No. 7/8 Stanford Opens New Season Friday At Yale
Nov. 6, 2007
No. 7/8 Stanford Cardinal (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Yale Bulldogs (0-0, 0-0 Ivy league)
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's 2007-08 campaign officially begins Friday, Nov. 9, with a 1 p.m. Pacific contest at Yale. Friday's meeting with the Bulldogs will be only the second all-time between the two schools, and the first since a 75-61 Stanford victory at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 11, 1979. Friday's contest can be heard live on KZSU 90.1 FM, with play-by-play man Jake Kelman on the call.
Building Off Of Last Year's Success
Stanford finished 29-5 overall and claimed its seventh consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title with a 17-1 mark last year, in addition to capturing its fourth Pac-10 Tournament title. The Cardinal also reached the NCAA Tournament for the 20th year in a row, reaching the Round of 32. Nine letterwinners, including three-time Kodak/WBCA All-American Candice Wiggins and 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Jayne Appel, return this season along with four highly-decorated newcomers to help the Cardinal make a run for the Final Four in Tampa.
The Yale Bulldogs are coming off of a 12-16 season in 2006-07. Despite the appearance of the record, the Bulldogs actually made the ninth-best improvement in Division I last season, improving from a 2005-06 mark of 3-24. Helmed by head coach Chris Gobrecht in her second season at Yale, the Bulldogs will be led by team captain and guard Stephanie Marciano. Last year, Marciano started all 28 games, and led the Ivy League in assists/turnover ratio (1.30) and averaged 11.1 points a game in 14 Ivy League contests.
Stanford All-Time In Season Openers
Stanford is 21-11 all-time in season openers and currently sports a six-game winning streak in such games. Nov. 9's game at Yale marks the 11th time in the last 14 years that the Cardinal has opened its season on the road, and the fifth time in that same span that the team starts its season east of the Mississippi River. Since the start of this stretch, the 1993-94 season, Stanford is 5-5 in its season openers on the road. The Cardinal has not dropped a season opener since a 75-64 loss at Saint Mary's on Nov. 17, 2000.
As If They'd Never Been Away
Stanford saw its first action on the court last Saturday, Nov. 3, as the team rolled to a 95-44 exhibition victory over the Chico State Wildcats. Five Cardinal players scored in double-figures, led by Jillian Harmon's 18 points (on 8-for-12 shooting) and 11 rebounds, and freshman post Kayla Pedersen's double-double of 13 points and 10 boards. Fellow freshman Jeanette Pohlen had a successful debut, scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds, while Morgan Clyburn had six blocks and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude returned to the court after missing last year due to a knee injury.
The Choice In The Pac-10...again
For the eighth year in a row, seven-time defending conference champion Stanford has been voted as the favorite to win the 2007-08 Pac-10 women's basketball title, according to both the preseason coaches and media poll. The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll, tallying 79 points overall, and 17 of 18 top votes in the media poll, good for 179 points. Arizona State was picked as the runner-up in each poll.
The honors have already begun rolling in for a pair of Cardinal players in 2007-08, as senior guard Candice Wiggins and sophomore forward/center Jayne Appel have been named to various preseason teams and award lists. Both players were named to the Preseason All-Pac-10 Team, as well as to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the prestigious Wooden Award. Wiggins, a three-time Kodak and Associated Press All-American, was also named to the AP's Preseason All-America team as well.
Cardinal Ready For Its Close-Up On National TV
Hoop fans around the nation will be able to catch the Cardinal on the tube as Stanford is scheduled to have at least eight of its games televised nationally, starting with its Nov. 11 battle against No. 3/3 Rutgers at 5 p.m. Pacific on ESPN. Additionally, seven more games will be televised on Fox Sports Net, including Nov. 22 against No. 2/2 Connecticut at the Paradise Jam, and Dec. 22 at home against No. 1/1 Tennessee.
Climbing To The Top Of The Record Books
Heading into the 2007-08 season, senior guard Candice Wiggins stands on the brink of establishing multiple new career records in the Stanford women's basketball annals. Currently, Wiggins is already the all-time Stanford leader with a career mark of 18.8 points per game, and stands fifth with 1,842 career points. Besides being only 158 points away from the 2,000-point mark, Wiggins needs to score 374 points to take over the top spot from all-time scoring leader Kate Starbird (2,215 points). Moving beyond the arc, Wiggins' career total of 208 three-pointers is tied for second place with Kelley Suminski, and with only three more successful treys this year, she will take over the top spot from all-time leader Vanessa Nygaard. Additionally, with 49 more three-point attempts this season, Wiggins, who enters the season with 501, will pass Sebnem Kimyacioglu's all-time leading mark of 549 three-point attempts. Finally, Wiggins enters the season fourth on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.3% success rate, just two percentage points behind Suminski's top mark of 84.3%.
