2007-08 Pac-10 Women's Basketball Wrap-Up
April 16, 2008
For the first time since 1997, the Pac-10 had a team advance to the NCAA Final Four as STANFORD (35-4) put together one of its most memorable seasons in recent history. After an 82-73 defeat of top-seeded UConn, the Cardinal reached the championship finals for the first time since 1992, but came just shy in the 64-48 loss to No. 1 Tennessee. Stanford closed the books on its 2007-08 season with a regular season Pac-10 title (16-2), the 2008 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament title, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a second-place finish in the 'Big Dance.'
For the sixth consecutive season, the Pac-10 sent at least three teams to the NCAA Tournament, and had a team reach the Elite Eight for the fifth time in as many years. The 2007-08 season was a successful one for the league as a whole as ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA and Stanford all earned postseason nods. Further, Stanford SR G Candice Wiggins became just the second player in Pac-10 history to be named the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year, joining former Cardinal Jennifer Azzi (1990). Wiggins was named a first team All-American for a school record-breaking fourth time in her career, becoming only the seventh player in Division I history to earn All-America honors each of her four seasons. Also earning State Farm/WBCA All-American honorable mention accolades were California post players JR F/C Devanei Hampton and JR F/C Ashley Walker.
Stanford finished with a 16-2 league record, just ahead of second-place California (15-3) to grab its eighth consecutive Pac-10 championship. Stanford and California competed in the championship game of the 2008 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament with the Cardinal earning their fifth crown in seven tournaments by virtue of a 56-35 win.
Arizona State and California both advanced to the second round of NCAA Tournament play, as the Sun Devils bested Temple, 61-54, in the first round and the Golden Bears took care of San Diego, 77-60.
Two Pac-10 teams closed out the season ranked among the Top-25 in the final USA Today/ESPN/WBCA poll as Stanford finished at No. 2 and California at No. 18. Arizona State also received votes in the poll.
2007-08 WRAP-UP: The Pac-10 Conference had a solid 2007-08 season, capping the year off with STANFORD in the NCAA championship game and Cardinal SR G Candice Wiggins earning 2008 State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year honors ... All-told, three players garnered All-America honors, while Wiggins and UCLA SR F Lindsey Pluimer were both selected in April's 2008 WNBA Draft.
NCAA TOURNAMENT: For the sixth straight season, at least three Pac-10 teams were sent 'dancing' as the 2008 NCAA Tournament proved very successful with Stanford advancing to the national championship game ... The Cardinal did not come out on the winning end, losing to top-seeded Tennessee, 64-48, but put together one of their best seasons ever along the way ... The Pac-10 has had an impressive run in NCAA Tournaments, sending at least one team to the Sweet 16 in 24 of 28 tournaments ... In addition, the Pac-10 has reached the Elite Eight in 19 of 28 NCAA Tournaments, including the last five straight seasons.
ARIZONA (10-20, 4-14): Arizona finished the season in a tie for ninth place in the Conference at 4-14 in league play ... The Wildcats were led by SR G Ashley Whisonant who ranked second in the league in scoring (15.4) and JR F Amina Njonkou who averaged 13.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game to rank seventh and fifth in the Conference, respectively ... Whisonant also paced the Pac-10 in assists, dishing out 4.86 passes per game ... Njokou led the squad in scoring in eight games this season, including the team's last two in which she averaged 16.5 points and seven rebounds ... UA welcomed new head coach Niya Butts to the helm of the Wildcat program in early April ... She replaces longtime head coach Joan Bonvicini who has a career record of 612-294 (.675), including a 287-223 overall record at Arizona.
ARIZONA STATE (22-11, 14-4): Charli Turner Thorne's Arizona State squad advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but lost to Duke, 67-59, to end its season at 22-11 overall, 14-4 in Conference play ... ASU finished third in the Pac-10 standings behind Stanford and California ... JR G Briann January was named second team All-Pac-10 and Defensive Player of the Year as she paced the league in steals, averaging 2.18 per game ... January also led the Pac-10 free throw percentage (.864) as she connected on 114 of her 132 attempts ... JR F Lauren Lacey also earned second team All-Conference honors after she opened her first season in the Pac-10 averaging 12.6 points (10th), 5.7 rebounds (11th) and a .493 field goal percentage (8th) ... Having one of the most balanced offenses in the Conference, Arizona State was led in scoring by seven different players, including January who garnered game-highs on nine different occasions.
CALIFORNIA (27-7, 15-3): California finished second in the Pac-10 standings with a 15-3 league record, its highest finish in program history ... The Bears advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, falling on a last-second shot to sixth-seeded George Washington, 55-53 ... Despite the early exit, Cal earned its first NCAA victory in 15 years with a 77-60 win over San Diego to open tournament play ... Cal also set a school record for wins in a season, finishing with a 27-7 record ... The Bears were led by JR F/C Ashley Walker who finished third in the Pac-10 in scoring (15.3), first in rebounding (9.3) and fourth in field goal percentage (.514) ... Joining her in the paint was 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year Devanei Hampton who recorded eight double-doubles and four 20-point games, despite missing nine games early in the season due to a knee injury ... Cal graduates just one senior this season, F Krista Foster.
OREGON (14-17, 7-11): Oregon finished the 2007-08 season in seventh place in the Pac-10 standings, earning a 7-11 mark in league play ... The Ducks picked up their first Pac-10 Tournament win since 2005 when they defeated No. 10 Washington State, 66-45 ... In two games, SO G Taylor Lilley averaged 22 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.5 steals on her way to being named to the All-Tournament team ... Lilley finished the season ranked eighth in the Conference in scoring (12.7), first in three-point field goals made (2.39) and eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.346) ... For her career, she has 113 made three-pointers to rank sixth on Oregon's all-time charts ... Oregon also graduates just one senior this season, G Kaela Chapdelaine.
