No. 7/7 Stanford Goes For Sweep Saturday At No. 8/8 California
Feb. 19, 2008
No. 7/7 Stanford Cardinal (24-3, 13-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
No. 8/8 California Golden Bears (23-3, 14-1 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 7/7 Stanford women's basketball team travels to Berkeley this Saturday for a much-anticipated return bout at 1 p.m. against first-place No. 8/8 California. With the Golden Bears one game up in the Pac-10 race, the Cardinal must win to keep hope for its eighth-straight Pac-10 regular-season title alive with one weekend of action remaining. Saturday's game will be televised on FSN Bay Area, with Paul Sunderland on play-by-play duties and Mary Murphy on color, and will also be available on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford extended its season-best winning streak to 12 games with victories of 69-46 and 79-57 over Arizona and Arizona State, respectively, in an emotional Senior Weekend. Seniors Candice Wiggins and Cissy Pierce played their final regular-season home contests, and sophomore center Jayne Appel made a statement for the future, averaging 14.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and shooting 59.1% from the field over the two wins en route to being named U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time this season. Wiggins was her usual playmaking self, averaging 21.0 points and shotting 51.7% (15-for-29) over the weekend, while Rosalyn Gold-Onwude exploded for a career-high 17 points (including a career-high five three-pointers) against Arizona State.
The Golden Bears (23-3, 14-1 Pac-10) roll into Saturday's showdown with the momentum of a six-game winning streak on their side. California has won 15 of its last 16 games, with the lone loss being a 72-52 decision to Stanford on Jan. 26 at Maples Pavilion. The Golden Bears, helmed by Joanne Boyle, will be led by the play of posts Ashley Walker (16.0 ppg, 9.4 rpg) and Devanei Hampton (13.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg), as well as guard Alexis Gray-Lawson (11.9 ppg, 2.89 apg).
All-Time Against California
Stanford holds a 48-16 advantage in the all-time series against the Golden Bears, and has captured 30 of the last 32 meetings. The Cardinal captured the first meeting of the two schools this season, routing the Golden Bears, 72-52, in a showdown of Top-10 teams at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 26.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Despite sweeping both contests last weekend, Stanford dropped a spot to No. 7 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal is in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of Feb. 17, including: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25 - fifth), fewest turnovers per game (13.6 - seventh), scoring margin (+19.0 - seventh), scoring offense (75.9 - 11th), rebounding margin (+7.9 - 12th), assists per game (16.93 - 12th), FG percentage (46.3% - 16th), blocks per game (135 - 5.00 - 22nd), FG percentage defense (36.6% - 31st), scoring defense (56.9 - 32nd), and fewest fouls per game (15.0 - 40th). Individually, Jayne Appel's 57.4 FG percentage is 14th in the nation, and her 2.30 blocks per game are 28th. Candice Wiggins stands 15th with 19.4 points per game, and 42nd with an 83.4 free-throw shooting percentage.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the games of Feb. 17, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (75.9 ppg), scoring margin (+19.0), FG percentage (46.3%), blocked shots (135 - 5.00 per game), turnover margin (+3.85), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25). The Cardinal also sits second in opponents' points per game (56.9 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (36.6%), assists per game (16.93), rebounding defense (32.8 rpg), and rebounding margin (+7.9). Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the conference in scoring (19.4 ppg), and is second in free-throw percentage (83.4%). Jayne Appel leads the loop in field-goal percentage (57.4%) and blocks (62 - 2.30 per game), is second rebounding (9.0 rpg), and fifth in scoring (14.6 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is third in rebounding (8.3 rpg).
Receiving Due Recognition
Jayne Appel was rightfully honored Monday with her second U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week award after yet another reliably productive weekend. The sophomore center posted her eighth double-double of the season against Arizona, and in the victories over the Wildcats and Sun Devils, Appel shot 59.1% (13-for-22) from the field, while averaging 14.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 3.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks.
When Last We Met...
