Second-Ranked Stanford Heads To Southern California
Jan. 2, 2008
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (12-1, 2-0 Pac-10)
- vs. -
UCLA Bruins (6-7, 1-1 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 2/2 Stanford women's basketball team embarks on its first road trip of the New Year and the Pac-10 season, heading to Southern California this weekend. The Cardinal visit the UCLA Bruins Friday night, Jan. 4 for a 7 p.m. contest before wrapping up the trip against the USC Women of Troy Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Fans can hear both of this weekend's contests live on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with Jeremy Stone calling the action, filling in for Jake Kelman.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford closed out a perfect month of December and successfully opened Pac-10 play last week, routing Washington State and Washington by the respective scores of 105-47 and 77-42. The victories gave the Cardinal a 6-0 record for the month, marking the second straight year in which Stanford posted an unblemished December record. The Cardinal also began its road to an eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title in winning fashion. All healthy players saw action in the two blowout wins, as freshmen Kayla Pedersen (15.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg last week) and Jeanette Pohlen, in particular, (17.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg last week, including season-high 20 points against Washington) helped lead the charge.
The Bruins (6-7, 1-1) head into the weekend after splitting its first two Pac-10 contests. UCLA opened conference play last Friday with a tough 62-59 loss at Arizona State, but bounced back Sunday afternoon to defeat Arizona, 68-59 in Tucson. The Bruins, helmed by Kathy Olivier in her 15th year, are paced on the court by senior forward Lindsey Pluimer (13.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and freshman forward Nina Earl (11.2 ppg, 50.9 shooting pct.).
All-Time Against UCLA
While the Cardinal lead the all-time series 38-21 over the Bruins, and have captured 16 of the past 18 encounters, the schools have split the past four meetings. UCLA captured two of three total meetings in 2005-06, but the Cardinal bounced back to sweep the Bruins last season.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Stanford remained No. 2 in both national polls for the second week in a row Monday and Tuesday. The No. 2 ranking is Stanford's highest since being ranked No. 1 for two weeks (March 7-21) near the end of the 2004-2005 season.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal found itself in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of Dec. 16, including: fewest turnovers per game (13.6 - fifth), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16 - eighth), scoring offense (74.7 - T-22nd), rebounding margin (+9.2 - 24th), scoring margin (+16.3 - 25th), and opponents' FG percentage (35.3% - 42nd). Individually, Jayne Appel's 2.2 blocks per game were tied for 37th in the nation, and her 54.3 FG percentage stood 50th. Candice Wiggins, meanwhile, was tied for 31st with her 88.9% success rate at the free-throw line. The NCAA did not update stats last week and will come out with new national statistics again on Jan. 4.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the games of Dec. 30, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (76.9 ppg), scoring margin (+20.2), free-throw percentage (73.9%), blocked shots (54 - 4.15 per game), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19). The Cardinal also sits second in opponents' points per game (56.7 ppg), FG percentage (45.5%), opponents' FG percentage (35.0%), rebounding (43.9 rpg), rebounding margin (+10.1), assists (16.62 apg), and turnover margin (+3.15). Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the conference in free-throw percentage (85.5%), is second in scoring (17.6 ppg), and fourth in steals (2.31 per game). Jayne Appel leads the loop in blocks (28 - 2.15 per game), is third in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and field-goal percentage (53.1%), and fourth in scoring (15.2 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is second in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and tied for seventh in scoring (13.0 ppg).
The 700 Club
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer became just the seventh member of the '700 Club' on Dec. 28, earning career win No. 700 with the 105-47 victory over Washington State. Of the seven members, VanDerveer is the second-fastest to have reached 700 wins, needing just 885 games to accomplish the feat. Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt was the fastest, reaching 700 wins in 847 total games. Following the win over the Cougars, VanDerveer was feted by the Maples Pavilion crowd, as a video tribute to her career was played and Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a commemorative basketball.
Leaving No Doubt
Stanford put the finishing touches on a 6-0 December with routs of Washington State (105-47) and Washington (77-42) last week. The decisive victories not only secured a 2-0 start to Pac-10 play, but also solidified the Cardinal's air of dominance this season. With the routs coming by a combined total of 93 points, they increased Stanford's average margin of victory to a Pac-10-leading +20.2 points. Last week's wins also marked the fifth and sixth times this season that Stanford has won a contest by more than 20 points.
