to allow student-athletes to finish fall quarter finals. The 12-day break is the longest during the regular season, but there is also a 12-day break between the Pac-10 Championship and the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford's 21 steals against Eastern Washington at the Great Alaska Shootout was the third-best single game total in school history. Freshman guard Candice Wiggins led the way with five steals as nine different Cardinal players recorded at least one steal in the contest. On Dec. 10, the Cardinal debuted in Maples Pavilion and posted 20 steals, with Wiggins taking the ball six times. In its first seven games, the Cardinal is out-stealing its opponents 101-52.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer recorded her 600th career win last season, as the Cardinal defeated Missouri, 68-44, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. She won her 450th game as Stanford's head coach against Vanderbilt (57-55) in the Sweet 16 last March. Her overall record now stands at 610-168 (.784) in 25+ years, while her record at Stanford is 458-117 (.797) in 18+ years.

Kelley Suminski, a preseason Wooden Award candidate, a preseason Naismith Award candidate and a Senior CLASS nominee, has started 100 games during her four years at Stanford. She is tied for the No. 8 ranking in school history with 155 three-pointers in her career. Suminski's 141st three-pointer boosted her into the top-10, but is even more special because she hit it with 0.3 seconds left in the Sweet 16 match-up versus Vanderbilt last March to help the Cardinal advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1997. She became the 25th player in school history to score 1,000 points when she hit her first bucket of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette at the Great Alaska Shootout.

Freshman guard Candice Wiggins leads the Cardinal in scoring with 16.5 points per game and is also leading the team in steals with 25 this season. Candice's late father, Alan, also had a knack for steals - in 1984 he helped the San Diego Padres to the World Series and set the club's single-season record with 70 stolen bases (besting his own record of 66 from the year before). Alan Wiggins ranks third all-time in Padres history with 171 stolen bases in his career.

With a 8-0 mark to start the 2004-05 season, the Cardinal owns the No. 2 ranking in the AP and the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches' polls. It is the Cardinal's highest ranking since both polls ranked Stanford No. 2 in the 2001-02 season. That year, the Cardinal was ranked No. 2/2 from Feb. 7-Mar. 4, before falling to Arizona State in the Pac-10 Tournament title game. This season, Stanford moved from No. 7 to No. 5 in the AP poll after defeating Texas Tech 61-58 on Nov. 28. Stanford and top-ranked LSU are currently the only unbeaten teams in the top 10.

Stanford's five seniors have helped the Cardinal to a 94-15 record since arriving on The Farm. As freshmen in 2001-02, the squad advanced to the Sweet 16, and as juniors last season, they helped the team make it to the Elite Eight (not including Susan King Borchardt's true freshman year).

Stanford posted a 5-0 record in November, the fourth-straight year that the Cardinal has gone undefeated in the first month of play.

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