No. 2 Seed Stanford Opens NCAA Tournament Play Saturday Against 15th-Seeded Cleveland State
March 19, 2008
No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (30-3, 16-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Cleveland State Vikings (19-13, 10-8 Horizon League)
STANFORD, Calif. - March Madness has finally arrived, and No. 4/4 Stanford enters the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the Spokane region. The Cardinal begin tournament play Saturday, March 22, at 5:30 p.m. against the 15th-seeded Cleveland State Vikings at Maples Pavilion. The winner of that contest will advance to Monday's second round to face the winner of the No. 7 UTEP-No. 10 Western Kentucky game. Saturday's contest will be televised live on ESPN2, with Dave Pasch on play-by-play, Debbie Antonelli on color, and Heather Cox handling sideline reporter duties. The contest will also be broadcast on 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford collected its fifth Pac-10 Tournament title in the last seven years on March 10 with a 56-35 rout of then-No. 8/9 California. Candice Wiggins scored 30 points in the game on her way to the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award, while Jayne Appel grabbed 14 rebounds and Kayla Pedersen scored 13 points and pulled down seven boards. The 35 points allowed to California was a season-low for the Cardinal defense, which made nine steals and forced 16 Golden Bear turnovers.
Against The 2008 NCAA Tournament Field
The 2008 NCAA Tournament draw turned up 10 of Stanford's regular-season opponents from this season, including a pair of No. 1 seeds in Connecticut and Tennessee. Stanford posted a 12-1 record against those teams, losing only to Connecticut. The Cardinal are 3-0 against California, 2-0 against Arizona State, and hold single wins over Baylor, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Rutgers, Temple, Tennessee, and Utah.
Scouting Cleveland State
The Vikings (19-13, 10-8 Horizon League), after a fourth-place finish in the Horizon League regular season, are making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after capturing the Horizon League Tournament title. Helmed by Kate Peterson Abiad in her fifth year at the school, Cleveland State is led on the court by the backcourt trio of sophomore Kailey Klein (19.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.13 apg), junior Dominique Butler (10.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg), and senior Brittany Korth (9.8 ppg, 3.88 apg).
All-Time Against Cleveland State
Stanford and Cleveland State have met once before, on Nov. 28, 1986 at the UNLV/7-Up Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. The Cardinal captured that meeting by a score of 95-69.
All-Time Against The Horizon League
Saturday's first-round contest will mark the third time, and second in NCAA Tournament play, that the Cardinal has faced off against the Horizon League. Stanford is 1-0 against Cleveland State and UW-Green Bay. The Cardinal beat UW-Green Bay, 81-56, in an NCAA Tournament first-round contest at Maples Pavilion on March 16, 1994.
Stanford's All-Time Performance In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 47-19 mark in NCAA Tournament play and is making its 21st consecutive appearance, and 22nd overall. One of the NCAA's most dominant postseason programs, the Cardinal has won a pair of national titles (1990 & `92), appeared in six Final Fours, 11 Elite Eights, and has advanced to the Sweet 16 on 14 occasions. Stanford has reached the Regional Final round three times over the last four years, with last season being the only exception. Last year, the Cardinal, a No. 2 seed, defeated Idaho State by a score of 96-58 before falling, 68-61, to Florida State in the second round.
Stanford's NCAA Tournament Draw
The Cardinal begins the NCAA Tournament on its home court for the 14th time in school history, owning a No. 2 seed for the third time in the last four years, and eighth overall. Stanford's road to its seventh Final Four starts with 15th-seeded Cleveland State, and includes potential future dates with such teams as No. 7 UTEP and No. 10 Western Kentucky in the second round, No. 3 Baylor, No. 6 Pittsburgh, No. 11 Wyoming, and No. 14 Fresno State in the Sweet 16, and No. 1 Maryland, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 9 Xavier, and No. 16 Coppin State in the Spokane Regional Final. The Spokane Regional champion will face the Greensboro region's champ, which boasts such top teams as No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 Rutgers, and No. 3 California, in the Final Four.
Stanford At Home For The NCAAs
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 20-4 overall record in NCAA Tournament games at Maples Pavilion. All-time, the Cardinal boasts a 299-32 (.903) record at home during VanDerveer's tenure. The Cardinal is 186-12 (.939) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home, and has won 96 of its last 103 games at Maples. Stanford's last loss in Maples was in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2007 to Florida State.