The Cardinal will be looking to repeat its dominant performance of Jan. 26 this Saturday in Berkeley. In that last meeting, the Stanford defense held California to 16 first-half points and 30.8% shooting for the game en route to a convincing 72-52 victory. Candice Wiggins scored 28 points (including a perfect 14-for-14 outing from the free-throw line), while Jayne Appel scored nine and grabbed 15 rebounds to go with the 12 and 11 points of JJ Hones and Kayla Pedersen, respectively.
Wiggins Stays On Target
Senior guard Candice Wiggins continued her march this weekend towards Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 career scoring record of 2,414 points. In Stanford's two victories, Wiggins added 42 points to her career tally, bringing it to 2,365, just 50 shy of breaking Leslie's record. With a minimum of five games remaining in 2007-08 (three regular-season, at least one Pac-10 Tournament, at least one NCAA Tournament), Wiggins needs only to average 10.0 points per game to become the conference's all-time leading scorer.
Putting It All On The Line
This Saturday's 'Battle In Berkeley' features the Cardinal putting not only its 12-game winning streak on the line, but also its run of seven consecutive Pac-10 regular-season titles. Currently one game back of the Golden Bears, but holding one head-to-head victory already, the Cardinal can assure itself at least a share of the regular-season titl, and the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament, with a victory Saturday.
Redshirt sophomore guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who returned to the starting lineup Feb. 9 at Oregon State in place of the injured Jillian Harmon, has re-emerged as a sparkplug to the Stanford offense in the three games since. Gold-Onwude has averaged 9.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.67 assists over the three contests, and has shot a scorching 58.3% (7-for-12) from behind the arc. Her recent resurgence was highlighted by her career day Saturday against Arizona State, in which the Queens, N.Y. native went a career-best 5-for-6 from three-point land (and 6-for-7 overall from the floor) for a career-best 17 points.
B-24s? No, Just Stanford's Three-Point Shooters
After struggling for much of the season to find its long-range shooting touch, the Cardinal seems to be on the right track lately, converting 39-of-106 (36.8%) of its three-point attempts since a season-best 13-for-26 outing at Santa Clara on Feb. 5. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (47.4% - 9-for-19), JJ Hones (42.3% - 11-for-26), and Candice Wiggins (36.1% - 13-for-36) have been the hot hands during this five-game stretch which has accounted for 28.3% of Stanford's total three-point production.
Assisting The Cause
Stanford's team play is evident in many ways, but is especially highlighted in the assists column. The Cardinal's 16.93 team assists per game rank 12th in the nation and second in the Pac-10, while individually, four Cardinal players have passed out at least 60 assists: Candice Wiggins (80), Jayne Appel (71), JJ Hones (68), and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (62). In last Saturday's victory over Arizona State, Appel (with six), Hones (five), and Gold-Onwude (three) accounted for 14 of Stanford's 18 team assists.
They Were On Fire (NBA Jam Version)
Saturday afternoon's contest between Stanford and Arizona State almost resembled the old arcade game 'NBA Jam' because of the lightning-fast pace of the game as well as the hot hands on each side. It marked the first occasion this season that both the Cardinal and its opponent had each shot over 50% from the floor, as Stanford (54.4%) and Ariona State (51.1%) went a combined 54-for-102 (52.9%) in the contest. The fas tpace, brought on by the intense defense from each squad, also helped the Cardinal force 22 Sun Devil turnovers.
Perfect At Home
Saturday's 79-57 victory over Arizona State completed Stanford's first undefeated home regular season since going 11-0 at Maples in 2004-05. That mark had been Stanford's last unblemished record at Maples since posting undefeated home marks in each of the three seasons from 1994-97. Stanford is currently 12-0 at home in 2007-08, and has won 11 of those games by at least 20 points. Through the win against ASU, Stanford boasts an average margin of victory of 29.3 points in its home games this season.
