No. 7/7 Stanford Takes On Washington State Sunday In Regular-Season Finale
March 1, 2008
No. 7/7 Stanford Cardinal (26-3, 15-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Washington State Cougars (5-23, 2-15 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 7/7 Stanford concludes the 2007-08 regular season Sunday afternoon, visiting the Washington State Cougars for a 12 p.m. contest in Pullman. The Cardinal will be looking to secure a share of its eighth straight Pac-10 regular-season title as well as the top seed in next weekend's Pac-10 Tournament with a win Sunday. The contest 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 won its 14th consecutive game and moved one step closer to claiming a share of its eighth straight Pac-10 regular-season title and the top seed in next week's Pac-10 Tournament with a 73-53 decision over the Washington Huskies on Friday. Candice Wiggins led all scorers with 22 points, leaving her just 15 points away from breaking Lisa Leslie's all-time Pac-10 mark of 2,414 career points. She also pulled down 10 rebounds to claim her second double-double of the season. JJ Hones hit 4-of-6 on three-pointers and scored 16 points, Jayne Appel scored 12 points on a perfect 6-for-6 outing from the floor, and blocked three shots, and Kayla Pedersen scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting as the Cardinal shot 54.5% (30-for-55) as a team Friday night.
Scouting Washington State
The Cougars (5-23, 2-15 Pac-10) come into Sunday's contest having won two of its last five, matching its most successful five-game run of the season. Helmed by June Daugherty, the Cougars are led on the court by the play of Katie Appleton (12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Ebonee Coates (6.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
All-Time Against Washington State
Stanford possesses a perfect 45-0 record in the all-time series against Washington State. The Cardinal captured the first meeting of the two teams this season, running away with a 105-47 decision in the Pac-10 opener on Dec. 28, 2007.
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. 28, 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).
Keep The Record Intact
Owning a perfect 45-0 record against Washington State heading into Sunday's regular-season finale, the Cardinal will look to keep the mark intact with a win. The Cougars are currently the only remaining Pac-10 team that the Cardinal has never lost to.
Could This Be The Weekend?
Senior guard Candice Wiggins enters Sunday's contest just 15 points away from breaking Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 career scoring record of 2,414 points. In Stanford's win at Washington on Friday, Wiggins added 22 points to her career tally, bringing it to an even 2,400. With a minimum of three games remaining in 2007-08 (one regular-season, at least one Pac-10 Tournament, at least one NCAA Tournament), Wiggins needs only to average 5.0 points per game to become the conference's all-time leading scorer.
Raining On The Huskies
The moderate level of rain falling in Seattle Friday night did nothing to dampen Stanford's level of play against Washington, as the Cardinal shot 54.5% (30-for-55) from the floor in its 73-53 victory. The win was also Stanford's 12th in its last 15 games in the Pacific Northwest.
The Streak Is Still Alive
Stanford's 60-58 victory at California on Feb. 23 pulled the Cardinal even with the Golden Bears in the Pac-10 standings, and Friday's win at Washington kept alive Stanford's chance at an eighth consecutive regular-season title. With a head-to-head sweep of California in hand, the Cardinal holds the tiebreaker for the top seed in next week's Pac-10 Tournament should it defeat Washington State this Sunday and finish the regular season tied atop the standings with the Golden Bears.
Party Of Four At The Double-Figures Table
The Cardinal offense threatened from all areas of the court in Friday's 73-53 win at Washington, as four players, two posts and two guards, all scored in double figures. Guard Candice Wiggins led the way with 22 points, and fellow guard JJ Hones added 16 while each player hit four three-pointers in the contest. Down low, center Jayne Appel scored 12 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting performance, and freshman forward Kayla Pedersen shot 5-for-8 from the floor for 11 points.
Working From The Inside Out
Sophomore center Jayne Appel, already known and respected as one of the top posts in the nation, as well as the Pac-10's shooting leader, is establishing a new reputation for being a solid passing center. Appel passed out seven assists in Friday's victory at Washington, and on the season, is second on the team with 79 assists, only five behind Candice Wiggins' team-leading total of 84.
Deadly From The Outside
The Cardinal continued its hot shooting Friday night, going 30-for-55 from the floor at Washington. This mark included a 10-for-24 showing (41.7%) from behind the arc, highlighted by JJ Hones' 4-for-6 outing from downtown, and Candice Wiggins' 4-for-10 mark. Together, Hones and Wiggins accounted for 80% of Stanford's output from behind the arc on Friday.
Will They Be Back In The Northwest?
The latter half of this weekend's trip to the Pacific Northwest, namely the Cardinal's stay in Spokane ahead of Sunday's game at Washington State, could end up being just the first trip for Stanford to northeastern Washington. With Spokane being one of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament's four regional sites this March, it is very conceivable that the Cardinal, in line for either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, could end up placed in the Spokane bracket, and with victories in the first and second rounds at Maples Pavilion, will return to the state of Washington.
Winning In Front Of Hostiles
The Cardinal's 26-3 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 13-3 in games away from Maples Pavilion, including a 3-1 mark on the road against ranked opponents.
She's Blocking The Lane
While the quartet of Candice Wiggins, Jayne Appel, Kayla Pedersen, and JJ Hones got much of the glory for doing much of the scoring in Friday's win at Washington, one player who deserved a game ball for her efforts on the other end of the court was junior Morgan Clyburn. Seeing a career-high 25 minutes of action against the Huskies, Clyburn stood tall in the paint and blocked a career-high four shots.
Up To 14
Friday's win at Washington extended the Cardinal's season-best winning streak to 14 games. Should Stanford defeat Washington State Sunday and make a victorious run through the Pac-10 Tournament (three games) next week, it would 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.
30-Win Mark Is In Range
Having a 26-3 record with the possibility of a maximum of 10 games left in the season, Stanford is aiming for just its fourth 30-win season since 1996-97. That year, the Cardinal posted a 34-2 mark, and ended the season in the Final Four. The two other 30-win years occured in 2001-02 and 2004-05, in which the Cardinal posted a 32-3 record each season and reached the regional rounds.
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 Sunday at Washington State, after wins at California and Washington previously. 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' 2,400 career points are also second all-time on the Pac-10 scoring list, just 14 points behind Lisa Leslie's mark of 2,414 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 265 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 682 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' 257 career steals through Feb. 23 leaves her third on Stanford's all-time list, just 23 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.