Stanford Reigns Supreme At Pac-10 Tournament
The Cardinal captured its fifth Pac-10 Tournament title in the last seven years on March 10 with a 56-35 rout of California. Candice Wiggins, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for the third time in her career, scored a game-high 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting (including 5-for-11 on three-pointers) in addition to grabbing four rebounds and making three steals. Freshman Kayla Pedersen scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Jayne Appel pulled down 14 boards of her own to help Stanford win the rebounding battle by a 46-38 margin. The Cardinal defense forced 16 California turnovers while holding the Golden Bears to just 35 points, a season-low for Stanford opponents. Stanford won all three of its tournament contests by at least 21 points, defeating Oregon State, 64-41, in the quarterfinals, routing UCLA by a score of 78-45 in the semifinal round, then clamping down on California to capture the tournament crown. Appel and Pedersen were named to the All-Tournament Team as Stanford claimed half of the six honors following the championship game.
Pride Of The Pac-10
Stanford captured its eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular season title, and 17th in the last 22 years, on March 2, the final day of the season. With a 74-52 victory at Washington State, the Cardinal, at 16-2 in Pac-10 play, clinched at least a share of the title, then became outright champions a few hours later when California fell, 74-66, at Washington. During the conference season, the Cardinal opened 2-2 after suffering a weekend sweep at UCLA and USC, but reeled off 14 straight wins to close the slate. Stanford won 11 Pac-10 games by at least 20 points, boasted a scoring margin of 20.3 points, and went 9-0 on the home court.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Stanford remained at No. 4 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls this past Monday.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal is in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of March 16, including: scoring margin (+19.2 - fourth), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.31 - fourth), fewest turnovers per game (13.2 - sixth), assists per game (17.18 - 10th), FG percentage defense (35.5% - 13th), blocks per game (171 - 5.18 - 14th), scoring defense (55.2 - 15th), rebounding margin (+6.9 - 15th), FG percentage (45.5% - 16th), scoring offense (74.4 - 18th), and fewest fouls per game (14.6 - 31st). Individually, Jayne Appel's 58.6 FG percentage is 11th in the nation, and her 2.39 blocks per game are tied for 23rd. Candice Wiggins stands 17th with 19.3 points per game.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the end of the Pac-10 Tournament, Stanford led the Pac-10 in scoring offense (74.4 ppg), scoring margin (+19.2), FG percentage (45.5%), assists per game (17.18), blocked shots (171 - 5.18 per game), turnover margin (+3.73), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.31). The Cardinal sat second in opponents' points per game (55.2 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (35.5%), free-throw percentage (71.5%), and rebounding margin (+6.9). Individually, Candice Wiggins led the conference in scoring (19.3 ppg), and was third in free-throw percentage (82.7%). Jayne Appel led the loop in FG percentage (58.6%) and blocks (79 - 2.39 per game), was second in rebounding (8.8 rpg), and fifth in scoring (14.2 ppg). Kayla Pedersen was third in rebounding (8.1 rpg), seventh in FG percentage (49.5%), and eighth in scoring (12.8 ppg).
Stanford Dominates Pac-10 Honors
The Pac-10 announced its season awards March 6, 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 became Stanford's seventh Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (and fifth in the last nine years), 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 All-Defensive Team honorable mention.
The Record-Breaking Crusade Of Candice Wiggins
Heading into the final weeks of her collegiate career, senior guard Candice Wiggins continues to establish multiple career records in the Stanford and Pac-10 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' 2,478 career points are also tops on the Pac-10 career scoring list, as she surpassed Lisa Leslie's previous mark of 2,414 points on March 2 at Washington State. Moving beyond the arc, Wiggins hit her 211th and 212th career three-pointers against Connecticut on Nov. 22, becoming Stanford's new all-time leader and breaking the previous record of 210 held by Vanessa Nygaard. Currently, she has 277 threes in her career, just eight behind the Pac-10 career mark of 285 set by Arizona's Lisa Griffith (1997-2000). Additionally, on Dec. 18 at New Mexico, Wiggins passed Sebnem Kimyacioglu's all-time mark of 549 career three-point attempts, and currently holds the top mark with 708. At the charity stripe, Wiggins is the Stanford all-time leader with her 522 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 82.5% success rate, just under two percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%. Finally, on the defensive end, Wiggins' 268 career steals through March 2 leaves her third on Stanford's all-time list, just three behind Jennifer Azzi for the second slot, and 12 away from tying Sonja Henning's leading tally of 280.
The Triple Threat
Stanford has greatly benefited this season from the play of its 'Big Three' of guard Candice Wiggins, center Jayne Appel, and forward Kayla Pedersen. The trio has combined to account for 62.2% of Stanford's offensive output (1,526 points out of 2,455), as Pedersen's 421 points on the year (lowest of the three) is still 220 more than the team's fourth-best scorer, JJ Hones. On the glass, the three stars account for 52.3% of the team's total rebounding (704 of 1,347 rebounds). This season, at least one of the three has led or co-led the team in scoring a total of 33 times, as there were only three games on the year in which one of the three failed to lead or co-lead the team's scoring effort. On the rebounding side, one of the trio led or co-led the team 36 times, with only three games in which one of them did not pace the squad on the glass.
