No. 6/5 Stanford Opens Home Slate This Week
Nov. 27, 2007
No. 6/5 Stanford Cardinal (5-1, 0-0 Pac-10)
- vs. -
San Francisco Dons (3-3, 0-0 WCC)
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 6/5 Stanford women's basketball team returns to the mainland to open up its regular-season home schedule this week. Stanford opens the week Wednesday night, hosting the San Francisco Dons in a 7 p.m. contest. The Cardinal will then host the UC Davis Aggies Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. before taking a two-week hiatus for finals. Both contests can be heard live on KZSU 90.1 FM, with play-by-play man Jake Kelman on the call.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford returned home after 10 days in the U.S. Virgin Islands, going 2-1 and securing third place in the Paradise Jam. The Cardinal suffered its first loss of the 2007-08 season Thanksgiving Night in the opening contest, ending up on the wrong end of a 66-54 decision against the No. 2/2 Connecticut Huskies. Saturday night, Stanford got back in the win column with a 69-61 win over Old Dominion before claiming third place in the six-team tournament Sunday with a 63-54 win over Temple. Candice Wiggins scored 22 points in Sunday's win while Jillian Harmon and Kayla Pedersen posted double-doubles in the wins. Pedersen scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Old Dominion, while Harmon scored 13 points to go with 10 rebounds against Temple.
Scouting San Francisco
The Dons (3-3) enter Wednesday's contest at the .500 mark after splitting a pair of contests against UMKC and Villanova at the Odwalla Classic last weekend. San Francisco has put in quite a bit of extra time already this season, with a three-OT game under its belt (101-96 win over Colorado State) and a 73-70 overtime loss to Villanova in its last outing. The Dons are led on the floor by the 18.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game of Dominique Carter, while the team also boasts two additional players averaging at least seven rebounds per game in Lisa Olden (7.2 rpg and 9.5 ppg) and Necolia Simmons (7.0 rpg and 10.0 ppg).
All-Time Against San Francisco
Wednesday night's contest will be the 29th all-time meeting between Stanford and San Francisco, and the first in three seasons. The Cardinal captured an 80-51 victory at War Memorial Gymnasium in the last meeting, on Dec. 12, 2004, and currently hold a 13-game winning streak in the series dating back to the 1984-85 season.
In The National Rankings
Stanford, ranked fourth in both national polls last week, dropped its first game of the year on Thanksgiving Night on a road trip which saw it go 3-1. The loss, despite coming to No. 2/2 Connecticut, still dropped the Cardinal in the national polls, as Stanford is now ranked sixth in the Associated Press poll and fifth in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Make Mine A Double
The Cardinal's two victories in the Paradise Jam were helped largely due to a pair of double-doubles posted by freshman forward Kayla Pedersen and junior forward Jillian Harmon. Pedersen posted her second double-double of the year Saturday, scoring a career-high 21 points (on 8-for-11 shooting) to go with 11 rebounds in the 69-61 win over Old Dominion. In the 63-54 win over Temple, Harmon racked up her first double-double of the year, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Junior forward Jillian Harmon gave further reason to believe that she has broken out of her recent slump from the floor with two big performances in Stanford's two Paradise Jam victories. Against Old Dominion, Harmon shot 6-for-11 from the floor for 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, and against Temple, she posted a 4-for-9 effort (including 5-for-5 from the free-throw line) for 13 points to go with 10 rebounds as she posted her first double-double of the season.
Stanford rebounded nicely from its only loss of the season last Thursday night, reeling off a 69-61 win over Old Dominion Saturday night, then collecting a 63-54 victory against Temple Sunday night in response. Discounting last season's season-ending loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal responded to their previous two losses of 2006-07 with lengthy winning streaks. After a 74-69 loss at No. 8/8 Georgia on Nov. 26, 2006, the Cardinal reeled off 17 wins in a row. That streak was broken by a 72-57 loss to No. 21/21 California on Feb. 4, 2007, but the Cardinal re-energized with 10 consecutive wins.
