No. 2 Stanford Faces USC in Pac-10 Semifinal

March 5, 2005

Game Coverage: TV: Fox Sports Net
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Today's game will be the 800th game in Tara VanDerveer's head coaching career. One of the winningest active coaches, her overall record now stands at 629-170 (.787) in 25+ years, while her record at Stanford is 477-119 (.800) in 18+ years.

Stanford defeated California 81-40 in the Pac-10 Tournament Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. The 41-point win is a tournament record for margin of victory, besting the previous mark of 35 points when Stanford defeated UCLA, 96-61, on March 2, 2002).

Stanford swept the Pac-10 honors, as Candice Wiggins was named Pac-10 Player of the Year and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Tara VanDerveer was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year and three Cardinal players were honored as All-Pac-10 selections, with sophomore Brooke Smith, senior Kelley Suminski and Wiggins earning First-Team honors and senior Susan King Borchardt taking honorable mention accolades.

Stanford owns a 27-2 overall heading into the Pac-10 Tournament Semifinal and the No. 2 ranking in the Associated Press and the USA Today/Coaches' polls. The Cardinal clinched the regular season Pac-10 title with the 91-74 win at USC on Feb. 18, taking the No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament for the fourth-straight year.

Stanford currently owns an 18-game win streak, which is the sixth-best streak in school history. In the last 18 games, Stanford is averaging a margin of victory of 24.2 points per game, the closest contest being a 10-point win over then-No. 14 BC.

* The Trojans are 3-3 in their last six games.
* Last night's win against Arizona was the Trojans first Pac-10 Tournament Quarterfinal victory and second conference tournament win.
* Nineteen wins is the most for USC since the 1996-97 season when the Trojans finished with a 20-9 mark.

This will be the 51st match-up between Stanford and USC. The Cardinal won the two regular season meetings between the two schools, and has won 20 of the last-23 contests. This is the first Pac-10 Tournament game between the Cardinal and the Trojans, although Stanford did meet USC in the NCAA Tournament on March 28, 1992, in Seattle. Stanford won that game, 82-62, to advance to the Final Four.

The Cardinal owns an overall record of 322-101 (.761) against current Pac-10 foes and a 289-51 (.850) record in regular season conference action, the best percentage in the league. With the 88-62 win at USC on Feb. 18, Stanford clinched its fifth-straight regular season Pac-10 title. The Cardinal leads the Pac-10 with 14 regular season conference crowns (Washington ranks second with three Pac-10 titles). Stanford has also played in the Championship Game of the Pac-10 Tournament in each of the three years it has been played and has won the tournament title twice (2003 and 2004).

The Trojans are 270-167 (.618) all-time against current Pac-10 foes. In regular season play. The Women of Troy have won the Pac-10 title twice, winning the crown out-right in the first season (1986-87) and again in 1993-94. They have never advanced beyond the quarterfinals at the Pac-10 Tournament.

Stanford has owned the lead at halftime in every game this season, and is out-scoring opponents by an average of 14.7 points in the first 20 minutes. Twice, Stanford has only led by two points (at Utah and at Tennessee), but 19 times, the Cardinal has carried a double-digit lead into the break.

With an 84-41 win over Oregon State last week, the Cardinal wrapped up the conference season, breaking two school records in the process. Stanford limited its Pac-10 opponents to only 56.9 points per game and held its conference foes to 34.4% shooting from the field -- both record-setting marks in school history and in the Pac-10.

Three Cardinal players are scoring in double digits and 10 are playing double-digit minutes. As of Feb. 28, Stanford is ranked in the top-10 nationally in won-loss percentage (No. 2, 92.9%), scoring margin (No. 2, +22.6 points), field goal percentage (No. 4, 48.3%), scoring offense (No. 5, 78.1 ppg) and in field goal defense (No. 8, 34.8%). Through 28 games, the Cardinal is also ranked No. 13 in 3-point field goal percentage (37.8%), No. 15 in turnovers (14.3), No. 19 in assists (16.9) and No. 21 in rebounding margin (+6.8). Also ranked in the top-10 are Brooke Smith, who is No. 6 in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting 62.1% from the field, and Kelley Suminski, who is ranked No. 5 in three-point field goal percentage at 47.1%.