Eight Won't Be Enough
Last week's victories over Washington State and Washington got Stanford's quest for an eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title off to the right start. The wins marked the second season in a row, but just the second time in the last four years, that the Cardinal had opened up the Pac-10 season with an opening weekend sweep.
Two of Stanford's talented freshmen played integral roles in the team's Pac-10 opening-weekend sweep, as forward Kayla Pedersen and guard Jeanette Pohlen were nothing but money from the field. Pedersen, one of the top freshman players in the nation, averaged 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds over the two wins, most notably posting her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds Sunday against Washington. Pohlen, meanwhile, averaged 17.0 points and 5.5 rebounds and shot a combined 12-for-19 (63.2%) from the field over the two wins, including a 5-for-9 (55.6%) showing from beyond the arc.
Hitting The Century Mark Again
The Cardinal had a scoring party in last Friday night's blowout of Washington State, as all 10 participating players registered points to help the team score a season-high 105. The 105 points also marked the second time this season that the Cardinal have reached the century mark (the first was on Opening Night, a 11-44 win at Yale), and just the third time in the new millenium that the Cardinal have twice scored at least 100 points in a game.
Money Money Money!
The Cardinal put on a shooting clinic last weekend, hitting just over half of its field goal attempts (66-130 - 50.8%) in the two games against Washington State and Washington. Friday night against the Cougars, the Cardinal shot a combined 56.9% (41-for-72), as seven of the eight players who had a minimum of five attempts shot at least 50%. Those shooting performances play a major role in Stanford currently sitting second in the Pac-10 with a 45.5% success rate from the field, while two players, Jayne Appel (53.1% - fourth) and Kayla Pedersen (49.2% - eighth) are in the individual top 10.
12 By The New Year
Stanford's 12-1 start to this season marks the team's best start since the 2002-03 season, and only the third time in the eight seasons of the new millenium that the Cardinal have won 12 of its first 13. Additionally, the 12 wins by the New Year this season marks the first time Stanford had accomplished the feat since 2001-02. That year, the Cardinal went 28-1 in the regular season, and went 30-1 before losing again, 70-63 to Arizona State in the title game of the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament. In 2002-03, Stanford started 15-1, with the only loss being a 71-56 setback at 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 career records in the Stanford women's basketball annals. Currently, Wiggins is already the all-time Stanford leader with a career mark of 18.7 points per game, and now stands third with 2,069 career points. With 35 points in the Dec. 16 win over Baylor, Wiggins became the fifth player in Stanford history to score 2,000 career points, and needs just 147 more points to take over the top spot from all-time scoring leader Kate Starbird (2,215 points). Moving beyond the arc, Wiggins hit her 211th and 212th career three-pointers against Connecticut on Nov. 22, becoming the new all-time leader and breaking the previous record of 210 held by Vanessa Nygaard. Currently, she has 230 threes in her career. Additionally, Wiggins on Dec. 18 at New Mexico passed Sebnem Kimyacioglu's all-time mark of 549 career three-point attempts, and currently holds the mark with 569 career attempts. Finally, at the charity stripe, Wiggins is third all-time with her 443 career free throws, and currently sits third on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.8% success rate, just one and a half percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%.
Streaking In December
Sunday's win over Washington State not only extended Stanford's current winning streak to nine games, but it also extended the Cardinal's December winning streak. Dating back to a 77-56 win at home over USC on Dec. 30, 2005, Stanford has now won 13 consecutive December contests. Last season, the Cardinal posted a perfect 6-0 record in the final month of the calendar year, and this season again went 6-0 to post a second straight perfect December.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 292-32 (.901) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 179-12 (.937) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 89 of its last 96 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 nine straight wins in response. Discounting last year's season-ending loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal responded to its 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.
There's No Place Like Home
Nov. 28's regular-season home opener against San Francisco opened up a stretch which saw Stanford play six of its next seven games at home and subsequently go 7-0 through the end of the 2007 calendar year. 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.
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.
They Teach Tenacity
Head coach Tara VanDerveer and her players are quick to point to a pair of former Cardinal stars when the subject comes to the team's aggressive defense, which limits opponents to 56.7 points a game and a shooting percentage of 35.0%. Assistant coaches Bobbie Kelsey and Kate Paye, members of the successful Cardinal teams of the early to mid-'90s, bring a hard-nosed, in-your-face toughness to the defensive improvement of the Cardinal.