No. 12 Stanford Looks For Ninth Straight Win At No. 21 California
Jan. 4, 2007
No. 12/12 Stanford Cardinal (10-3, 4-0 Pac-10)
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No. 21/21 California Golden Bears (11-3, 2-2 Pac-10)
Riding its longest winning streak in two years, No. 12/12 Stanford (10-3, 4-0 Pac-10) looks to extend its dominance over a familiar opponent this weekend when it travels to Berkeley to face No. 21/21 California (11-3, 2-2 Pac-10). The Cardinal picked up its eighth win in a row earlier in the week, cruising past Fresno State 80-52 on the road. The eight consecutive wins represent Stanford's longest winning streak since 2005, when the club notched 23 straight victories. Stanford also will be looking to extend its winning streak over California, which currently stands at 13 in a row.
Saturday's game at California can be heard live on KZSU 90.1 FM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. The game will also be televised on Comcast, with Todd McKim handling the play-by-play chores and Krista Blunk serving as the color analysis.
A three-game, six-day stretch awaits the Cardinal next week. Stanford hosts South Carolina on Monday, Jan. 8, to open the week before traveling to Washington (Thursday, Jan. 11) and Washington State (Saturday, Jan. 13).
Scouting No. 21/21 California
California (11-3, 2-2 Pac-10) appears more equipped to challenge Stanford than any year in recent memory. The Golden Bears, who are coming off a 65-53 victory over Rhode Island on Tuesday, have become a top-25 fixture. Despite battling injuries to key players, California has collected wins over Florida, Fresno State, Kansas and USC. Optimism for Golden Bear fans is a carry-over from last year, when the underclassmen-laden club posted an 18-12 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993. California is averaging 71.4 ppg, allowing only 59.8 ppg and shooting 47.8-percent from the field. Players to watch include: Ashley Walker (18.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 80-99 FT's, 24 blocks), Devanei Hampton (13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 52.7 field goal percentage) and Lauren Greif (8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 37 assists, 27-60 from three-point territory).
Stanford All-Time vs. California
The edge in this series goes to Stanford at 46-15. The Cardinal sports a 13-game winning streak that spans almost six years. California's most recent win came back on Feb. 16, 2001- an 82-73 triumph at Maples Pavilion. In 2005-06, Stanford completed a sweep of the season series with an 87-75 home win and a 55-46 road victory. In games played at Berkeley, Stanford owns a 20-10 record.
Who To Watch Against California
The usual suspects. In five career games, Brooke Smith has made 40-60 (66.6-percent) from the field while averaging 6.0 rebounds per game. Candice Wiggins has made 37-66 (56-percent) in five games in addition to pulling down 4.4 rebounds per game and dishing out 4.8 assists per game. Wiggins has also made more three-pointers (16) against California than any other Pac-10 opponent. Markisha Coleman has made the most of her playing time in five games, converting on three of her seven shot attempts.
Wiggins Named Pac-10 Player of the Week
Candice Wiggins was named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 26-31. Wiggins averaged 16.5 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal in two games as the Cardinal defeated Arizona and upset No. 10/11 Arizona State. On the week, she shot 40.7 pecent from the floor (11-of-27) and 52.9 percent from three-point territory (9-of-17). The Player of the Week honor is the fourth of Wiggins' career. After sitting out the first two games of her career with a hamstring injury two weeks ago, Wiggins poured in 12 points (all three-pointers), while dishing out four assists in an 86-58 win over Arizona. Two days later, she single-handedly directed Stanford to its biggest win of the year in a 77-71 thriller over the Sun Devils. After a sluggish first half (0-4 from the field, 2 points), Wiggins erupted in the second half, finishing with a game-best 21 points, five three-pointers, four rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes of action.
Defense The Key In Winning Streak
Stanford's current eight-game winning streak has been highlighted by an opportunistic defense and consistent pressure. In those eight games combined, Stanford has limited its opponents to 54.7 points per game, 33.3-percent shooting from the field and won all seven games by an average of 21.2 points. Perhaps the most impressive statistic: the Cardinal has forced 142 combined turnovers (17.7 per game) while allowing only 76 assists (9.5 per game). In fact, Stanford has held seven of those eight victims to under 60 points.
Wiggins, Newlin Continue To Climb Rankings
Candice Wiggins and Kristen Newlin continue to climb up the rankings in the Stanford record books. Entering Saturday's game at California, Wiggins currently ranks ninth in school history in points scored at 1,523. She is also tied for 10th all-time with 152 three-pointers. Newlin ranks fourth all-time in blocked shots with 133 and 12th overall in rebounds with 619.
