No. 7/8 Women's Basketball Opens Pac-10 Tourney Saturday
March 1, 2007
2007 PAC-10 TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS
No. 7/8 Stanford (25-4, 17-1 Pac-10)
- VS. -
Oregon State (9-18, 4-14 Pac-10) or Arizona (10-20, 4-14 Pac-10)
25 wins. A seventh straight Pac-10 regular-season championship. The No. 1 seed in this weekend's conference tournament. All impressive accomplishments in their own right, No. 7/8 Stanford (25-4, 17-1 Pac-10) now sets its focus on the postseason, which gets underway this weekend in San Jose. First up for the Cardinal is a quarterfinal matchup against the winner of Friday night's Oregon State (9-18, 4-14 Pac-10)/Arizona (10-20, 4-14 Pac-10) contest. Stanford enters the tourney riding a six-game winning streak.
KZSU 90.1 FM is your source for extensive coverage of Stanford women's basketball at this year's Pac-10 Tournament. All tournament games will be broadcast live, with Jake Kelman calling the action.
2007 Pac-10 Tournament Lineup
The 2007 Pac-10 Tournament begins Friday, Mar. 2, with a pair of play-in games. The two winners move on to Saturday, Mar. 3, which features four quarterfinal contests. The semifinals are slated for Sunday, Mar. 4, and the tournament final is Monday, Mar. 5.
Scouting Oregon State
Oregon State's 66-61 win at Washington State in the regular season finale represented the club's first win since Jan. 24. The Beavers (9-18, 4-14 Pac-10) experienced a recent eight-game losing streak, but five of those losses came by 10 points or less. Couple that with two hard-fought games against Stanford and Oregon State represents a challenging first round draw. Oregon State is shooting 42.9-percent from the field, 71.6-percent from the foul line while avearging 61.3 points per game. Look out for: Casey Nash (20.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 77.7-percent free throws), Judie Lomax (11.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 64.3-percent field goals) and Cedes Fox-Griffin (9.6 ppg, 174 assists, 49 steals).
Stanford All-Time vs. Oregon State
Stanford is 38-6 all-time against Oregon State and that includes a 14-game winning streak. The Cardinal swept this year's regular season series but the outcomes were closer than the final score indicated. On Jan. 20, Stanford claimed a 69-55 win at Maples Pavilion and followed that with a 70-55 triumph in Corvallis almost one month later. Oregon State's last win came back on Jan. 11, 2001: an 81-65 victory in Corvallis.
Who To Watch Against Oregon State
Oregon native Jillian Harmon apparently looks forward to facing Oregon State. In four games, Harmon is 19-29 from the field (65.5-percent) while averaging 5.5 rebounds per game. Brooke Smith has been even more impressive, making 42-62 (67.7-percent) in six games while pulling down 6.3 rebounds. Jayne Appel (16-27 in two games) and Kristen Newlin (24-38, 6.8 rebounds per game) have also enjoyed success against the Beavers.
Arizona enters the Pac-10 Tournament with a 10-20 overall record and a 4-14 mark in conference play. The Wildcats dropped four of their last seven games to close out the year, although a 59-54 defeat to Arizona State in the regular season finale was a promising result. Arizona is 6-9 at home, 3-10 on the road and 1-1 on neutral courts. The Wildcats have been outscored by a margin of 4.9 per game, shoot 39.8-percent from the field and average 18.0 turnovers per game. Don't forget to watch: Joy Hollingsworth (16.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Ashley Whisonant (11.3 ppg, 108 assists) and Amina Njonkou (8.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 46.8-percent field goals).
Stanford All-Time vs. Arizona
Stanford owns a 44-12 record against Arizona in the all-time series. The Cardinal has won the last eight meetings, with seven of those coming by double-digit margins. Stanford routed Arizona 86-58 at home on Dec. 28 before surviving an 86-76 test in Tucson on Jan. 25. Arizona's last win was an 88-83 home triumph back on Feb. 5, 2004.
Who To Watch Against Arizona
Brooke Smith has torched the Wildcats in eight career games, making 46-76 chances for a 60.5 field-goal percentage. That also includes averages of 7.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Kristen Newlin has made 26-48 tries from the field in nine contests. Two freshmen enjoyed their debuts against Arizona: Jayne Appel (15-17 from the field in two games) and Michelle Harrison (5-11 from the field in two contests).
Stanford All-Time In Pac-10 Tournament
Stanford owns a 13-2 all-time record in Pac-10 Tournament games. In the five-year history of the event, the Cardinal has been crowned champions three times (2003, 2004 and 2005). Even more impressive, Stanford has locked up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament every season. Last year, UCLA defeated Stanford 85-76 in overtime to capture the tournament title and NCAA automatic bid. The inaugural tourney took place in 2002, with Arizona State claiming the hardware with a 70-63 win over Stanford. Looking for a possible opponent? It's usually the Bruins, who the Cardinal has squared off against four of the five years. The only way UCLA and Stanford would match up this year is for both to reach the final.
Cardinal Well-Represented On All Pac-10 Squad
Jayne Appel was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, highlighting a league-best five selections for Stanford as the 2006-07 Pac-10 women's basketball honors were announced on Mar. 1. Appel, who also garnered All Pac-10 Honorable Mention accolades, was joined on the five-member All-Freshman Team by teammate JJ Hones. Appel, who ranks third on the Cardinal in scoring and rebounding, becomes the sixth Cardinal player to earn the honor and the fourth in the last eight years. Stanford was also represented on the All Pac-10 Team, as senior Brooke Smith and junior Candice Wiggins strengthened their case for All-America status by being named to the squad for the third consecutive year. Wiggins had earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in each of her first two seasons.
