Stanford Wraps Up SEC Road Swing At No. 8 Georgia
Nov. 25, 2006
No. 11/11 Stanford Cardinal (2-2, 0-0 Pac-10)
- at -
No. 8/8 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (4-0, 0-0 SEC)
A three-game, six-day stretch for No. 11 Stanford (2-2, 0-0 Pac-10) concludes Sunday afternoon with a contest at No. 8 Georgia (4-0, 0-0 SEC). The Cardinal, dispatched by No. 4 Tennessee 77-60 on Friday night in Knoxville, will be looking to earn a split in its most challenging road trip of the year. Both of Stanford's losses have come at the hands of top-25 opponents, so a victory over Georgia on Sunday afternoon will provide some momentum for the Cardinal.
Sunday's contest will also be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net, the first of seven national television appearances for Stanford in 2006-07. Dave Neal will handle the play-by-play duties while Debbie Antonelli provides color commentary.
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 when it travels to USC for the Pac-10 opener.
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.
It's Been Awhile
Stanford is now 2-2 for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign, alternating wins and losses through the first four games. In 1999-2000, the Cardinal started out 2-0 before dropping its next three contests. Stanford has also suffered two losses during the month of Novemeber for the first time since an 0-3 start to begin the 1998-99 campaign.
Last Time Out:
No. 4/4 Tennessee 77, No. 11/11 Stanford 60 (Nov. 24, 2006 at Knoxville, Tenn.)
Candace Parker scored a game-high 25 points, including her fourth career dunk, during No. 4/4 Tennessee's 77-60 victory over No. 11/11 Stanford on Friday night in Knoxville. The win was the Lady Vols' 11th straight in the all-time series, improving their lead to 19-4. Sidney Spencer added 10 points for Tennessee, which shot 50-percent and held a 37-26 rebounding edge. Stanford managed to hang close thanks to a breakthrough performance from freshman Jayne Appel, who poured in a career-high 23 points on 10-17 shooting with five rebounds and five blocks. Candice Wiggins added 18 points (12 coming on three-pointers) and Jillian Harmon chipped in with 10 points off the bench. The Lady Vols also converted on 18-19 free throw opportunities, compared to just a 3-9 mark for the Cardinal. Tennessee led 35-28 at the half, and the lead would have been double-digits if not for a 60-foot bank shot by Wiggins as time expired. Both teams committed an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers.
Post Players Providing Production
Stanford's talented post rotation is one of the deepest in the entire country, as evidenced by some impressive field-goal percentages. Senior Brooke Smith, a Kodak Honorable Mention All-American in 2006, ranked second in scoring (14.3 ppg) and leads the Cardinal in rebounding (7.3 rpg) while shooting 51.0-percent form the field. Senior Kristen Newlin has been just as good, posting two double-doubles while averaging 8.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Newlin is shooting 51.9-percent from the field. Throw in highly-touted freshman Jayne Appel, coming off a 23-point outing against Tennessee that bumped her scoring and rebounding averages to 11.0 and 4.7, repectively, and you have the recipe for a dominating frount line.
What's Going Right
Through just four games, Stanford holds a statistical edge over its opponents in a few key categories. The Cardinal is averaging 68.8 points per game while allowing only 63.2. Stanford is shooting 46.9-percent from the field and limiting its opponents to just 39.6-percent. The Cardinal has posted a rebounding margin of +5.0 while dishing out 75 assists compared to just 49 by its opponents. Six different players are averaging at least 20 minutes of playing time.
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 16-48 three-point attempts, translating into a 33.3-percent rate. Meanwhile, opponents have knocked down 31-69 opportunties for a 44.9-percent clip, led by BYU's 11-27 performance in a 55-52 upset over Stanford on Nov. 13. The Cardinal will also be looking to improve at the free throw line, having made 31-49 tries for a 63.3 percentage. Opponents are shooting 83.3-percent (40-48) 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 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while Newlin has totaled 8.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. Surprisingly enough, Smith and Newlin are only a combined 10-13 from the free throw line. Even more surprisingly, they have combined to make 4-11 from three-point territory.