OREGON STATE (12-19, 4-14): Oregon State finished the 2007-08 season tied with Arizona for ninth in the Pac-10 standings with a 4-14 record, amassing a 12-19 overall record ... OSU earned a 46-31 win over the Wildcats to open Pac-10 Tournament play, holding UA to the second lowest Pac-10 opponent output during the 2007-08 season ... The Beavers were led by SR G Ashley Allen who averaged 14.9 points per game to rank fifth in the Conference ... Allen finished second in the Pac-10 in 20-point games, totaling nine in 31 games ... JR G Mercedes Fox-Griffin was second in the league in assists, dishing out 4.83 per game ... Fox-Griffin finished just .03 shy of the top spot in the Conference ... Joining California, Oregon and UCLA, Oregon State graduates just one senior in Allen, returning the bulk of its lineup for the 2008-09 season.
STANFORD (35-4, 16-2): After a surprising LA roadtrip in early January that saw Stanford go 0-2 on a Pac-10 road swing for the first time since 2004, the Cardinal rebounded for 23 consecutive wins, a Pac-10 regular season title, a Pac-10 Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA championship finals ... Stanford fell just one win shy of a national championship, losing to No. 1 seed Tennessee, 64-48 ... Stanford's 35 wins is a single-season Pac-10 record ... SR G Candice Wiggins was named the State Farm Wade Trophy winner, as well as an All-American for the fourth time in her career ... Wiggins became the Pac-10's all-time leading scorer, finishing her prolific four-year career with 2,629 points to take the top spot on the Stanford and Conference career charts ... Wiggins also became the Pac-10's all-time leading three-point shooter, amassing 295 three-pointers for her career, surpassing Arizona's Lisa Griffith (285, 1997-2000) ... Wiggins earned her third Pac-10 Player of the Year honor, while FR F Kayla Pedersen was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Tara VanDerveer was honored as the Coach of the Year ... VanDerveer earned career victory No. 700 on Dec. 28 when the Cardinal defeated Washington State, 105-47.
UCLA (16-15, 10-8): UCLA finished the season one game above .500 with a 16-15 overall record, as well as a 10-8 mark in Conference play, which tied the team for fourth in the standings ... The Bruins were led by SR F Lindsey Pluimer who finished her career as the No. 12 all-time scorer and No. 10 all-time rebounder in UCLA women's basketball history with 1,556 points and 737 rebounds ... Pluimer became one of just five Bruins ever to record at least 1,300 points, 650 rebounds and 75 blocked shots during her career and was the first Bruin in the NCAA era to earn starts in each game of her career (123 consecutive starts) ... UCLA will welcome a new coach to the helm of the Bruin program in 2008-09 ... Longtime coach Kathy Olivier compiled a record of 232-208 during her 15 seasons in Westwood.
USC (17-13, 10-8): With a 10-8 record in Pac-10 action, USC finished the season tied for fourth in the standings with familiar foe, UCLA ... The Women of Troy tallied a 17-13 overall record, including an upset of national runner-up Stanford in the first round of Conference play (73-72, Jan. 6) ... USC was led by All-Pac-10 second team selection JR C Nadia Parker who averaged 12.1 points (11th), 6.5 rebounds (7th) and a .565 field goal percentage (2nd) ... Parker suffered a knee injury during the last Pac-10 homestand of the season as the Women of Troy dropped their final four games of the 2007-08 season ... JR G Camille LeNoir, despite playing with a bad hip all season, averaged 11.0 points per game to rank 17th in the Pac-10 ... LeNoir also averaged 4.04 assists and 1.96 steals to rank sixth in both Conference categories ... With 5.83 three-point field goals made per game, USC paced the Pac-10 in this category, totalling 175 shots from long range this season.
WASHINGTON (13-18, 8-10): Washington concluded its year with a 13-18 overall record and an 8-10 mark in Pac-10 play, good enough for a sixth place finish ... The Huskies played their way out of Friday night of the Pac-10 Tournament by virtue of a 74-66 upset of then-first-place California on the last day of the regular season ... SO G Sami Whitcomb was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after she tied her career high of 24 points, including a 5-for-9 mark from three-point range ... Washington was led by All-Pac-10 third team selection SR G Emily Florence, who was also named to the Pac-10 All-Defensive team ... At 5-5, Florence averaged 6.5 rebounds per game to rank ninth in the league ... She also averaged 3.68 assists and 1.81 steals to rank seventh in both Conference categories ... Washington head coach Tia Jackson will welcome her first recruiting class in 2008-09, including a trio of nationally ranked prep standouts.
WASHINGTON STATE (5-25, 2-16): Washington State picked up five wins on the year, including two in Conference play to mark the first season under head coach June Daugherty ... The much-improved Cougars earned two wins in their final seven games, as they were led in scoring by six different players down the homestretch of the season ... WSU was anchored by All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection JR G Katie Appleton who averaged 12.0 points (12th), 1.55 three-point field goals made per game (8th), and a 39.8% three-point field goal percentage (2nd) ... Appleton climbed the WSU career charts this season, moving into fourth place with 116 career three-pointers ... The Cougars also saw solid play from JR C Ebonee Coates, who grabbed 10 rebounds on March 7 against Oregon, marking the most by a Cougar in a Pac-10 Tournament game since Bianca McCall's 11 (March 7, 2003 against USC) ... The double-digit rebounding effort is only the second by a Cougar since the inception of the Conference tournament.