Seventh-Ranked Cardinal Go For Weekend Sweep Against UCLA
Feb. 1, 2008
No. 7/7 Stanford Cardinal (18-3, 8-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
UCLA Bruins (11-10, 6-4 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 7/7 Stanford women's basketball team closes out its second-to-last weekend homestand of the season Saturday afternoon, hosting the UCLA Bruins for a 2 p.m. contest. The Cardinal will be looking to earn full vindication over the only two Pac-10 teams to defeat it this season with a win, as it got halfway there with Thursday night's 77-51 win over USC. Saturday's contest will be available on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with play-by-play man Jake Kelman on the call.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford exacted a measure of revenge against the USC Women of Troy Thursday night, avenging its Jan. 6 defeat at USC with a 77-51 victory at Maples Pavilion. The spotlight, though, belonged to senior Candice Wiggins, who not only scored 18 points in the game, but also passed Stanford legend Kate Starbird's total of 2,215 career points to become the school's all-time leading scorer. Wiggins also broke a second school record in the contest, as her seven free throws gave her 482 for her career, taking over the school's top spot from Val Whiting (481). In the game, three more Cardinal players scored in double figures, as Jayne Appel continued her solid play with 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting to go with eight rebounds, and Jillian Harmon and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude added 10 points apiece.
The Bruins (11-10, 6-4 Pac-10) have won four of their last six contests, despite dropping the first leg of the weekend trip, 67-53 at California. Helmed by Kathy Olivier, UCLA is paced by the play of forward Lindsey Pluimer (14.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg), as well as the scoring of Nina Earl (9.8 ppg) and Darxia Morris (9.7 ppg).
All-Time Against UCLA
Stanford holds a 38-22 advantage in the all-time series against UCLA, but the Bruins have now won three of the last five meetings after its 69-56 win on Jan. 4. UCLA also holds the distinction of being the last team to sweep both regular-season meetings with the Cardinal, turning the trick in 1987-88. Similarly, UCLA is the last team to beat Stanford twice in the span of one season, capturing one regular season contest in 2005-06, then defeating the Cardinal 85-76 in the title game of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Stanford remained at No. 7 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll this week after its victory over No. 8/8 California.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal found itself in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of Jan. 27, including: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.26 - fourth), fewest turnovers per game (13.5 - fifth), scoring margin (+18.4 - eighth), assists per game (17.0 - 12th), scoring offense (75.7 - 15th), rebounding margin (+7.9 - 17th), FG percentage (45.9% - 19th), FG percentage defense (35.9% - T-27th), scoring defense (57.3 - T-38th), and blocks per game (91 - 4.55 - 47th). Individually, Jayne Appel's 57.3 FG percentage stood 17th in the nation and her 2.2 blocks per game were tied for 35th. Candice Wiggins stands 29th with 18.1 points per game.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the games of Jan. 31, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (75.7 ppg), scoring margin (+18.8), FG percentage (46.0%), blocked shots (95 - 4.52 per game), turnover margin (+4.05), assists per game (17.10), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24). The Cardinal also sits second in opponents' points per game (57.0 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (35.9%), rebounding (41.3 rpg), rebounding margin (+7.7), while the team is third in rebounding defense (33.6). Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the conference in scoring (18.1 ppg), is second in free-throw percentage (82.1%) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.66), and tied for third in steals (2.19 per game). Jayne Appel leads the loop in field-goal percentage (58.6%) and blocks (45 - 2.14 per game), is second rebounding (8.7 rpg), and fifth in scoring (15.4 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is third in rebounding (8.3 rpg).
Beware Falling Records
While the sky is far from falling in Stanford's 18-3 season thus far, what Cardinal fans should keep their eyes cast upwards for is the falling of school records. Senior Candice Wiggins, who already claimed the school's career three-pointers made and attempted records this season, added a few more to her collection in Thursday night's 77-51 win over USC. Needing only 12 points to surpass Kate Starbird's total of 2,215 career points and become Stanford's all-time leading scorer, Wiggins dropped 18 on the Women of Troy to take over the top spot. With her seven free throws on the night, Wiggins, who entered the game only six behind Val Whiting's all-time career mark of 481, brought her career haul to 482, becoming the new Stanford free throws leader.
Halfway To Retribution
Thursday's 77-51 victory over USC marked a successful start to Stanford's quest for revenge this weekend. Facing off against the only two Pac-10 schools to defeat it this season (USC and UCLA), the Cardinal came into this weekend hungry for a chance to redeem itself with a pair of big wins on its home court. Now, with USC out of the way, Stanford can prepare to avenge its only other loss during conference play this Saturday, and avoid being swept in the regular season by a Pac-10 foe, an event that last occurred in the 1987-88 season.
The Midas Touch
Stanford center Jayne Appel capped off a highly-successful month of January on Thursday, scoring 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting to go with eight rebounds. The performance followed a game against then-No. 8/8 California last Saturday, in which Appel came close to her first career triple-double, scoring nine points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and matching her career-high with seven assists. For the month, Appel averaged 15.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.63 assists, 2.00 blocks, and shot an astounding 69.0% from the floor (60-for-87).
Staying On Pace
Thursday's win over USC kept Stanford on pace in the chase for the Pac-10 regular-season title and the top seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. With an 8-2 mark through 10 conference games, the Cardinal are a game back of the Golden Bears, and tied with Arizona State. Yet the Cardinal hold wins over each squad, giving it the advantage in a tiebreaker scenario.
