No. 5/4 Stanford Returns To Action Sunday Against No. 10/10 Baylor
Dec. 11, 2007
No. 5/4 Stanford Cardinal (7-1, 0-0 Pac-10)
- vs. -
No. 10/10 Baylor Bears (6-0, 0-0 Big 12)
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 5/4 Stanford women's basketball team returns from its two-week hiatus of final exams to host the No. 10/10 Baylor Bears for a 2 p.m. battle at Maples Pavilion Sunday, Dec. 16. Stanford will then hit the road for the only time in December, visiting 'The Pit' to face the New Mexico Lobos Tuesday, Dec. 18, in a 6 p.m. contest. Dec. 16's contest against Baylor will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net, and both contests can be heard on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with play-by-play man Jake Kelman on the call.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford finally opened its regular-season home schedule two weeks ago, cruising to victories over the San Francisco Dons (96-61) and UC Davis Aggies (62-41). Candice Wiggins averaged 16.0 points over the two victories, while Jayne Appel averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. The big wins also provided an opportunity for other Cardinal players to shine, as freshman Hannah Donaghe made her Stanford debut with an 11-point performance against San Francisco, and fellow rookie Jeanette Pohlen scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds, and handed out five assists in the victory over the Dons. The defense also made its mark, holding UC Davis to an opponent's season-low 41 points.
The No. 10/10 Bears (6-0) roll into Maples Pavilion after hosting another Pac-10 school, Oregon, on Wednesday night, Dec. 12. Baylor already holds a victory over one ranked team in California, and boasts an average victory margin of 37.3 points through its first six wins. The Bears, 2005 national champions, are helmed by Kim Mulkey in her seventh season, and on the court are paced by the foursome of Jhasmin Player (14.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Angela Tisdale (14.3 ppg), Danielle Wilson (14.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg), and Rachel Allison (12.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
All-Time Against Baylor
The Dec. 16 contest between Stanford and Baylor will be only the second all-time meeting of the two schools. Baylor was victorious in the only previous meeting, capturing a 63-59 victory on Dec. 2, 1984.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Stanford, ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll last week, remained in the AP's No. 5 spot but improved two spots to No. 4 in the coaches' poll. The No. 4 ranking matches Stanford's highest of the season, last achieved in the Nov. 19 polls.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal finds itself in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of Dec. 9, including: fewest turnovers per game (14.0 - 10th), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.07 - 15th), rebounding margin (+9.3 - T-25th), scoring margin (+15.4 - 31st), scoring offense (73.1 - 33rd), and opponents' FG percentage (35.2% - 41st). Individually, Jayne Appel's 2.5 blocks per game rank 28th in the nation, and her 55.6 FG percentage stands 40th. Candice Wiggins, meanwhile, is tied for 20th with her 92.9% success rate at the free-throw line.
Countdown To 700
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer is closing in on yet another career milestone this month, needing only four more wins to reach 700 for her illustrious career. Once VanDerveer has victory No. 700 in the bag, she will become just the seventh Division I women's basketball head coach to reach that mark. Currently, four of the six members of the '700 Club' are still among the active coaching ranks: Tennessee's Pat Summitt (954 wins through Dec. 11, 2007), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (783 wins), North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell (761 wins), and N.C. State's Kay Yow (716 wins).
Just Cruisin' By
Stanford's strong performances in a pair of blowout wins two weeks ago allowed for the team to head comfortably into the two-week break from action. The Cardinal reached the 90-point mark for the second time this season in the 96-61 win over San Francisco, while the defense took the stage in the next contest, holding UC Davis to a season-low 41 points in the 62-41 decision. The routs marked the second and third times in eight games this season that Stanford has defeated an opponent by 20 or more points.
Against Ranked Teams
Sunday afternoon's contest against No. 10/10 Baylor will be Stanford's third meeting with a ranked team of the season. So far in 2007-08, the Cardinal has split it's previous two contests against ranked competition, defeating then-No. 3/3 Rutgers, 60-58 in Piscataway on Nov. 11, and falling 66-54 to No. 2/2 Connecticut Thanksgiving Night at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Currently, the Cardinal still have five games against three ranked teams (No. 1/1 Tennessee, No. 18/19 Arizona State, and No. 11/12 California) remaining on the schedule.
There's No Place Like Home
Nov. 28's regular-season home opener against San Francisco opened up a stretch in which Stanford plays six of its next seven games at home through the end of the calendar year. The Cardinal are currently 2-0 in this stretch, with home dates against No. 10/10 Baylor (Dec. 16), No. 1/1 Tennessee (Dec. 22), Washington State (Dec. 28), and Washington (Dec. 30) along with a road date at New Mexico (Dec. 18) remaining. 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.
Making Points Scarce
Stanford's defense turned in another smothering effort Dec. 2 against UC Davis, holding the Aggies to just 41 points, a season low for opponents this year. In that contest, the Cardinal defenders harassed the Aggies to the tune of 25 turnovers, the most by a Stanford opponent in 2007-08, as well as only 16 field goals in the game for a 36.4% success rate from the floor. The win marked the second occasion this season that the Cardinal D has kept an opponent below the 50-point mark. On the year, only one opponent (Utah on Nov. 18) has broken the 70-point barrier, and the Utes needed two overtime periods to do that.
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 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 1,965 career points. Besides being only 35 points away from the 2,000-point mark, Wiggins needs to score 251 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 total to 212, becoming the new all-time leader and breaking the previous record of 210, held by Vanessa Nygaard. Currently, she has 218 threes in her career. Additionally, with 11 more three-point attempts this season, Wiggins, who is currently second on the all-time list with 539, 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 411 career free throws, and currently sits second on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 83.2% success rate, just over one percentage point behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%.
Sophomore center Jayne Appel continues to quietly excel in one of basketball's most refined arts: blocking shots. Through the first eight games of 2007-08, Appel has blocked a total of 20 shots to the tune of 2.50 per game, good for 24th in the nation through Dec. 9. Appel established herself as a shot-blocking force during her rookie year, blocking a total of 61 shots. With 81 career blocks heading into Sunday's contest against Baylor, Appel is well ahead of the pace to break Val Whiting's (1989-93) all-time career mark of 201 blocked shots.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 288-32 (.900) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 177-12 (.937) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 85 of its last 92 games at Maples. Stanford's last loss in Maples was on March 19, 2007 to Florida State, while the last home conference loss was on Feb. 4, 2007, when California posted a 72-57 victory over the Cardinal.
Stanford has rebounded nicely from its only loss of the season Thanksgiving night to Connecticut, reeling off four straight wins 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 from that hiccup with 10 consecutive wins.
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 in the season opener at Yale with a torn ACL and sprained MCL in her left knee, and sophomore point guard Melanie Murphy was also lost for the year with a torn ACL on Nov. 24 against Old Dominion at the Paradise Jam. Freshman Ashley Cimino (back) has not yet seen action this season, and remains out.
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.