No. 11 Stanford, No. 4 Tennessee Clash Friday In Knoxville
Nov. 23, 2006
No. 11/11 Stanford Cardinal (2-1, 0-0 Pac-10)
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No. 4/4 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
No. 11/11 Stanford (2-1, 0-0 Pac-10) and No. 4/4 Tennessee (3-0, 0-0 SEC) resume their annual rivalry on Friday night in Knoxville. For the Cardinal, Friday's game represents the first of two contests over the next three days as Stanford also takes on No. 8/8 Georgia (4-0, 0-0 SEC) on Sunday afternoon to wrap up its early-season SEC road swing. Continuing its most challenging week of the year, Stanford downed Missouri 75-60 at Maples Pavilion on Tuesday to kick off the three-game, six-day stretch.
Later This Week
This weekend's road trip comes to an end Sunday, as Stanford travels to Athens to square off against Georgia in a 12 p.m. PST tip-off. That contest will be televised live nationally by Fox Sports Net, one of seven TV appearances for the Cardinal in 2006-07. Dave Neal provides the play-by-play while Debbie Antonelli offers color analysis.
Stanford returns to Maples Pavilion next week for a pair of games. Santa Clara comes to town on Nov. 29, followed four days later by Texas Tech on Dec. 3. After almost a two-week break, the Cardinal will then host Utah on Dec. 16. Stanford, which plays six of its first eight games at home, does not play another road game until Dec. 20.
Scouting No. 4/4 Tennessee
Tennessee (3-0, 0-0 SEC) has looked sharp in the early going, defeating top-25 Pac-10 opponents UCLA and Arizona State after a 102-72 win over Chattanooga in its season opener. The reason behind the hot start? Look at the offense, as the Lady Vols are averaging just under 90 points per game while shooting 55.2-percent from the field and 42.2-percent from three-point territory. Tennessee will once again play one of the nation's most competitive schedules, with opponents such as North Carolina, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Connecticut still remaining on the ledger. Players to watch include: Candace Parker (20.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 61-percent FG), Sidney Spencer (14.3 ppg, 66.7-percent FG) and Alexis Hornbuckle (12.0 ppg, 12 assists, 14 steals). Head coach Pat Summitt has notched a 916-177 overall record and enters her 33rd season at the helm.
Stanford All-Time vs. Tennessee
Tennessee has owned the upper hand in this great rivalry, 18-4. The Lady Vols have won 10 in a row in the series, which originated in 1988. During the 10-game losing streak, seven of those defeats have come by 10 points or less. Tennessee edged Stanford 74-67 at Maples Pavilion last year in front of 7,233 fans. In that game, Kristen Newlin paced the Cardinal with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes. Stanford's last victory against Tennessee came on Dec. 15, 1996, as the Cardinal earned a 82-65 road win. Stanford is 1-8 all-time in Knoxville.
Scouting No. 8/8 Georgia
Georgia (4-0, 0-0 SEC) finds itself unbeaten through four games. The Lady Dogs' most impressive win to date came in the season opener, a 78-69 victory over No. 11 Rutgers in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic. In its most recent contest, Georgia escaped past host Georgia Southern 75-71 thanks to a second-half rally and 52.9-percent shooting performance. Only seven players have seen court time so far for the Lady Dogs, with suspended standout Tasha Humprey scheduled to sit out the first six games. Georgia has outscored its opponents 79.0 to 60.8 and is shooting 49.3-percent overall from the field. Stanford must watch out for: Cory Chambers (17.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, team-best 17 three-pointers), Janese Hardrick (13.8 ppg, 19-23 free throws), Megan Darrah (10.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Ashley Houts (10.0 ppg, 18 assists). Head coach Andy Landers owns a career 743-229 record and is in his 28th season with Georgia.
Stanford All-Time vs. Georgia
Stanford is 6-2 all-time against Georgia. The two clubs have not matched up since Nov. 30, 2003, when the Cardinal claimed a 61-59 win. Georgia's last win (83-64) in the series came back on Mar. 20, 2000 in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford, which won the first four meetings of the series, is 1-1 all-time in Athens.
Stanford Takes Down Missouri, 75-60
Candice Wiggins scored 21 points and Stanford kicked off the toughest week of its schedule with a 75-60 victory over previously unbeaten Missouri on Nov. 21. Kristen Newlin added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brooke Smith had 14 points and six boards for the Cardinal, who were back to their usual focused selves on their home floor in Maples Pavilion. Jillian Harmon's three-point play with 4:31 before halftime ignited a 15-2 run by Stanford to end the first half, making it 39-22 Cardinal at the break. Stanford shot 47.5-percent compared to Missouri's 32.8-percent, held a 43-32 rebounding edge and converted on 16-18 free throw attempts to secure the win.