Last Time Out:
No. 12/12 Stanford 80, Fresno State 52 (Jan. 2, 2007 at Fresno, Calif.)
Jayne Appel scored 15 points, Brooke Smith added 13 and No. 12 Stanford routed Fresno State 80-52 for its eighth consecutive victory. Jillian Harmon had 13 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season for the Cardinal, who scored the game's first 16 points. Kristen Newlin added nine points for Stanford, which outrebounded Fresno State 50-32. Stanford bolted to a 16-0 lead to start the game as Fresno State missed its first nine shots. Appel was especially effective against the smaller Bulldogs, scoring 10 points in the first half. While Newlin and Smith dominated inside, getting several easy putbacks, Fresno State struggled to find any offense. The Bulldogs did not score until Chantella Perera drove the lane for a layup with 14:20 left. Stanford shot 52.6 percent in the first half compared to 27.3 percent for the Bulldogs. The Cardinal led 45-20 at halftime.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 279-30 record at home during her tenure, including a 171-11 mark all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has won 75 of its last 80 games at Maples, although a 55-52 upset loss to No. 24 BYU on Nov. 13 snapped a 12-game winning streak. With a 77-71 victory over Arizona State last weekend, Stanford improved its Pac-10 home win streak to 48 games. Stanford's last conference loss in Maples was on March 1, 2001, when USC posted a 62-59 victory over the Cardinal.
Post Players Providing Production
Stanford's talented post rotation is one of the deepest in the entire country, as evidenced by some impressive performances. Senior Brooke Smith ranks second on the squad in scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg) while shooting 49.3-percent from the field. Smith has scored in double-figures in 11 games and has led the club in scoring three times. Fellow senior Kristen Newlin has been just as good, posting four double-doubles while averaging 8.4 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. Newlin is shooting 52.5-percent from the field. And don't forget about freshman Jayne Appel, who ranks third in scoring (11.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg) while leading the Cardinal in blocks with 23.
Wiggins Leading The Cardinal
The two-time All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year, junior Candice Wiggins leads the Cardinal in scoring (15.5 ppg) and three-pointers (26). A 43.2-percent shooter from the field, Wiggins also ranks third in assists (35) and is pulling down 3.6 rebounds per game. She has scored in double-figures in nine games overall. Also, Wiggins has scored at least 20 points in three games this year, including a 21-point effort against Arizona State in Stanford's most recent contest. Wiggins has started 11 of the team's 13 games, sitting out for the first time in her career against USC (Dec. 20) and UCLA (Dec. 22) due to a hamstring injury originally suffered Dec. 16 versus Utah.
Harmon Makes The Hustle Plays
Candice Wiggins will score. Kristen Newlin will rebound. JJ Hones will rack up assists. But perhaps no player on the roster is more capable of making her mark in multiple stat categories than sophomore Jillian Harmon. A Pac-10 All Freshman Team honoree last year, Harmon's hustle and intensity provides the Cardinal with yet another versatile weapon. Case in point: she currently ranks fourth in scoring (9.8 ppg) and rebounding (4.2 rpg), first in steals (21), fifth in assists (23), and is shooting 50.5-percent from the field. Harmon has scored in double-figures in seven games, including her first double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Fresno State on Jan. 2.
Road Trip Carries Over For Appel
Stanford's first road trip of the year to No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 Georgia was thought to be a learning experience for freshman Jayne Appel. Instead, Appel put on a clinic against some of the nation's best competition. Against Tennessee, Appel led the Cardinal with a season-best 23 points on 10-17 shooting to match five rebounds and five blocks. Two days later versus Georgia, she nearly recorded her first double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Since that road trip she has been just as impressive, averaging 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while leading the Cardinal with 23 blocked shots. Appel is shooting a team-best 56.1-percent from the field and has scored in double-figures eight times.
Hones Helps The Cardinal
Get in position to score and freshman JJ Hones will find you. The Cardinal freshman has been forced to make a quick transition to the college level at one of the toughest positions on the floor. And the early returns are positive, with Hones leading the team with 55 assists while committing only 20 turnovers. Hones has dished out at least four assists in a game on nine different occasions. She is averaging 4.4 points per game in 10 starts, including a pair of season-high 11-point performances at USC (Dec. 20) and UCLA (Dec. 22).