Stanford has used two different starting linuep combinations through the first four games. Candice Wiggins, Cissy Pierce, Jillian Harmon, Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin was the lineup for the first two games, with JJ Hones substituting for Harmon against Missouri and Tennessee. Stanford's starters have accounted for most of the scoring punch.
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 success, shooting 58.3-percent (7-12) while scoring eight points in 13 minutes in the season opener. JJ Hones has made two consecutive starts and leads the team with 17 assists. Melanie Murphy has given the club a boost off the bench, with eight assists in limited playing time. Jayne Appel had her way with Tennessee's post players, pouring in a career-best 23 points with five rebounds and five blocks.
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.
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.
Winning With Wiggins
The preseason accolades continue to pile up for junior guard Candice Wiggins, two-time All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year. Most recently, Wiggins was named to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the 2006-07 John R. Wooden Award. That comes on the heels of being named to the 25-player watch list for the Wade Trophy. The 26th player in school history to score 1,000 points in her career, Wiggins led the Pac-10 in scoring (21.8 ppg) last year and currently ranks 15th in school history with 1,375 points scored. Wiggins is also the school record-holder in points per game, averaging 19.6 over her first two years.
Smith's Senior Year Should Be Special
Stanford boasts yet another All-American candidate in senior forward/center Brooke Smith. Just like Wiggins, Smith has also been named to the 25-player watch list for the Wade Trophy. Smith was tabbed an honorable mention All-American as a junior in 2005-06. Also a member of the 1,000-point club at Stanford, Smith enters the 2006-07 as the school record-holder in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1-percent from the field. In 2005-06, Smith averaged 17.2 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game.
VanDerveer Signs On For Six
Head coach Tara VanDerveer has signed a six-year contract extension that will keep her on The Farm through the 2011-12 campaign. Regarded in the profession as one of the most well-respected and dynamic coaches in the country, VanDerveer has notched an impressive 661-179 overall record in her 27 years of collegiate coaching. Currently in her 21st year at the helm of the Cardinal, she owns a 509-128 record. During her tenure on The Farm, she has led the Cardinal to two NCAA Championships, five NCAA Final Four appearances, 14 Pac-10 titles and 18 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Cardinal on National Television
Stanford is scheduled to have seven regular-season games televised nationally. In addition, postseason games will be broadcast on ESPN. Check www.gostanford.com for the most updated listings. Stanford will play six games on Fox Sports Net (FSN): Nov. 26 at Georgia, Dec. 30 vs. Arizona State, Jan. 27 at Arizona State, Feb. 4 vs. California, Feb. 10 vs. Washington and Feb. 25 vs. USC. Another contest (Jan. 2 at Fresno State) will represent Stanford's first-ever appearance on CSTV.
Pac-10, National Recognition
In addition to being picked to win the Pac-10 for a seventh straight season, six-time defending conference champion Stanford is a consensus national championship contender in 2006-07. The Cardinal is ranked No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll, which features six Pac-10 teams ranked among the top-25. The high ranking follows a pattern of earlier publications such as ESPN.com (No. 3), Street & Smith's (No. 4), Lindy's (No. 3) and Athlon Sports (No. 4). And it might be early, but ESPN.com has already projected Stanford as a No. 1 seed for the 2006-07 NCAA Tournament.
Appel Helps USA Claim Gold Medal
Back in July, freshman forward/center Jayne Appel helped the USA Basketball U18 Women's National Team (4-0) win a gold medal at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Women with four-straight wins at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Appel averaged seven points, nine rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just under 16 minutes per game during the tournament. In the championship game against Canada, Appel started for the U.S. and posted nine points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in just 22 minutes. In the semifinal round, Appel pulled down nine rebounds and three blocks against Argentina, and in the quarterfinals against Brazil, she posted eight points and four rebounds despite playing only 13 minutes.