The Cardinal defense was its usual, chaos-causing selfin Thursday's win over USC, making 10 steals and creating a season-high 29 turnovers by the Women of Troy. JJ Hones and Kayla Pedersen led the way with three steals apiece in just 19 and 14 minutes of action, respectively.
Pulling Off The Trifecta
Senior guard Candice Wiggins took home her third U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this past Monday, following a game-best 28 points in No. 7/7 Stanford's 72-52 win over No. 8/8 California. Wiggins' effort included a perfect 14-for-14 showing from the free-throw line, equalling the Stanford single-game mark with 100.0% accuracy, and setting the new standard with 14 converted attempts in that perfect outing. In addition to these stats, Wiggins rounded out her superb outing with four rebounds, four assists, and three steals against the Golden Bears.
Providing Ample Support
The Cardinal got key contributions from another pair of players Thursday, as Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Jillian Harmon each scored 10 points to boost the Stanford offense. Harmon also passed out three assists and grabbed a pair of rebounds, while Gold-Onwude was in the zone, going 4-for-6 from the floor.
We're Ready For Your Closeup, Ms. Hones
Sophomore point guard JJ Hones set two new career highs in Saturday's victory over California: dropping four three-pointers in the game, and scoring her first postgame TV interview. With her 4-for-6 effort behind the arc, Hones scored a season-high 12 points while also handing out three assists against only one turnover. That effort earned her her first career postgame chat with FSN color commentator Mary Murphy.
Controlling The Boards
One major reason behind Stanford's success this season is the dominance of the glass on both sides of the court by the Cardinal. Through 21 games this season, the Cardinal has out-rebounded its opponent in 17 of those, and posted a 15-2 record in those 17 games. The last two games, just to point out a couple, have continued the trend, as Stanford beat California and USC on the boards in each victory. Led by the rebounding of Jayne Appel (8.7 rpg), Kayla Pedersen (8.3 rpg), and Jillian Harmon (6.0 rpg), the Cardinal have a talented trio to provide a key edge in any contest.
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 on Jan. 31, 2008, against USC, she passed Kate Starbird's all-time leading total of 2,215 points to become Stanford's all-time leading scorer. Wiggins' 2,222 career points are also fifth all-time on the Pac-10 scoring list. 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 244 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 622 career attempts. At the charity stripe, Wiggins is third all-time with her 482 career free throws, and currently sits fourth on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.3% success rate, just two percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%. Finally, on the defensive end, Wiggins' 243 career steals through Jan. 31 leaves her fifth on Stanford's all-time list, just 37 away from tying Sonja Henning's leading tally of 280.
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.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 296-32 (.902) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 183-12 (.939) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 93 of its last 100 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.
Certainly Not Gracious Hosts
Nov. 28's regular-season home opener against San Francisco began what Stanford hopes will become its first undefeated home season since going 11-0 at Maples in 2004-05. Since posting undefeated home marks in each of the three seasons from 1994-97, the Cardinal has only posted one unblemished mark at home (2004-05). Currently, Stanford is 10-0 at home in 2007-08, and has won nine of those games by at least 20 points. Through last Saturday's win over California, Stanford boasts an average margin of victory of 29.3 points in its home games this season.
Stanford has a tendency to rebound nicely from losses, even ones that come back-to-back. six wins in a row following Jan. 6's loss at USC mark the start of a good recovery from the sweep in Los Angeles. Following its first loss of this season on Thanksgiving night to Connecticut, Stanford reeled 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 losses at No. 4/4 Tennessee and No. 8/8 Georgia on Nov. 24 & 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.
To Be The Best, You've Got To Beat The Best
Saturday's 72-52 win over No. 8/8 California marked the fourth Top-10 team that Stanford has defeated this year. The Cardinal has posted a 4-1 mark against the five Top-10 teams it has met in 2007-08, having previously (before the win over California) defeated then-No. 1/1 Tennessee (Dec. 22), No. 3/3 Rutgers (Nov. 11), and No. 10/10 Baylor (Dec. 16), while losing only to No. 2/2 Connecticut (Nov. 22).
Paying Back The Native State
Oregon native Jillian Harmon and Arizona native Kayla Pedersen turned in a solid weekends against the Pac-10 schools of their home states in January, as Harmon (Lake Oswego, Ore.) averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds against the Oregon schools, and Pedersen (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) averaged 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, including matching her season-high with 22 points at Arizona.
Retiring The Numbers
So far this season, freshmen Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen have each had the honor of seeing their respective high school retire their prep number. At Brea Olinda High, Pohlen's No. 32 jersey was retired as a testament to the career of BOHS' all-time leading scorer (2,196 points) and rebounder (1,140 rebounds), and 2007's Ms. California Basketball. In Mesa, Ariz., Pedersen's alma mater, Red Mountain High, raised her No. 14 jersey to the rafters in testament to a career which saw Pedersen be twice named Gatorade Player of the Year, lead RMHS to the 5A-DI state title in 2007, and set school career records with 2,611 points (also state 5A record), 1,444 rebounds, 434 assists, and 304 blocks.
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. Freshman Ashley Cimino, after missing the first 15 games of the season due to a lingering back injury, made her collegiate debut Jan. 10 against Oregon State. 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.
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