The Tropics Do Wonders
Since the 1992-93 season, Stanford had played in three preseason tournaments on a tropical island, all being the Rainbow Wahine Classic at the University of Hawaii. Over those nine contests, Stanford put together a record of 8-1, twice winning the tournament title. Now with the Paradise Jam from the U.S. Virgin Islands all wrapped up with a third-place finish, the Cardinal are now 10-2 in their last 12 games in the tropics.
The Home Opener...Finally!
Wednesday night's contest is also significant for being Stanford's first regular-season home game of the season. The Cardinal made a strong showing on the road in the first six games, posting a 5-1 record against some game competition. With the exception of the 2004-05 season, in which the Cardinal played its first two 'home' games at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center, the most games Stanford had played on the road prior to its home opener was five, in the 1987-88 season.
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 18.6 points per game, and stands fifth with 1,933 career points. Besides being only 67 points away from the 2,000-point mark, Wiggins needs to score 283 more points to take over the top spot from all-time scoring leader Kate Starbird (2,215 points). Moving beyond the arc, Wiggins, with two three-pointers against Connecticut on Nov. 22, brought her career three-pointer total to 212, becoming the new all-time leader and breaking the previous record of 210, held by Vanessa Nygaard. Additionally, with 24 more three-point attempts this season, Wiggins, who is currently third on the all-time list with 526, will pass Sebnem Kimyacioglu's all-time leading mark of 549 three-point attempts. Finally, at the charity stripe, Wiggins is third all-time with her 405 career free throws, and currently sits second on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 83.0% success rate, just under one and a half percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%.
Hustle & Bustle
While the start of the Christmas shopping season produces plenty of hustle and plenty of people boxing out in stores to calim the gotta-have-it item of the year, Cardinal freshman Jeanette Pohlen has proven that her hustle has benefitted Stanford on the basketball court. In just 15.5 minutes a game, Pohlen contributes 4.2 points a game, and in each of the team's past two wins, made a pair of thefts and even grabbed four rebounds against Temple last Sunday.
Free Throws = Free Points
The Cardinal have made teams pay for their fouls so far this season, boasting a collective 72.7% mark from the free-throw line through the first six games of the season. Highlighting this effort from the charity stripe are senior Candice Wiggins (33-for-36 - 91.7%), one of the best free-throw shooters in school history, and freshman Kayla Pedersen (19-for-24 - 79.2%).
All Eyes Turn To JJ
With sophomore point guard Melanie Murphy expected to miss some time with a kne injury, the Cardinal will turn to fellow sophomore JJ Hones to provide depth at the point guard position. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury last February, Hones averaged 3.91 assists per game and scored 4.5 points a gsme while running the offense to a 17-game winning streak.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 286-32 (.899) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 177-12 (.937) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 83 of its last 90 games at Maples. Stanford's last conference loss in Maples was on Feb. 4, 2007, when California posted a 72-57 victory over the Cardinal.
Keeping Their Cool
Minus its 56-point blowout win over Yale in the season opener, the Cardinal has proven that it has the collective maturity to keep its composure and pull out close games. Two of Stanford's wins, over Rutgers and Utah, have been decided either in the final seconds of regulation, or in overtime. Against Rutgers, the Cardinal fought tooth-and-nail, eventually getting a pair of free throws from Candice Wiggins with 0.1 left, and at Utah, Stanford used Melanie Murphy's three-pointer with 0.2 left to send the game into overtime, where it took two extra sessions to come away with the win.
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. Sophomore forward Michelle Harrison was lost for the year last weekend with a torn ACL and sprained MCL in her left knee at Yale. Freshmen Ashley Cimino (back) and Hannah Donaghe (hip), who have not yet seen action this season, remain out. Point guard Melanie Murphy (knee) will miss Wednesday's contest against San Francisco, and will undergo tests Tuesday night to determine the extent of her 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, and to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the prestigious Wooden Award. Wiggins, a three-time Kodak and Associated Press All-American, earned preseason All-America honors from the AP, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.