Wiggins Reigns Supreme and Cardinal Romp

Jan. 31, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Candice Wiggins noticed the signs all around Maples Pavilion and was reminded of the latest feat within her reach.

Then she went out and added another special accomplishment to her illustrious Stanford career Thursday night: all-time leading scorer.

Wiggins broke Kate Starbird's career school scoring record and finished with 18 points in 23 minutes, leading the seventh-ranked Cardinal past Southern California 77-51 for their sixth straight victory to avenge an earlier loss to the Trojans.

'It wasn't really on my mind until I was walking by the side where the people were sitting and there was a little poster '2,216 and counting,'' Wiggins said. 'I was hoping all these people don't leave for home unhappy.'

Wiggins entered the game needing 12 points to surpass Starbird's mark of 2,215, set from 1993-97. She was honored at center court, hugged by Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer and presented with the game ball moments after the final buzzer sounded, then smiled and waved to the fans as she said 'Thank you.'

Now, Wiggins -- a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year -- needs 192 points to tie Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 scoring record of 2,414.

'I just want to congratulate Candice. We've had tremendous players at Stanford and it's great for Candice that she's set the career scoring record,' said VanDerveer, whose mother Rita was in attendance. 'She's not only a great scorer, she's a great player. She doesn't get shook up. If she misses, she just believes she'll make the next one. She's used to scoring a lot. She likes to score.

'You leave her open and you're going to pay the price.'

Wiggins tied Starbird's mark when she converted the back end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 9:08 remaining in the first half, then broke it on a putback of a miss by Jeanette Pohlen at 8:21. The feat was announced and fans jumped to their feet, holding up placards that read '2,216 points and counting.'

Wiggins, coming off her third Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this season, has scored 2,222 total points for the Cardinal (18-3, 8-2 Pac-10). Stanford's senior star from San Diego shot 5-for-14 -- though five of her first seven points came at the free throw line.

'When she came to our place, we were excited because we, quote, held her to 17. She's a great player. She's right up there with anyone I've coached against,' USC coach Mark Trakh said. 'She's hard to stop because if you get out on her she'll blow by you and if you back off her she's going to shoot the 3.

'I would much rather sit in the stands and watch her play against somebody else. I'm going to be happy the day she graduates. It's going to be a day to celebrate.'

Jayne Appel added 18 points on 9-for-10 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds and Jillian Harmon scored 10 as the Cardinal pushed the ball at every opportunity to create easy baskets. Appel's putback with 11:49 left gave Stanford a 59-29 lead.

Brynn Cameron scored 16 points and Kari LaPlante added 12 for cold-shooting USC (13-8, 6-4), which went 36 percent from the floor and had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Camille LeNoir, who scored 21 points with five 3-pointers and the game-winning jumper in the first matchup, missed all seven of her field-goal tries and was held scoreless for the first time all season. She came into the contest as the team's second-leading scorer at 10.9 points per game.

Stanford lost 73-72 on Jan. 6 at USC and left Los Angeles having been swept by the Trojans and UCLA in the first weekend of Pac-10 play. The defeat at USC ended the Cardinal's 10-game winning streak in the series.

Next up for Stanford: another shot at UCLA on Saturday.

VanDerveer considered these two games at Maples Pavilion crucial for protecting their home floor and avenging those two losses. Stanford hasn't lost since being swept by the L.A. schools, and came into this week riding high after routing rival and now-No. 10 California 72-52 last weekend to preserve its chances for an eighth straight Pac-10 title.

'They came out harder than we did. In the beginning we were a little out of it,' Cameron said. 'I think all week they've been talking about coming back and beating the L.A. schools. Still, in that first half we could have played harder.'

The Cardinal shot only 2-for-12 from 3-point range, but made 17 of 24 free throws, held a 36-32 rebounding advantage and scored 32 points off USC's 29 turnovers. They also had five players with at least two assists.

The Trojans committed three of those turnovers in the first 2:54 and fell behind 9-4 before Trakh used a timeout to talk things over and try to slow Stanford's momentum. The Cardinal opened the game 4-for-14 but still shot 46 percent in the first half for a 44-21 lead at the break.

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