Keeping The Momentum Going
Another returner that brings an impressive collegiate resume with her is sophomore forward/center Jayne Appel. The reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, as well as an All-Pac-10 honorable mention and Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection, Appel was third on the team in 2006-07 with 13.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Pleasant Hill native also set the school single-season record with 61 blocks last year, and posted five double-doubles, demonstrating her ability to affect a game at both ends of the court.
Bring the Wheelbarrow!
There are a number of decorated returners for the Cardinal in 2007-08, highlighted by three-time Kodak/WBCA All-American Candice Wiggins. Wiggins, a native of San Diego, was also named to the Associated Press All-America Second Team for the third straight time last season, as well as being named a finalist for the Wooden Award, Wade Trophy, and Naismith Trophy. Additionally, Wiggins was named to the All-Pac-10 Team and is a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Rising To The Occasion
Another member of the Cardinal who will be expected to build upon her strong 2006-07 season is junior forward Jillian Harmon. While starting 31 of the 34 contests she appeared in last year, Harmon was fourth on the team with 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, and, with exactly 1,000 minutes played, was only one of two Cardinal players (Brooke Smith was the other, with 1,106 minutes played) to reach the 1,000-minute mark. She also was a force in Pac-10 play, averaging 5.3 rebounds a game while starting all 18 contests and playing 31.6 minutes a game, second-most on the team.
One position where the Cardinal definitely have a glut of experience is at guard. With three-time All-American Candice Wiggins leading the way, head coach Tara VanDerveer has the luxury of being able to plug any one of four returners and two newcomers into the backcourt. The returning veterans consist of sophomores Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who redshirted last season due to a knee injury, JJ Hones, Melanie Murphy, and senior Cissy Pierce, who have 132 collegiate games under their collective belt. The newcomers, freshmen Hannah Donaghe and Jeannette Pohlen, each have impressive prep resumes to offer, as well.
Stanford's four newcomers boast impressive resumes, as Ashley Cimino, Hannah Donaghe, Kayla Pedersen, and Jeannette Pohlen bring punch to the roster. Cimino, Pedersen, and Pohlen were all named Gatorade Players of the Year as seniors last year, with Cimino being named Ms. Maine and Pohlen Ms. California Basketball. In addition, Donaghe is a two-time All-CIF Southern Section pick.
Returning Some Serious Production
With the return of nine letterwinners, the Cardinal are blessed to have a major portion of last year's production back in 2007-08. The Cardinal return 1,654 of last season's 2,425 points, or just over two-thirds of the 2006-07 total. The amount of returning scoring production should point to a significant probabbility that Stanford will once again be able to score consistently and force opponents to play catch-up a lot this season.
Gotta Stay Healthy
No matter how much talent is on any given roster, a team must stay as healthy as possible to give itself the best chance for a national title. So far this preseason, Stanford only has a few nicks of their own. Sophomore guards Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and JJ Hones are both returning from torn ACLs that either wiped out the entirety of last season (Gold-Onwude), or cut short a promising campaign (Hones). Gold-Onwude played started at poitn guard and played 28 minutes in the exhibition against Chico State, scoring 11 poitns, while Hones is cleared to play, but will likely not debut for another 1-2 weeks. Meanwhile, the only other injury to note is a back injury to freshman Ashley Cimino that has limited her practice time.
Quick Glance At The Schedule
Trips to New England as well as to the Carribean and 13 opponents that participated in postseason play last year highlight Stanford's 2007-08 schedule. Stanford will play at least 13 home games at Maples Pavilion, which should be welcome news for a Cardinal club that has won 83 of its last 90 games at home while posting an impressive 15-3 record in the arena last year. Once again, the Cardinal will go to work against a schedule filled with traditional powerhouses and programs on the rise. In addition to the non-conference challenges, Stanford will renew acquaintances with its Pac-10 rivals, which include three teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season, and one that reached the WNIT. But as always, the Cardinal are more than ready to meet the challenges of their schedule.
Cardinal, White, And Blue?
This summer was a busy one on the international level for Stanford standouts Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel. Wiggins saw action for three different USA Basketball squads from July to September, starting her 'summer tour' with the U.S. Under-21 team at the Under-21 World Championships in Russia where she averaged 13.1 points a game in leading the U.S. to the gold medal. From there, she joined Stanford teammate Jayne Appel on the U.S. Pan-American Games team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the duo led the USA to another gold medal. Wiggins concluded her summer by being invited to the USA Basketball senior national team camp prior to the Tournament of the Americas, where she made her senior international debut in a pair of exhibition wins over Australia.
Bringing In More International Experience
Another Cardinal player that has already earned some experience on the international level is freshman forward Kayla Pedersen. In 2006, the Fountain Hills, Ariz. native was named to the U18 squad that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. In that tournament, Pedersen averaged 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds a game in just over 20 minutes of action per contest.
20 Wins Again
Last year's final record of 29-5 marked Stanford's 18th season with 20 or more wins. Stanford has won 20+ games in each of the last six seasons and seven of the last eight. The Cardinal last reached the 30-win plateau in 2004-05, as the club finished 32-3 while capturing the Pac-10 title and advancing to the Elite Eight.
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