No. 9/10 Women's Basketball Preps For Final Road Trip
Feb. 13, 2007
No. 9/10 Stanford Cardinal (21-4, 13-1 Pac-10)
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Oregon State Beavers (8-15, 3-11 Pac-10)
Maintaining its lead in the Pac-10 standings by a half-game, No. 9/10 Stanford (21-4, 13-1 Pac-10) prepares for its final regular-season road trip of the year. The Cardinal, coming off back-to-back 26-point routs at home last week, begin the week in Corvallis on Thursday night against Oregon State (8-15, 3-11 Pac-10). Two days later, Stanford travels to Oregon (14-10, 6-8 Pac-10) before returning to Maples Pavilion next week for its final homestand against UCLA and USC.
Both of this week's games can be heard live on KZSU 90.1 FM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com, with Jake Kelman handling the broadcast duties. Saturday's contest at Oregon will also be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net, representing Stanford's fourth national television appearance during the month of February and eighth overall this year.
Candice Wiggins, who suffered her second right ankle sprain in a month in Stanford's 80-54 win over Washington last week, is not expected to play Thursday at Oregon State. Wiggins will make the trip and her status for Saturday at Oregon is unknown.
Scouting Oregon State
Oregon State checks into this week with an 8-15 overall record and 3-11 Pac-10 mark. The Beavers are struggling, having lost five in a row and seven of the last eight. Five different players have made 23 starts on a roster that includes only four reserves. That being said, Oregon State gave Stanford a scare in the first meeting back on Jan. 20 before the Cardinal pulled away in the second half. The Beavers, 5-6 in home games, managed to stay close thanks to a 43.5-percent field goal percentage that ranks fourth in the Pac-10. However, the club only averages 31.5 rebounds per game and is shooting just 27.6-percent from beyond the arc. Players to watch include: Casey Nash (20.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 79-percent free throws), Judie Lomax (11.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 67.3-percent field goals) and Cedes Fox-Griffin (9.4 ppg, 148 assists, 44 steals). Head coach LaVonda Wagner is in her second season at the helm.
Stanford All-Time vs. Oregon State
Stanford is 37-6 all-time against Oregon State, and that includes a current 13-game winning streak. These two clubs hooked up back on Jan. 20, with Stanford claiming a 69-55 victory that was closer than the score indicated. In that game, Brooke Smith led three players in double-figure scoring with 17 points. Oregon State's most recent win came back on Jan. 11, 2001, when the Beavers notched an 81-65 victory in Corvallis.
Who To Watch Against Oregon State
Oregon native Jillian Harmon apparently looks forward to facing Oregon State. In three games, Harmon is 17-24 from the field (50-percent) while averaging 5.6 rebounds per game. Brooke Smith has been even more impressive, making 32-49 (65.3-percent) in five games while pulling down 6.4 rebounds. Cissy Pierce (8-13 from the field in four games) and Kristen Newlin (21-34, 7.0 rebounds in six games) have also enjoyed success.
Stanford has played three games so far without the services of Candice Wiggins and the result is a 3-0 record. In those games, the Cardinal has defeated its opponents by an average of 11 points and is scoring 64.3 points per game. Brooke Smith (13.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 6.3 apg), Jillian Harmon (12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 48.5-percent shooting) and Jayne Appel (9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 60-percent shooting) have all picked up the slack.
With starting point guard JJ Hones gone for the year and Candice Wiggins out indefinitely due to injury, the Cardinal is looking for someone to step in as the floor general down the stretch. Enter freshman Melanie Murphy, who has appeared in 21 games as a reserve while averaging only 8.7 minutes. If last week's performances are any indication, look for that to change. In Stanford's recent homestand, Murphy shot 62.5-percent on 5-8 attempts from the field while dishing out 12 assists and committing only one turnover. Her 11 points and eight assists against Washington on Feb. 10 were season-bests.
It All Starts With Ball Security
Just like many Stanford teams of the past, this year's club has displayed a knack for sharing the basketball and limiting miscues. The Cardinal's 1.2 assist/turnover ratio is tops in the Pac-10. Stanford is averaging 18.1 assists per game and has dished out at least 20 helpers in a game on eight different occasions. And Stanford is taking care of the basketball, averaging a Pac-10 best 15.0 turnovers per contest.
It's That Time Of Year
It's that time of year when you would expect a conference player of the year to catch fire, and Candice Wiggins has done just that. The previous seven contests provide a nice snapshot, as Wiggins has avearged 20.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Opponents can't afford to leave her open on the wing (she's 19-45 from beyond the arc) but also must be careful not to put her on the line (21-25 from the charity stripe).
Hones Out For Remainder Of Season
Freshman point guard JJ Hones will miss the remainder of the season due to an ACL tear in her left knee. Hones suffered the injury while driving to the basket at the 19:15 mark of the first half of Stanford's 72-57 loss to California on Feb. 4. Despite being just a rookie, Hones started 20 games and emerged as the leader of the Cardinal offense. She averaged 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in 24.3 minutes. Second on the team in three-pointers with 14, Hones led the Cardinal with 90 assists while committing only 32 turnovers. She dished out at least four assists in a game on 14 different occasions and scored a season-high 17 points at Washington State on Jan. 13.
