No. 4/4 Stanford's NCAA Tournament Journey Continues Against UTEP Monday
March 23, 2008
No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (31-3, 16-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
UTEP Miners (28-3, 16-0 Conference USA)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 4/4 Stanford continues its March Madness run Monday night, battling the UTEP Miners at approximately 7:30 p.m. in second-round NCAA Tournament action. The contest will be the first-ever meeting between the Cardinal and the Miners, and a Sweet 16 berth in Spokane will be on the line. Monday'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, the second seed in the Spokane Regional, cruised through the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening with an 85-47 victory over 15th-seeded Cleveland State. Jayne Appel scored a career-high 33 points (29 in the first half) on 14-of-19 shooting, while also grabbing 12 rebounds to post her tenth double-double of the season. Candice Wiggins scored 13 points, Kayla Pedersen scored nine points to go with 12 rebounds and four assists, and JJ Hones passed out six assists as well as grabbing five rebounds to add to the Cardinal's fine all-around effort.
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.
The Miners (28-3, 16-0 Conference USA), making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and seeded seventh in the Spokane Region, enter Monday's second-round contest by virtue of a dominant 92-60 victory over Western Kentucky Saturday night. UTEP has won 24 of its past 25 games, having embarked this season on a 23-game winning streak that included a perfect 16-0 run to the Conference USA regular-season title. Helmed by head coach Keitha Adams in her seventh season, the Miners are led on the court by the play of guards Jareica Hughes (14.7 ppg, 5.63 apg), Natasha Lacy (13.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.97 apg), and center Izabela Piekarska (12.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg).
All-Time Against UTEP
Monday's contest marks the first-ever meeting between Stanford and UTEP.
All-Time Against Conference USA
Monday night's battle against UTEP marks Stanford's 10th all-time meeting against the current 12-team incarnation of Conference USA. The Cardinal own a 7-2 record against C-USA, with a 3-0 mark against Rice, a 2-0 mark against Houston, and single wins over SMU and Tulane. Stanford's only losses both came in the 1979-80 season, one against East Carolina (88-72) and one opposite Memphis (then known as Memphis State), 87-64.
Stanford's All-Time Performance In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 48-19 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 began 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 started with an 85-47 victory over Cleveland State, and the Cardinal will face No. 7 UTEP in the second round. Potential future dates could be on the horizon with such teams as No. 3 Baylor or No. 6 Pittsburgh in the Sweet 16, and No. 1 Maryland, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 5 West Virginia, or No. 8 Nebraska 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 21-4 overall record in NCAA Tournament games at Maples Pavilion. All-time, the Cardinal boasts a 300-32 (.904) record at home during VanDerveer's tenure. The Cardinal is 186-12 (.939) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home, and has won 97 of its last 104 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 Monday, March 17.
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' 2,491 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 279 threes in her career, just six 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 715. At the charity stripe, Wiggins is the Stanford all-time leader with her 527 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' 270 career steals through March 22 leaves her third on Stanford's all-time list, just one behind Jennifer Azzi for the second slot, and 10 away from tying Sonja Henning's leading tally of 280.
Eric The Red Wouldn't Have Stood A Chance, Either
Sophomore center Jayne Appel just about single-handedly turned away the attempted Viking invasion of Maples Pavilion Saturday night, scoring a career-high 33 points on 14-of-19 shooting, and pulling down 12 rebounds to mark her 10th double-double of the season. Appel was unstoppable inside the paint against the smaller Cleveland State squad, and scored 29 of her points in the first half. Her 33-point effort ended up just shy of Stanford's single-game NCAA Tournament scoring mark of 35, shared by Brooke Smith (against Oklahoma in 2006) and Trisha Stevens (against Hawai'i in 1990). Appel also blocked a shot to increase her school-record single-season tally to 80.
Now She Officially Qualifies
Point guard JJ Hones dished out six assists in Saturday's victory over Cleveland Stateand pulled down five rebounds to turn in a fine NCAA Tournament debut. Yet what is most significant about her ballhandling totals is the fact that her six assists give her 100 in 33 games this year, finally making her eligible for the national stat leaderboard. The national assist-to-turnover ratio category requires a minimum of 3.00 assists per game, and with Hones finally hitting that mark Saturday, there is a very good chance that her current 3.03 assist-to-turnover ratio could lead the nation come Monday's update.
To Thirty And Beyond!
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 program-best 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.
Caught Stanford On The Wrong Day
A quick look over Stanford's performance on each day of the calendar week would have made anyone feel that Cleveland State simply caught the Cardinal on the wrong day. With the contest scheduled for Saturday, March 22, eyes could turn to the Cardinal's 9-0 mark in Saturday games heading into the first-round contest against the Vikings. Sure enough, with the 85-47 victory over Cleveland State, Stanford improved its Saturday record to 10-0 this season.
One More Makes Twenty
Stanford's 85-47 win Saturday night ran its current winning streak to 19 games, the Cardinal's longest stretch of victories since 2004-05's 23-game run from Dec. 29, 2005 to March 29, 2006. That 23-game streak is also the Cardinal's longest winning streak of the current decade. The Cardinal could break that though, by winning the national title, in which the national final would be win No. 24.
Not Reaching 'L' Gets Stanford Foes The 'L'
Saturday's 85-47 victory marked the 12th time this season's that the Cardinal held an opponent to under 50 points. It also stretched Stanford's current streak of opponents scoring less than 50 to four games, dating to the start of the Pac-10 Tournament.