Appel's No. 1...And No. 2
Sophomore center Jayne Appel did some record-breaking of her last weekend, blocking three shots Thursday night against Arizona to bring her total on the year to 62, setting the new Stanford single-season record. The previous mark of 61 had been established by Appel last year, when she broke Cori Enghusen's mark of 58, set in 2001-02.
Revvin' Up The Engine
Sophomore point guard JJ Hones continues to keep the Stanford offense humming like a stock car engine with her solid all-around play. With her 68 assists on the year against only 21 turnovers, Hones' 3.24 assist-to-turnover ratio leads the team and embodies Stanford's ball-control offense. Besides her passing and quarterbacking abilities, Hones has also returned to form as one of the Cardinal's sharpshooters, dropping three treys and 11 points on Arizona State in Saturday's 79-57 victory.
Living Out Of A Suitcase
This past weekend marked Stanford's final homestand of the regular season, although the Cardinal will return to Maples Pavilion Saturday, March 22, for its NCAA Tournament first-round contest. Until then, the Cardinal will be on hostile and neutral courts, traveling to Berkeley this Saturday, and closing out the Pac-10 regular season in two weeks at Washington and Washington State. Following that, Stanford will be closer to home for the Pac-10 Tournament, taking the court at HP Pavilion in San Joseto defend its Pac-10 Tournament title.
Scoring One Day, Rebounding The Next
Freshman forward Kayla Pedersen displayed her versatility in last weekend's victories, contributing to the cause with her scoring against Arizona (18 points), and her with her rebounding opposite Arizona State (eight rebounds). Currently, Pedersen is the only freshman ranked in the top 10 in scoring (12.9 ppg - ninth) and rebounding (8.3 rpg - third) in the Pac-10.
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 18.9 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' 2,365 career points are also third 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 259 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 665 career attempts. At the charity stripe, Wiggins is the Stanford all-time leader with her 508 career free throws, having surpassed Val Whiting's previous tally of 481 on Jan. 31 against USC. She also currently sits fourth on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.6% success rate, just under two percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%. Finally, on the defensive end, Wiggins' 251 career steals through Feb. 3 leaves her fifth on Stanford's all-time list, just 29 away from tying Sonja Henning's leading tally of 280.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 299-32 (.903) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 186-12 (.939) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 96 of its last 103 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.
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.
Running Over The 'Pac'
Stanford has done a fine job of putting a pair of conference losses in early January behind it and getting back to the task at hand of plowing through Pac-10 competition. In its 13 conference victories this season, the Cardinal has won 12 of those by at least 10 points, including 10 by at least 20 points, and four 30-point wins. Stanford's scoring margin in conference play currently stands at 21.4 points.
Cardinal Or Black? Doesn't Matter!
The Cardinal packed its black road uniforms for its last road trip, through Oregon, coming home with two more wins for the first-year jersey. The victories improve Stanford's road record to 5-2 when sporting the black threads, compared to a 6-1 mark in the traditional Cardinal garb.
Non-Conference Season = Great Success!
Feb. 5's win at Santa Clara marked the conclusion of Stanford's non-conference slate during the regular season. In 12 non-conference games this year, the Cardinal posted an impressive 11-1 mark, its best since going 9-1 in regular-season non-conference play during the 2004-05 season. In this decade, the Cardinal have now suffered just one regular-season non-conference loss four times, with the lone loss in three of those years (2001-02, 2002-03, and 2004-05) coming to Tennessee.
Stanford has a tendency to rebound nicely from losses, even ones that come back-to-back. Twelve 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
Jan. 26'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
Arizona native Kayla Pedersen turned in a solid weekend against the Pac-10 schools of her home state in January, averaging 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. Forward Jillian Harmon left Feb. 7's game at Oregon early in the second half due to a stress reaction in her foot, and could miss up to 2-4 weeks of action. Freshman Ashley Cimino did not dress during the Oregon trip, but returned to action last Thursday against Arizona. Sophomores Michelle Harrison and Melanie Murphy were lost for the year with torn ACLs suffered on Nov. 11 at Yale, and Nov. 24 against Old Dominion, respectively.