Last Time Out:
No. 11/11 Stanford 80, Washington 54 (Feb. 10, 2007 at Stanford, Calif.)
Stanford watched a key player go down with an injury for the third straight game, and this time it was Candice Wiggins. Wiggins scored 23 points and topped 1,700 for her career before leaving with a sprained right ankle, leading Stanford past Washington 80-54. Wiggins went down with 7:59 remaining after driving to the basket for a layup. Kristen Newlin had 12 points and nine rebounds and Brooke Smith added 12 points and 12 rebounds for her sixth double-double. Melanie Murphy, who is getting more playing time after point guard JJ Hones was lost to a season-ending knee injury earlier this month, had season-bests of 11 points and eight assists. Stanford held a 48-32 rebounding edge, shot 50-percent overall and dished out 22 assists. Wiggins hit back-to-back 3-pointers after Washington pulled within 38-29 at 17:36 to keep Stanford well out in front.
17-Game Winning Streak Boosts Cardinal
A recent 17-game winning streak that spanned just over two months vaulted Stanford into the top-10 of both polls and solidified the Cardinal's standing as the best team on the West Coast. After a 74-69 loss at Georgia back on Nov. 26, Stanford rattled off 17 consecutive victories (13 by double-digit margins) before a 72-57 upset loss to California on Feb. 4. The winning streak was the nation's third-best at the time and represented the fifth-longest winning stretch in school history. Defense proved to the be key during the streak, as Stanford limited its foes to 55.8 points per game and 34.0-percent shooting from the field while forcing 15.5 turnovers and allowing only 10.3 assists per contest.
Cardinal Finds Scoring Balance...
At least three Stanford players have reached double-figure scoring in every game this year except five. Candice Wiggins (16.8 ppg), Brooke Smith (13.7) and Jayne Appel (12.3) are all averaging double-figure scoring. There have been three times this year (Santa Clara on Nov. 29, Arizona on Dec. 28 and Arizona on Jan. 25) where at least five different Cardinal players have reached double-digit scoring. Overall, eight different players have scored in double-figures and seven players have earned team-high scoring honors.
...Not So Much For The Opposition
Stanford's success in placing multiple players in double-figure scoring has not been duplicated by its opponents. A stout Cardinal defense has allowed just 57.5 points per game while holding 18 opponents to 60 points or less. Opponents are shooting only 34.9-percent from the field and only five teams have shot better than 40-percent in a game. In fact, during a 73-49 rout of Texas Tech on Dec. 3, the Cardinal held the Lady Raiders without a double-digit scorer- the first time that has happened since 2005.
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 (13.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg) while shooting 50-percent and scoring in double-figures 21 times. Fellow senior Kristen Newlin is shooting 53.7-percent, posting five double-doubles while averaging 7.6 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game. And don't forget about freshman Jayne Appel, who ranks third in scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) while leading the squad with 44 blocks and a 55.2 shooting percentage.
Wiggins Leading The Cardinal
The two-time All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year, junior Candice Wiggins leads the Cardinal in scoring (16.8 ppg) and three-pointers (57). A 44.9-percent shooter from the field, Wiggins also ranks third in assists (79) and is pulling down 4.2 rebounds per game. She has scored in double-figures in 19 games overall. Also, Wiggins has scored at least 20 points in six games this year, including a season-best 30-point effort at Arizona State on Jan. 27 that resulted in her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of the season. Wiggins has started 22 of the team's 25 games, missing time in three games due to injury.
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 2005-06 Pac-10 All Freshman Team honoree, Harmon's hustle and intensity provides the Cardinal with a versatile weapon. She ranks fourth in scoring (8.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.0 rpg), second in steals (30), fourth in assists (54) while shooting 44.1-percent overall. Harmon has scored in double-figures in eight games, including a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds at Fresno State on Jan. 2.
Stanford's first road trip of the year to No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 Georgia was meant to be a learning experience for freshman Jayne Appel. Instead, she put on a clinic against some of the nation's best competitions. At 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 at Georgia, she nearly recorded her first double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Since then she has been just as solid, averaging 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while leading the Card with 44 blocks. Appel has also scored in double-figures 15 times.
Wiggins, Newlin, Smith Climb Rankings
Candice Wiggins and Kristen Newlin continue to climb the rankings in the Stanford record books. Wiggins ranks fifth in school history in points scored at 1,722. She is also seventh all-time with 183 three-pointers. Newlin ranks second all-time in blocked shots with 150 and seventh in rebounds with 712. Brooke Smith is now fifth in blocks with 121.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 284-31 record at home during her tenure, including a 175-12 mark all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has won 80 of its last 86 games at Maples, although a 55-52 upset loss to No. 24 BYU back on Nov. 13 snapped a 12-game winning streak entering the 2006-07 campaign. California's stunning 72-57 victory on Feb. 4 snapped Stanford's 50-game conference home winning streak.
Stanford To Host 2007 NCAA Tournament First/Second Rounds
The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee has selected Maples Pavilion (capacity: 7,233) as one of eight regional sites to host first and second round competition during the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Stanford University will host games on Saturday, March 17 and Monday, March 19. For ticket information, refer to www.gostanford.com or call 1-800-STANFORD.
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