Cardinal Finish 1-1 In Preseason WNIT
Stanford's run in the Preseason WNIT came to an early end on Nov. 13, as No. 24/24 BYU stunned the Cardinal 55-52 in a second round contest at Maples Pavilion. Haley Hall banked in a go-ahead three-pointer with 16.5 seconds remaining and BYU used an 18-2 run over the final 7:23 to steal the victory. Stanford was led by Brooke Smith's 13 points and eight rebounds while Cissy Pierce chipped in with 10 points. That loss came on the heels of an 88-61 rout of Loyola Marymount in the opening round. In that game, Brooke Smith scored a game-best 26 points on 12-20 shooting while Candice Wiggins added 16 points and Kristen Newlin posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Stanford shot 54.3-percent, outrebounded Loyola Marymount 42-27 and held a 28-11 assists edge.
What's Going Right
Through just three games, Stanford holds a statistical edge over its opponents in a few key categories. The Cardinal is averaging 71.7 points per game while allowing only 58.7. Stanford is shooting 47.3-percent from the field and limiting its opponents to just 36.4-percent. The Cardinal have posted a rebounding margin of +10.3, dished out 57 assists compared to just 36 by their opponents and led at halftime in every game. Six different players are averaging at least 20 minutes of playing time per game, as head coach Tara VanDerveer continues to search for the right combination.
What Needs Improvement
Of course it's still early, but Stanford will be looking for increased production in a couple of areas. The Cardinal has made just 11-35 three-point attempts, translating into a 31.4-percent rate. Meanwhile, opponents have knocked down 26-61 opportunties for a 42.6-percent clip, led by BYU's 11-27 performance in a 55-52 upset over Stanford. The Cardinal will also be looking to improve at the free throw line, having made 28-40 tries for a 70.0 percentage. Opponents are shooting 75.9-percent (22-29) from the foul line.
Smith, Newlin Producing Inside and Outside
As expected, seniors Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin have teamed up to provide the Cardinal with a solid frontcourt. Stanford's leading scorer in the first two games, Smith is averaging 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 54.8-percent from the field (23-42). Newlin has posted two double-doubles so far and is averaging 11.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while making 54.2-percent (13-24). Surprisingly enough, Smith and Newlin are only a combined 10-13 from the free throw line. Even more surprisingly, they have combined to make 4-10 from three-point territory.
Finding A Way To Contribute
Head coach Tara VanDerveer must be pleased with the collegiate debuts of the four freshmen on the Cardinal roster. The newcomers may not have produced jaw-dropping numbers so far, but each has contributed in a reserve role. Michelle Harrison has enjoyed the most success, shooting 54.5-percent (6-11) while scoring eight points in 13 minutes in the season opener. JJ Hones is just 1-9 from the field, but she leads the team with 14 assists. In just six minutes against Loyola Marymount, Melanie Murphy dished out three assists. Jayne Appel made her much-anticipated debut against BYU, and she is averaging 5.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 274-30 record at home during her tenure, including a 169-11 mark all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has won 70 of its last 75 games at Maples, although a 55-52 upset loss to No. 24 BYU on Nov. 13 snapped a 12-game winning streak. With a 78-47 win over Washington State on Feb. 25, 2006, Stanford improved its Pac-10 home win streak to 46 games. Stanford's last conference loss in Maples was on March 1, 2001, when USC posted a 62-59 victory over the Cardinal.
Cardinal Recruiting Class Announced
Head coach Tara VanDerveer has announced the signing of four recruits- Ashley Cimino (Yarmouth, Maine), Hannah Donaghe (Atascadero, Calif.) Kayla Pedersen (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) and Jeanette Pohlen (Brea, Calif.)- to national letters of intent. They will join the Cardinal for the 2007-08 campaign. Ranked by The All Star Girls Report as the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation, this group is loaded with depth and talent.
The Choice In The Pac-10...again
For the seventh year in a row, six-time defending conference champion Stanford has been voted as the favorite to win the 2006-07 Pac-10 women's basketball title, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Cardinal received nine of 10 first-place votes in the poll, tallying 81 points overall. Arizona State was picked as the runner-up, receiving one first-place vote and totaling 70 points. The preseason coaches' poll follows a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 format. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.