No. 5 Stanford Opens NCAA Tourney With Idaho State
March 13, 2007
2007 NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND
No. 5/5 Stanford Cardinal (28-4, 17-1 Pac-10)
- VS. -
Idaho State Bengals (17-13, 11-5 Big Sky)
No. 5/5 Stanford (28-4, 17-1) opens NCAA Tournament play against Idaho State (17-13, 11-5 Big Sky) in a first round matchup on Saturday, Mar. 17, at 1:30 p.m. Stanford, the Pac-10 regular season and tournament champion, enters the postseason as one of the nation's hottest teams having lost just one game since the end of November. Winners of nine straight, the Cardinal also has the benefit of playing at home with first and second round action taking place at Maples Pavilion. Stanford was awarded a No. 2 seed in the Fresno Regional, which includes No. 1 Connecticut, No. 3 LSU and No. 4 Baylor.
KZSU 90.1 FM is your source for extensive coverage of Stanford women's basketball during the NCAA Tournament. The games will be broadcast live, with Jake Kelman and Andrew Shen calling the action. All tournament contests are also televised nationally on ESPN, with the crew of Beth Mowins (play-by-play), Jimmy Dykes (analyst) and Allen Hopkins (reporter) handling this weekend's action at Maples Pavilion.
NCAA Tournament First/Second Round Format
Stanford is one of eight teams playing at Maples Pavilion this weekend as NCAA Tournament first round action gets underway. Eight pre-determined national sites feature four games on the opening day, so Stanford enjoys the advantage of playing at home. Also appearing at Maples are the following: (7) Old Dominion vs. (10) Florida State, (5) Middle Tennessee State vs. (12) Gonzaga and (4) Ohio State vs. (13) Marist. Two teams will emerge from this weekend's action, advancing to separate regional sites.
Stanford vs. 2007 NCAA Tournament Teams
The Cardinal has squared off against six teams in the NCAA Tournament field, posting a 6-4 record. Stanford is 3-0 against Arizona State, 0-1 against BYU, 1-1 against California, 0-1 against Georgia, 0-1 against Tennessee and 2-0 against Washington.
Scouting Idaho State
Idaho State (17-13, 11-5 Big Sky) makes its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2001. The Bengals entered their conference tournament as the No. 2 seed, defeating Weber State and Northern Arizona to snag the automatic bid. Idaho State started the year 0-6, but won its final six games of the regular season and 10 of its final 11. Idaho State averages 80.2 points per game, shoots 44.2-percent from the field and 79.6-percent from the free throw line. But the Bengals also allow 75.1 points per game. Players to watch include: Natalie Doma (21.8 ppg, 12.2 rpg), Andrea Lightfoot (17.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Jeni Boesel (13.6 ppg, 141 assists). Head coach Jon Newlee is in his fifth year.
Stanford All-Time vs. Idaho State
Stanford and Idaho State will be meeting for the first time in women's basketball.
Stanford All-Time vs. Big Sky Conference
Stanford is 11-5 all-time against teams from the current Big Sky Conference. The Cardinal holds a winning mark against five teams: Northern Arizona (1-0), Weber State (2-0), Montana State (2-0), Portland State (1-0) and Eastern Washington (1-0). Stanford is 2-2 versus Montana and 2-3 against Sacramento State.
Stanford All-Time In NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 46-18 all-time record in NCAA Tournament competition and is making its 20th consecutive appearance and 21st overall. The Cardinal has advanced to the Elite Eight in each of the last three seasons, finishing one victory shy of its first Final Four trip since 1997. One of the most storied programs in NCAA history, Stanford has won two national championships, advanced to six Final Fours, 11 Elite Eights and 14 Sweet 16s. Last year, Stanford was edged by LSU 62-59 in the San Antonio Regional final after posting victories against Southeast Missouri State (72-45), Florida State (88-70) and Oklahoma (88-74) in the first three rounds.
Breaking Down The Seeding
Stanford is assigned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in school history. The last time the Cardinal was tabbed No. 2 came during the 2004-05 campaign, drawing No. 15 Santa Clara as a first round opponent in Fresno. Stanford reached the Elite Eight that season, falling to eventual national runner-up Michigan State. The Cardinal has been awarded the No. 2 seed seven times in program history (2007, 2005, 2002, 1995, 1994, 1991, 1989). Stanford was awarded a No. 3 seed in last year's tourney.
Pac-10 Participants In The NCAA Tournament
Four teams will represent the conference in this year's NCAA Tournament. In addition to Stanford, Pac-10 squads Arizona State, California and Washington all earned at-large bids. Last year proved to be historic, as the Pac-10 was represented by an all-time best six teams. Arizona State is a No. 3 seed and will face UC Riverside (Big West) in Los Angeles, California draws a No. 8 seed and squares off against Notre Dame (Big East) in Pittsburgh while Washington checks in at No. 11 and battles Iowa State (Big 12) in Minneapolis.
