No. 7/7 Stanford Heads To Washington To Conclude Pac-10 Regular Season
Feb. 27, 2008
No. 7/7 Stanford Cardinal (25-3, 14-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Washington Huskies (12-16, 7-9 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 7/7 Stanford embarks on its final road trip of the regular season this weekend, heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Washington Huskies at 7 p.m. Friday night, Feb. 29, and then traveling to Pullman to meet the Washington State Cougars Sunday, March 2, at 12 p.m. Both games will be available on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties and Andrew Shen on color.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford pulled itself even with California in the Pac-10 regular-season race, defeating the then-No. 8/8 Golden Bears 60-58 in Berkeley to keep alive its chance for at least a share of an eighth consecutive conference title. Jayne Appel posted her eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while guard JJ Hones shot 6-of-10 from the floor (including 4-of-6 from behind the arc) to the tune of 16 points while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. Candice Wiggins, despite just a 4-for-19 showing from the floor, still managed to score 13 points but more importantly made five steals, including a key steal and fast-break layup in the final minutes of the contest. Besides creating a tie atop the conference standings, Stanford's victory on Saturday also gave the Cardinal a sweep of the season series against the Golden Bears, and the inside track to the top seed in the Pac-10 Tournament.
The Huskies (12-16, 7-9 Pac-10) head into the final weekend of the regular season having won three of its last four games, and five of its last eight. Washington had its three-game winning streak stopped this past Sunday at Arizona State, losing 69-53 to the Sun Devils. Helmed by first-year head coach Tia Jackson, the Huskies are led on the court by the play of Katelan Redmon (12.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Sami Whitcomb (11.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg).
All-Time Against Washington
Stanford holds a 33-14 advantage in the all-time series against the Huskies, and has captured eight of the last nine meetings. The Cardinal captured the first meeting of the two schools this season, routing the Huskies, 77-42, for head coach Tara VanDerveer's 700th career victory, at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 30.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Despite the victory over No. 8/8 California last Saturday, Stanford remained at 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. 24, including: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24 - fifth), fewest turnovers per game (13.5 - T-sixth), scoring margin (+18.4 - eighth), scoring offense (75.4 - 14th), assists per game (16.75 - 15th), rebounding margin (+7.3 - 16th), FG percentage (45.9% - 18th), blocks per game (139 - 4.96 - 21st), FG percentage defense (36.5% - 25th), scoring defense (57.0 - 33rd), and fewest fouls per game (15.0 - 42nd). Individually, Jayne Appel's 57.5 FG percentage is 12th in the nation, her 2.29 blocks per game are 27th, and she is tied for 48th with 9.0 rebounds per game. Candice Wiggins stands 18th with 19.1 points per game, and 44th with an 83.2 free-throw shooting percentage.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the games of Feb. 24, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (75.4 ppg), scoring margin (+18.4), FG percentage (45.9%), blocked shots (139 - 4.96 per game), turnover margin (+3.82), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24). The Cardinal also sits second in opponents' points per game (57.0 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (36.5%), free-throw percentage (71.1%), assists per game (16.75), rebounding defense (32.7 rpg), and rebounding margin (+7.3). Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the conference in scoring (19.1 ppg), and is second in free-throw percentage (83.2%). Jayne Appel leads the loop in field-goal percentage (57.5%) and blocks (64 - 2.29 per game), is second rebounding (9.0 rpg), and fifth in scoring (14.7 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is third in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and ninth in scoring (12.8 ppg).
The Streak Is Still Alive
Stanford's 60-58 victory at California this past Saturday pulled the Cardinal even with the Golden Bears in the Pac-10 standings, keeping alive Stanford's chance at an eighth consecutive regular-season title. Just as important, the victory gave Stanford the head-to-head sweep of California, meaning the Cardinal now holds the tiebreaker for the top seed in next week's Pac-10 Tournament should it finish the regular season tied atop the standings with the Golden Bears.
Still The Top Dog
Saturday's victory over California also reinforced Stanford's dominance of the head-to-head series against its Bay Area rival. The Cardinal now lead the all-time series 49-16 over the Golden Bears, and have claimed victory in 31 of the last 33 meetings.
Could This Be The Weekend?
Senior guard Candice Wiggins enters this final weekend of the regular season just 37 points away from breaking Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 career scoring record of 2,414 points. In Stanford's win at California, Wiggins added 13 points to her career tally, bringing it to 2,378. With a minimum of four games remaining in 2007-08 (two regular-season, at least one Pac-10 Tournament, at least one NCAA Tournament), Wiggins needs only to average 9.25 points per game to become the conference's all-time leading scorer.
