No. 11/8 Stanford Opens Search For Ninth Straight Pac-10 Title At Arizona State Friday
Dec. 30, 2008
No. 11/8 Stanford Cardinal (9-3)
- at -
Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 11/8 Stanford (9-3) rings in the New Year by opening up the 2008-09 Pac-10 season with a weekend trip to the state of Arizona for a pair of contests. The Cardinal begins the weekend's action Friday, Jan. 2 in Tempe, taking on the Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4) at 5:30 p.m. PT, then closes things out by heading to Tucson for a battle with the Arizona Wildcats Sunday, Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. PT. Both weekend contests can be heard live on the radio at 90.1 KZSU as well as on the Internet at kzsulive.stanford.edu, with Teddy Steinkellner handling play-by-play duties.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal closed out the 2008 calendar year on a winning note this past Sunday afternoon, recording an 84-49 victory over UC Davis at Maples Pavilion. The contest marked the team's return home following a nine-day, three-game road trip through the South prior to Christmas. Jayne Appel scored 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in an effort that earned her U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, while Kayla Pedersen posted her third straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Michelle Harrison and Nnemkadi Ogwumike each scored 13 points to round out Stanford's double-figure scorers in the win.
Scouting Arizona State
The Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4) open Pac-10 play Friday night unranked in the national Top 25 for the first time all season, having fallen out of the polls following Sunday's 62-58 loss at Nebraska. With head coach Charli Turner-Thorne, a Stanford women's basketball letterwinner from 1985-88, in her 13th year at the helm of the ASU program, the Sun Devils are led on the court by the play of guards Briann January (13.3 ppg, 5.42 apg) and Dymond Simon (12.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg), and center Sybil Dosty (10.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg).
All-Time Against Arizona State
Stanford leads the all-time series against Arizona State by a 45-11 margin, and has won the past five meetings dating back to Dec. 30, 2006. The Cardinal has also captured nine of the past 10 contests against the Sun Devils.
In The National Polls
Following Sunday's 84-49 victory over UC Davis, Stanford remained at No. 11 in this week's Associated Press Poll and at No. 8 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
A Look At The National Stat Leaders
Stanford was ranked in the national top 50 in various statistical categories through the games of Dec. 21. The Cardinal figures that sat in the top 50 are: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.18 - seventh), assists per game (17.6 - 11th), rebound margin (+10.3 - 13th), points per game (76.5 - 17th), fewest turnovers per game (14.9 - 17th), scoring margin (+18.1 - 18th), field-goal percentage (45.2 - 21st), blocked shots per game (5.2 - 36th) and field-goal percentage defense (35.6 - 45th). Individually, Jayne Appel is in the national top 50 of three categories: blocked shots per game (2.5 - 23rd), rebounds per game (10.3 - 24th) and field-goal percentage (54.7 - 33rd).
Stanford Rankings In The Pac-10
Stanford holds a spot in the top three of 11 statistical categories in the Pac-10 rankings through the games of Dec. 29. The Cardinal leads the conference in scoring (77.1 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (35.3 percent), blocked shots (5.2 per game), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and three-pointers per game (6.8). Other top three rankings for Stanford are: scoring margin (+19.5 - second), rebounding (44.1 rpg - second), rebounding margin (+11.6 - second), assists per game (18.0 - second), scoring defense (57.6 ppg - third) and field-goal percentage (45.0 percent - third). Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike leads the Pac-10 with a 65.4-percent shooting mark, and Jayne Appel's 56.8-percent mark is seventh. Appel also ranks second in rebounding (10.2 rpg), sixth in scoring (14.3 ppg) and first in blocked shots (2.3 bpg).
Nine In A Row Starts Now
Friday's Pac-10 opener against Arizona State marks the start of Stanford's quest for a ninth consecutive conference regular-season title. The Cardinal is already the consensus pick to take home the crown in 2008-09, and Friday night Stanford gets the chance to make the first statement to the rest of the conference that it is the team to beat.
Taking A Half-Day
Sunday's 84-49 rout of UC Davis was good not only because it gave the Cardinal its ninth win of the year but also because it allowed the team to rest many of its starters for much of the contest. Jayne Appel (23 minutes), Kayla Pedersen (25 minutes) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (19 minutes), Stanford's Big Three in the paint, were able to stay fresh for Friday's Pac-10 opener and also combined for 43 points and 24 rebounds in Sunday's win.
Efficient Use Of Time
Continuing with the play of Jayne Appel, Kayla Pedersen and Nnemkadi Ogwumike this past Sunday, despite playing little under their per-game averages for minutes played, the three did make efficient use of the time they were on the court. Besides combining for 43 points and 24 rebounds, the trio also shot 70.8 percent (17-for-24) from the floor and accounted for 17 of the Cardinal's 29 field goals in the victory.
Pedersen Doubles Up
Kayla Pedersen seems to have caught the double-double bug from teammate Jayne Appel recently, as Pedersen racked up her third straight double-double Sunday with 14 points and 10 rebounds against UC Davis. Although Appel's five-game double-double streak was snapped Sunday, Pedersen continued the work with her fourth of the season, just two behind Appel's team-leading six.
Get That Out Of Here!
Blocked shots are a normal sighting for Stanford's opponents, as the Cardinal lead the Pac-10 with 5.2 blocks per game, and Jayne Appel sits atop the individual conference rankings with 2.3 blocks per game. Sunday against UC Davis, the Cardinal turned back five shot attempts, with freshman Sarah Boothe personally swatting a season-high three. Together, Appel and Boothe boast 40 of the Cardinal's 62 blocked shots on the year.
Freshman Rarely Misses
Rookie forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike continued to push her Pac-10-leading shooting percentage higher in Sunday victory, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field against UC Davis. Ogwumike's effort raised her shooting percentage to 65.4 percent and led to 13 points in the contest, marking the sixth double-digit scoring performance of her first collegiate campaign.
Harrison's Hot Shooting
One of Stanford's hottest outside shooters Sunday afternoon was redshirt sophomore forward Michelle Harrison, who matched her career-high with 13 points against UC Davis behind a 4-of-6 effort from the field and a 3-for-5 showing from behind the arc. Yet Harrison's career day from the field was not the only highlight in her performance, as the Orem, Utah native also grabbed a season-high six rebounds in the win.
A major part of the reason for Stanford leading the Pac-10 in assists per game is the fact that from top to bottom, the roster is dedicated to the passing game. Five players have at least 22 assists, and three have 30-plus. That trio of Jayne Appel (team-leading 33 assists), Melanie Murphy (32) and Jeanette Pohlen (31) top the team list. Sunday against UC Davis, Murphy, Pohlen and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude all led the team with four assists each.
Movin' On Up The Career List
Jayne Appel continued her climb up the Stanford career record books last week, as her scoring, rebounding, and blocked shot totals continued to ascend. Following Sunday's game, Appel now boasts career totals of 1,194 points (22nd overall), 715 rebounds (eighth) and 173 blocked shots (second). Appel's tally of blocks is currently just 28 away from tying Val Whiting's all-time record of 201.
The Health Report
Grace Mashore has missed the past five games with a pulled groin, and junior JJ Hones will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in her left knee Nov. 23 against Rutgers. Morgan Clyburn remains out of action after undergoing offseason foot surgery.
Good Non-Conference Showing
Stanford completed the non-conference portion of its 2008-09 schedule with a 9-3 record, including victories over ranked teams such as Rutgers, Iowa State and Purdue. The Cardinal scored 77.1 points per game over the non-conference slate while allowing opponents just 57.6 points per game, and upped it's home winning streak to 20 with a perfect 5-0 showing at Maples Pavilion.