With the 84-41 victory over OSU, Stanford has won its regular season home finale the last 17 years.

Stanford's five seniors won their 100th game together on Jan. 13 with an 88-53 victory over California. Since arriving on The Farm, the quintet has posted a 113-17 record. 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. They have only suffered three losses at Maples over the past four years, and the 13-0 record this year is their first perfect home season.*
*As sophomores in 2002-03, the group defended its home court during the regular season but lost a second-round NCAA Tournament game at Maples.

Stanford won the Pac-10 Championship on Feb. 18, winning its 14th conference game at USC. The victory secured Stanford's record-tying fifth-straight Pac-10 title (the Cardinal also won five-straight between 1988-89 and 1992-93). Stanford has finished the regular season with at least 17 Pac-10 wins eight times. The Cardinal has posted four perfect 18-0 seasons and four 17-1 seasons.

The Cardinal is 4-1 over ranked opponents this season, after defeating No. 25/-- UCLA, then-No. --/24 Arizona State and then-No. 12/11 Texas Tech. Earlier this season, Stanford lost on a buzzer-beater at then-No. 9/10 Tennessee. Last year, Stanford went 3-3 versus ranked foes.

Stanford has finished every game this season with a better field goal percentage than its opponent. In 10 of the last 16 games, Stanford has shot at least 50.0% from the field, and has not shot below 42.9% in its last 16 games. The Cardinal shot a season-high 63.0% from the floor en route to a 94-58 victory over USC on Jan. 22, and on Feb. 24, Stanford finished with 62.5% shooting against Oregon. Through 28 games, the Cardinal's 48.3% shooting average ranks No. 4 in the nation.

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 629-170 (.787) in 25+ years, while her record at Stanford is 477-119 (.800) in 18+ years.

Stanford finished the regular season with a win over Oregon, extending its conference home win streak to 37 games. Stanford's last conference loss in Maples was on March 1, 2001, when USC posted a 62-59 victory over the Cardinal. Stanford owns an impressive 343-75 (.821) record at Maples Pavilion, including a 40-2 mark since the 2002-03 season. Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 260-28 (.903) record at home* during her tenure and, with the 13-0 mark this year, have posted seven perfect seasons at Maples. Stanford has won 56 of its last 59 games at Maples.
*Home record includes this season's games at the Leavey Center.

Stanford has only posted five double-doubles this season. Senior forward Sebnem Kimyacioglu recorded the first double-double of the year when she posted 10 points and 10 assists at Oregon State on Dec. 27. Then on Jan. 4, Stanford saw two in one night as Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin both posted a double-double against Washington. Smith finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Newlin added 14 points and 11 boards. Last week, freshman guard Candice Wiggins added the fourth of the year, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds at USC. Two days later, Wiggins scored 24 points and pulled down 16 boards at UCLA.

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. Then on Dec. 10, the Cardinal posted 20 steals versus Pepperdine, with Wiggins taking the ball six times. Wiggins also picked up six steals at ASU on Jan. 7, five of which resulted in breakaway layups. In 29 games, the Cardinal is out-stealing its opponents 294-195.

The Cardinal enters the Pac-10 Tournament Semifinal with an 18-game win streak and a 27-2 record. Stanford won the Pac-10 title with a 17-1 mark in conference play and is currently ranked No. 2 in the AP the USA Today/Coaches' poll. The 2/2 ranking matches Stanford's highest previous ranking this season, when both polls ranked the Cardinal No. 2 during December. Stanford had not been No. 2 since the 2001-02 season and has not been ranked No. 1 in the nation since starting the 1996-97 in the top spot. This year, Stanford has been ranked in the top-10 for the entire season.

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