Pretty Hot In The Cold
While the blue sky and gradually higher temperatures have begun to return to the Bay Area, the Cardinal will instead head to the Pacific Northwest and its 40- and 50-degree weather and rain. But even in the cold of Washington, the Cardinal have kept things hot, going 11-3 on the annual Washington trip since the 2000-01 season.
Right On Target
Sophomore point guard JJ Hones torched California for the second time this season, continuing to excel against the very same team that was on the opposite side of the court as the Cardinal when her freshman year ended with a torn ACL in 2006-07. With 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting (including 4-of-6 on three-pointers) as well as a career-high five rebounds and four assists, Hones brought her two-game numbers against Cal to 14.0 points and 3.50 assists per game, as well as an overall shooting percentage of 55.6% (10-for-18) and 66.7% (8-for-12) on three-pointers.
Candice Wiggins demonstrated her ability to affect games on all sides of the ball Saturday at California, scoring 13 points and making five steals. Despite just a 4-for-19 showing from the field, Wiggins disrupted the Golden Bear offense with her defensive play, and made a game-changing steal and fast-break layup on Cal's Devanei Hampton in the game's final minutes that gave Stanford a crucial two-possession lead.
Double The Points, Double The Rebounds
On Saturday, Stanford's devastating inside duo of Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen each registered double-doubles, marking the third time this season that they'd turned the trick. Each post grabbed 10 rebounds in the contest, while Appel scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting and a 6-for-7 showign from the free-throw line, and Pedersen hit a pair of threes as part of her 10-point effort.
Puttin' The Clamps On `Em
The Stanford defense certainly deserved a game ball following Saturday's victory at California. In the contest, the Cardinal held the Golden Bears to 34.9% shooting (22-for-63) from the field, including a dismal 16.7% (3-for-18) from behind the arc. Additionally, in the second half, Stanford held Cal's star forward Devanei Hampton to just five points and four rebounds, while Stanford's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude clamped down on her point-guard counterpart, Alexis Gray Lawson, limiting her to just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.
The Cardinal's 25-3 overall record would not be possible without the team's ability to win on the road. Like any great team, Stanford has found continued success away from the home court, posting an overall mark of 12-3 in games away from Maples Pavilion, including a 3-1 mark on the road against ranked opponents.
Keep Another Streak Intact
Besides the streak of Pac-10 regular-season titles, Stanford will also be aiming to preserve another streak during this weekend's trip to the state of Washington. In its women's basketball history, the Cardinal has never lost to Washington State, owning a 45-0 record in the all-time series.
Providing Reserve Power
Although Stanford used only seven players in Saturday's win over California, the Cardinal got key contributions from its two reserves in the game. Freshman guard/forward combo Jeanette Pohlen saw 20 minutes of action in the contest, scoring a bucket in a game where points were at a premium, and providing another defensive presence for the Cardinal. Junior forward Morgan Clyburn, in her six minutes of play, helped wage battle with Cal's posts and grabbed two rebounds.
Stanford boasts a season-best 13-game winning streak heading into this weekend's contests. With a sweep this weekend, and victories in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the Pac-10 Tournament next week, the Cardinal will match last season's 17-game streak. Being victorious throughout the Pac-10 Tournament (three games) would then extend the streak to 18 games, making it the longest stretch of victories since 2004-05's 23-game winning streak from Dec. 29, 2005 to March 29, 2006. That streak is also the Cardinal's longest of the current decade.
Living Out Of A Suitcase
The weekend of Feb. 14-16 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 continue to be on hostile and neutral courts, closing out the Pac-10 regular season this weekend at Washington and Washington State after having defeated California, 60-58, in Berkeley last Saturday. Next week, Stanford will be closer to home for the Pac-10 Tournament, taking the court at HP Pavilion in San Jose to defend its Pac-10 Tournament title.
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' 2,378 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 261 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 672 career attempts. At the charity stripe, Wiggins is the Stanford all-time leader with her 511 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' 256 career steals through Feb. 23 leaves her third on Stanford's all-time list, just 24 away from tying Sonja Henning's leading tally of 280.
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 has been out since leaving Feb. 7's game at Oregon early in the second half due to a stress reaction in her foot. The team is hoping for her return at the Pac-10 Tournament. 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.