No. 6/7 Stanford Continues On To Face UCLA In Pac-10 Tournament Semifinal
March 8, 2008
No. 6/7 Stanford Cardinal (27-3, 16-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
UCLA Bruins (16-14, 10-8 Pac-10)
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Eight-time Pac-10 regular-season champion, No. 6/7 Stanford, continues play in the Pac-10 Tournament Sunday afternoon, taking on the UCLA Bruins at 2:30 p.m. Should the Cardinal defeat the Bruins Sunday, it will then advance to the Pac-10 Tournament final for the seventh straight year. Sunday's contest will be televised live on FSN Bay Area, with Jim Watson on play-by-play and Mary Murphy on color, as well as being broadcast on 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties and Andrew Shen on color.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford got its postseason off to the right start Saturday evening, routing the Oregon State Beavers, 64-41, in the quarterfinal round. The trio of Candice Wiggins, Jayne Appel, and Kayla Pedersen scored 52 of the Cardinal's 64 points in the game, with Pedersen leading all players with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Jayne Appel shot a perfect 100.0% (8-for-8) from the floor as she posted her ninth double-double of the year with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Wiggins, meanwhile, added 11 points and five assists, while point guard JJ Hones scored six points and dished out a team-high six assists.
The Bruins (16-14, 10-8 Pac-10) enter the Pac-10 Tournament as the fifth seed, and advanced to the semifinal round with a 73-52 victory over fourth-seeded USC Saturday night. UCLA has won seven of its last 12 games heading into Sunday's semifinal contest, as well as two straight. Helmed by Kathy Olivier, the Bruins are led on the court by first-team All Pac-10 performer Lindsey Pluimer (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg), as well as Nina Earl (9.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg), and Doreena Campbell (8.6 ppg, apg).
All-Time Against UCLA
Stanford leads the all-time series against Oregon State, 39-22. The teams split their two meetings during the 2007-08 regular seaosn, with the Bruins capturing the first contest, 69-56, on Jan. 4 at Pauley Pavilion. The Cardinal bounced back to claim a 75-62 victory on Feb. 2 at Maples Pavilion. Sunday's meeting will also mark the fifth time the two schools have met in the Pac-10 Tournament, with Stanford holding the overall edge, 3-1. Yet UCLA captured the most recent meeting, winning the 2006 tournament title with an 85-76 victory in the final on March 6, 2006.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Following the weekend sweep of Washington and Washington State, which clinched the Cardinal's eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title, Stanford moved up one spot to No. 6 in the Associated Press Poll, and remained at No. 7 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls.
Stanford At The Pac-10 Tournament
Heading into Sunday night's semifinal contest, Stanford brings a 17-2 record and four titles into the seventh edition of the Pac-10 Tournament. The Cardinal captured the tournament championship three consecutive years, from 2003-05, then once more in 2007. After falling to Arizona State in the final of the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament, the Cardinal went on an 11-game tournament winning streak that lasted until the 2006 title game, in which UCLA dethroned Stanford, 85-76.
Monopoly On The Post-Tournament Award
The Cardinal have enjoyed a healthy domination of not just the action on the court, but also of the spoils awarded after the tournament. Out of the previous six Pac-10 Tournaments, a two Stanford players have combined to win five of the Most Outstanding Player honors awarded. Nicole Powell captured the honor in each of the first three tournaments from 2002-04, while Candice Wiggins earned the glory in 2005 and 2007, and will go for her third this weekend.
Welcome To The Postseason, Rookies!
This weekend's Pac-10 Tournament will also mark the postseason debuts of five Stanford players. Freshmen Ashley Cimino, Hannah Donaghe, Kayla Pedersen, and Jeanette Pohlen will continue their seasons of firsts come this weekend, while the fifth member of this group of debutantes, sophomore JJ Hones, will finally see her first postseason action after a torn ACL suffered last February prematurely ended her freshman year.
The Power Of Three
Offensively in Saturday night's 64-41 quarterfinal victory over Oregon State, the Cardinal got a healthy load of scoring from the trio of Jayne Appel, Candice Wiggins, and Kayla Pedersen. The group scored 52 of Stanford's 64 points, accounting for 81.3% of the Cardinal output. Pedersen led the crew with 22 points, while Appel scored 19 and Wiggins 11.
Wiggins Reels In More Honors
National postseason recognition has already begun finding its way to Candice Wiggins, as the senior guard was named to Sports Illustrated's All-America First Team and was also selected as a finalist for the prestigious Naismith Award, given to the top collegiate women's basketball player in the nation.
Stanford Dominates Pac-10 Honors
The Pac-10 announced its season awards Thursday, and it was no surprise that Stanford dominated many of the honors. The Cardinal captured three of the four season awards, as Candice Wiggins became the first player to ever win three Pac-10 Player of the Year awards, Kayla Pedersen went home with the Freshman of the Year award, and Tara VanDerveer garnered her ninth Coach of the Year honor. Additionally, Wiggins and sophomore Jayne Appel were named to the All-Pac-10 First Team, Pedersen was named to the third team, and Jillian Harmon and JJ Hones received honorable mention nods. Pedersen also earned a spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, while fellow rookie Jeanette Pohlen was named honorable mention. Appel, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Harmon, and Wiggins rounded things out by being named Pac-10 Defensive Team honorable mention.
Momma Always Said To Get Your Rest
Another important positive to take from Stanford's quarterfinal victory Saturday night was the amount of rest that the Cardinal's key contributors were able to get due to the large margin of victory. Of the five starters, only JJ Hones (33 minutes) played over 30 minutes in the contest, while Candice Wiggins played just 18. With the potential for three games in three days, it is very important that the Cardinal players are able to stay well-rested and a fresh as possible.
Feeding An Army
Sophomore point guard JJ Hones did her job in spectacular fashion once again in Saturday's quarterfinal win against Oregon State, passing out a team-leading six assists in the contest. Hones' deft passing was a major reason that the trio of Jayne Appel, Candice Wiggins, and Kayla Pedersen were able to score 52 of Stanford's 64 points in the victory.
Not The Last They've Seen Of Spokane?
Last weekend's trip to the Pacific Northwest, namely the Cardinal's stay in Spokane ahead of March 2'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. Then, with victories in the first and second rounds at Maples Pavilion, the Cardinal would return to the state of Washington.
As Close To Home As One Could Get
Although this weekend's Pac-10 Tournament contests don't go in the ledger as 'home' games, they come very close. Just about a 25-minute drive south from Palo Alto, HP Pavilion At San Jose has been very good to the Stanford women since its opening in 1993. The Cardinal now own a 15-4 record in games played at the facility, which was formerly known as San Jose Arena and Compaq Center.
Queen Of The Pac-10
Senior guard Candice Wiggins added a new title on March 2 at Washington State: Pac-10 All-Time Leading Scorer. Wiggins entered the game in Pullman just 14 points shy of Lisa Leslie's mark of 2,414 points, and wasted no time making her final push to the summit of the conference scoring annals. With 7:44 left in the first half, she hit a three-pointer from the left wing to tie Leslie, then just over six minutes later, Wiggins drove the left baseline and cashed in on the layup to score the record-breaking points.
16 And Counting...
Stanford's 64-41 quarterfinal victory over Oregon State Saturday night extended its season-best winning streak to 16 games. Should Stanford continue its successful run through the Pac-10 Tournament (two more games) in the next two days, 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.
Driving Toward 30
Having a 28-3 record with the possibility of a maximum of eight games left in the season, Stanford is aiming for its fourth 30-win season in the last 11 years. In 1996-97, the Cardinal posted a 34-2 mark, and ended the season at 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.