One To Match, Five To 30 And Nine To Tie Mark
Stanford enters the postseason at 25-4 overall and with some realistic benchmarks in sight. The Cardinal's next victory would match last year's win total of 26. Five more victories, which would likely include a Pac-10 Tournament title and Sweet 16 appearance, would represent the sixth 30-win season in school history. And nine more victories would give Stanford its third national title, while tying the program's all-time win mark of 34.
Stanford secured its seventh consecutive Pac-10 regular season championship with a 56-53 win over USC on Feb. 25. This time around the Cardinal accomplished the feat with a 17-1 record, one of five one-loss conference campaigns in program history. Stanford, 8-1 at home and 9-0 on the road in 18 Pac-10 contests, won 12 games by double-digits and averaged a +13.9 margin of victory for the year. Stanford has now captured 16 championships in 21 Pac-10 seasons overall.
There is a chance that two-time All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year Candice Wiggins will be unavailable for one or more games during the Pac-10 Tournament. Wiggins, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury, has missed five games this year and two in a row. That will not be enough to slow down Stanford, which is now 5-0 in games without Wiggins. In those contests, the Cardinal has defeated its opponents by an average of 9.4 points and is scoring 62.8 points per game.
Stanford In The Pac-10 Rankings
Stanford is the overall Pac-10 leader in the following categories: points per game allowed (57.1), field-goal percentage defense (34.6), rebounds per game (42.7), rebounding margin (+7.0), assist/turnover ratio (1.2) and defensive rebounds (851). Individually, Candice Wiggins owns the best three-point field goal average (2.54 per game), Jayne Appel has blocked the most shots (53) and JJ Hones sports the best assist/turnover ratio (2.81).
It All Starts With Ball Security
Just like several 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 ranks tops in the Pac-10. Stanford is averaging 17.9 assists per game and has dished out at least 20 helpers in a game on nine different occasions. And Stanford is taking care of the basketball, averaging the fewest amount of turnovers (15.0) in the Pac-10. Five different players have totaled at least 60 assists so far this year.
17-Game Winning Streak Boosts Cardinal
A 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.
Cardinal Finds Scoring Balance...
Candice Wiggins (16.3 ppg), Brooke Smith (13.9) and Jayne Appel (13.5) 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 (led by Brooke Smith's 25) and seven players have earned team-high scoring honors (led by Jayne Appel's 11).
...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 57.1 points per game while holding 22 opponents to 60 points or less. Opponents are shooting only 34.6-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 perhaps the deepest in the entire country. Senior Brooke Smith ranks second on the squad in scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg), leads the club in assists (101) and has scored in double-figures 25 times. Fellow senior Kristen Newlin is shooting 53.9-percent while averaging 7.4 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game. Newlin also has five double-doubles to her credit. And don't forget about freshman Jayne Appel, who ranks third in scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg) while leading the squad with 53 blocks and a 54.1 shooting percentage.
Wiggins Leading The Cardinal
Despite not being able to play at full strength all year long due to injury, junior Candice Wiggins remains one of the most dangerous players in the nation. Wiggins leads the Cardinal in scoring (16.3 ppg) and three-pointers (61). A 45.3-percent shooter from the field, Wiggins also ranks third in assists (84) and is pulling down 4.2 rebounds per game. She has scored in double-figures in 20 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 participated in 24 of the team's 29 games, making 23 starts.
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. Not so much. At Tennessee, Appel led the Cardinal with 23 points on 10-17 shooting to match five rebounds and five blocks. Two days later at Georgia, she tallied 16 points and nine boards. Since then she has been just as solid, averaging 13.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while leading the club with 53 blocks. Appel has scored in double-digits 19 times with three double-doubles. How about her February? In eight games last month, she averaged 15. 8 points and 10.3 rebounds.
With starting point guard JJ Hones out for the year, the Cardinal is looking for someone to step in as the floor general. Enter freshman Melanie Murphy, who made her first career start at Oregon State on Feb. 15 after 22 appearances as a reserve. She contributed immediately down the stretch, averaging 7.6 points and 6.8 assists in Stanford's last five games. Murphy, who has recorded 62 assists in limited court time, poured in a season-best 11 points against Washington on Feb. 10 and dished out a season-high 10 assists in Stanford's win over USC on Feb. 25.
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 (7.9 ppg), rebounding (5.1 rpg) and assists (63), third in steals (33) while shooting fourth 42.3-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.
Hones Out For Season, But Up For Award
Freshman point guard JJ Hones is out for the season due to an ACL tear in her left knee, suffering the injury in a drive to the basket 45 seconds into Stanford's 72-57 loss to Cal on Feb. 4. Hones started 20 contests, averaging 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game while ranking second on the club in triples. Hones dished out 90 assists while committing only 32 turnovers, translating into an outstanding 2.81 ratio that still leads the Pac-10. Just how much of an impact did the rookie make in a short time? Hones has been named one of 11 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the nation's top collegiate point guard. The award is based on floor leadership, playmaking and ball-handling skills.
Wiggins, Newlin, Smith Climb Rankings
Candice Wiggins, Kristen Newlin and Brooke Smith continue to climb the rankings in the Stanford record books. Wiggins ranks fifth in school history in points scored at 1,742. She is also seventh all-time with 187 three-pointers. Newlin ranks second all-time in blocked shots with 155 and seventh in rebounds with 741. Brooke Smith is now fourth in blocks with 126 and ninth in rebounds with 664.