Thanks to its recent surge, Stanford is ranked No. 5 in the latest edition of both national polls. Stanford began the year with a consensus No. 4 preseason ranking in both polls. After a 2-3 start, the Cardinal dropped to No. 15 in both polls for its lowest ranking of the year. But a 17-game winning streak propelled Stanford back into the top-10 by mid-January and the club has been right around the mark ever since. Stanford's current No. 5 ranking is the club's highest since the preseason edition.
Two More For 30, Six To Tie The Mark
With the postseason now in full swing, Stanford stands at 28-4 overall with some realistic benchmarks in sight. Stanford's 62-55 victory over Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals on Mar. 3 matched last year's win total of 26. Two more victories would represent the seventh 30-win season in school history. Six more victories would give Stanford its third national title, while tying the program's all-time win mark of 34 established back in 1996-97.
Stanford Captures Fourth Pac-10 Tournament Title
Candice Wiggins scored a game-high 20 points and Jayne Appel posted 17 points and 15 rebounds for her fifth double-double as Stanford defeated Arizona State 62-55 on Mar. 5 in the Pac-10 Tournament title game. It was the fourth conference tournament championship for the Cardinal, which also claimed the hardware in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Despite holding a 20-point second-half lead, Stanford held off a late Arizona State attack and improved to 16-2 all-time in Pac-10 Tournament games. The Cardinal held a 45-32 edge in the rebounding department, made 18-22 free throws and placed four players in double-figure scoring. Stanford reached the final after routing USC 67-52 in the semfinals on Mar. 4, thanks to a dominating performance from Wiggins that featured 29 points along with a career-high and tournament-record eight three-pointers. In the quarterfinal round on Mar. 3, Stanford downed Arizona 65-55 with Wiggins scoring 16 points and Appel pouring in 18 points to match 13 rebounds in just 25 minutes off the bench. For her efforts, Wiggins picked up her second career Pac-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player award (also winning in 2005). Appel and Brooke Smith were also awarded spots on the Pac-10 All-Tournament team, giving Stanford three of the six roster spots.
VanDerveer Garners Regional Coach of the Year Honor
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer has been named the 2007 Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year. VanDerveer, along with the seven other regional winners, advance as finalists to the national level of selection. Also earning recognition were: Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (Region 1), Duke's Gail Goestenkors (2), Tennessee's Pat Summitt (3), Bowling Green's Curt Miller (4), Middle Tennessee State's Rick Insell (5), Purdue's Sharon Versyp (6) and Boise State's Gordy Presnell (7).
Appel Named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year; Smith, Wiggins Honored
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 fellow rookie 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.
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. Stanford has captured 16 championships in 21 Pac-10 seasons.
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 17.6 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 (14.9) in the Pac-10. Furthermore, 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 be key during the streak, as Stanford limited its foes to 55.8 points per game and 34-percent shooting from the field.
Cardinal Finds Scoring Balance...
Candice Wiggins (16.9 ppg), Brooke Smith (13.4) and Jayne Appel (13.4) 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 26) and seven players have earned team-high scoring honors (led by Jayne Appel's 12).
...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 56.8 points per game while holding 25 opponents to 60 points or less. Opponents are shooting only 34.5-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 might be the deepest in the entire country. Senior Brooke Smith is tied for second on the squad in scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg), leads the club in assists (115) and has scored in double-figures 26 times. Senior Kristen Newlin is shooting 52-percent while averaging 7.2 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game. Newlin also has six double-doubles to her credit. And don't forget about freshman Jayne Appel, who is tied with Smith for second in scoring (13.4 ppg) and ranks third in rebounding (7.4 rpg) while leading the team with 55 blocks and a 54.2 shooting percentage.
Wiggins Leading The Cardinal
Despite not being able to play at full strength all year long, junior Candice Wiggins remains one of the nation's best players. Wiggins leads the Cardinal in scoring (16.9 ppg) and three-pointers (75). A 46.2-percent shooter from the field, Wiggins ranks third in assists (88) while snagging 4.0 rebounds per game. She has scored in double-figures in 23 games. Also, Wiggins has scored at least 20 points in eight 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. Wiggins has participated in 27 of the team's 32 games, making 26 starts. She was named Most Outstanding Player at the Pac-10 Tournament, averaging 22.3 points per game while connecting on 14 of 25 three-point attempts.
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 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while leading the club with 55 blocks. Appel has scored in double-figures 21 times with five double-doubles. How about her February? In eight games last month, she averaged 15. 8 points and 10.3 rebounds. Now she is threatening the single-season school record of 58 blocked shots, established by Cori Enghusen in 2001-02.
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 of the regular season. Murphy, who has recorded 66 assists despite 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 (8.0 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg) and assists (70), third in steals (35) while shooting fourth 42.6-percent overall. Harmon has scored in double-figures in 10 games, including a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds at Fresno State on Jan. 2.
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 1,807. She is also now tied for fourth all-time with 201 three-pointers. Newlin ranks second all-time in blocked shots with 162 and sixth in rebounds with 765. Brooke Smith is now fourth in blocks with 126 and seventh in rebounds with 689.
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 was 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.