Back To The Land Of 30
Stanford's 56-35 Pac-10 Tournament title-game victory over California on March 10 sealed its fourth 30-win season in the last 11 years, and seventh overall. In 1996-97, the Cardinal posted a 34-2 mark, and ended the season at the Final Four. The two other 30-win years since then occured in 2001-02 and 2004-05, in which the Cardinal posted a 32-3 record each season and reached the regional rounds.
No Cooling These Heels
Yet another milestone was reached with the Cardinal's 56-35 victory over California in the Pac-10 Tournament title game, as the win extended Stanford's current streak to 18 games. That total is the Cardinal's longest stretch of victories since 2004-05's 23-game winning streak from Dec. 29, 2005 to March 29, 2006. The 23-game run is also the Cardinal's longest winning streak of the current decade.
Wiggins Reeling In The Postseason Honors
National postseason recognition has already begun finding its way to Candice Wiggins, as the senior guard was named to both Sports Illustrated's and ESPN.com's All-America First Teams. The senior from San Diego was also selected as a finalist for the prestigious Naismith Trophy, given to the top collegiate women's basketball player in the nation, as well as the John R. Wooden Award.
Back And Better Than Ever
Point guards Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and JJ Hones, each returning this season from torn ACLs that caused them to miss all or part of last season, have boosted the Cardinal with their comebacks. Gold-Onwude, after missing all of last season, has appeared in all 33 games this season, starting 27, averaging 4.9 points and 2.39 assists per game while also serving as Stanford's lockdown defender in the backcourt. Hones, meanwhile, has started the last 14 games at point guard, and 15 of the 32 games in which she has appeared this year, since tearing her ACL last February and missing the final month and a half of the 2006-07 season. Since her return, Hones has run the Stanford offense like clockwork, owning a superb 3.13 assist-to-turnover ratio and passing out 2.94 assists per game. She has also gotten her licks in on the scoring side of things, shooting 38.6% (44-for-114) from behind the arc and scoring 6.3 points per game.
Appel At Her Apex
Sophomore center Jayne Appel has made sure that teammate Candice Wiggins isn't the only Cardinal player breaking records, as Appel broke her own single-season school mark for blocked shots. As a freshman last year, Appel blocked a school record 61 shots, but this year has set the new benchmark with 79 blocks so far. Her 140 career blocks also have her already ranked third all-time at Stanford, 23 behind second-place Kristin Newlin (2003-07) and 61 behind leader Val Whiting (1989-93).
Providing The Emotional Lift
Junior forward Jillian Harmon returned to action in the Pac-10 semifinals after missing the previous seven games due to a stress reaction in her foot. Against UCLA on March 9, Harmon's trademark hustle produced four points and two key steals in just five minutes of action. She followed that up with eight minutes of playing time and a steal in the next night's title game against California.
She Won't Have First-Time Jitters
Freshman forward Kayla Pedersen heads into her first NCAA Tournament this weekend, and if she follows this season's trend, she should again play like a seasoned veteran. In her second career game earlier this year at then-No. 3/3 Rutgers, Pedersen put up her first double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds against the highly-touted Scarlet Knights. Pedersen's standout rookie campaign (12.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 49.5 FG pct.) resulted in her being named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, as all three of those marks paced the Pac-10 freshman class. In her first taste of postseason action at the Pac-10 Tournament, Pedersen scored 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in the quarterfinal win over Oregon State. For the tournament, she averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game en route to being named to the All-Tournament Team.
Perfect At Home
Feb. 16'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. Heading into this weekend's NCAA Tournament contests, 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.
Not The Last They've Seen Of Spokane?
Stanford's trip to the Pacific Northwest from Feb. 28-March 2, 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 the Cardinal owning the No. 2 seed in the Spokane bracket, victories in the first and second rounds at Maples Pavilion would punch the Cardinal's ticket back to the state of Washington.
A Link To The Championship Past
First-year assistant coaches Bobbie Kelsey and Kate Paye returned to their Stanford roots prior to this season, as both were freshmen on the Cardinal's 1992 national champion squad. Reuniting with head coach Tara VanDerveer and associate head coach Amy Tucker, Kelsey and Paye bring with them a championship mentality and yet another embodiment of Stanford's pride and championship tradition. The duo's experience and insight has been a major factor in Stanford's 30-3 mark this season.
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.
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.