Close Strong: No. 11/8 Stanford Looks To Cap Off Perfect Weekend Sunday In Tucson
Jan. 3, 2009
No. 11/8 Stanford Cardinal (10-3, 1-0)
- at -
Arizona Wildcats (7-5, 0-1)
TUCSON, Ariz. - No. 11/8 Stanford (10-3, 1-0) closes out the opening weekend of Pac-10 play Sunday afternoon, Jan. 4, visiting the Arizona Wildcats (7-5, 0-1) for a 1 p.m. PT contest at the McKale Center. The Cardinal will look to complete a perfect start to its conference title defense. Sunday's contest 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 opened up defense of it's eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title with a dramatic 64-61 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils Friday night in Tempe. After trailing 31-24 at halftime and despite being out-rebounded 41-39 in the contest, Stanford locked down on defense in the second half, holding Arizona State scoreless for over five minutes as the Cardinal went on a 14-0 run to turn a 52-42 deficit into a 56-52 advantage. Jillian Harmon, who led the Cardinal with 18 points in the contest and grabbed 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, hit a late jumper to put Stanford ahead 60-59, and after ASU took the lead once more, Kayla Pedersen, who scored 17 points in the win, hit the eventual game-winner in the final minute.
The Arizona Wildcats (7-5, 0-1) opened Pac-10 play Friday night with a 56-46 loss at home to No. 13/9 California. In that contest, Reiko Thomas led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Ify Ibekwe grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Arizona. Under first-year head coach Niya Butts, the Wildcats are led on the court by the play of Ibekwe (14.7 ppg, 12.5 rpg), Thomas (12.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Amina Njonkou (9.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg).
All-Time Against Arizona
Stanford leads the all-time series against Arizona by a 47-12 margin, and has won the past 11 meetings dating back to March 8, 2004. The Cardinal has also captured 17 of the past 19 contests against the Wildcats.
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).
Starting The New Year Off Right
Stanford's 64-61 comeback victory got 2009 started off right, which was a welcome reversal from a year ago. Last year, the Cardinal was swept at UCLA and USC to begin the New Year, and fell to 2-2 in Pac-10 play. But with Friday's win, the Cardinal has now given itself a chance to begin the Pac-10 season with a perfect weekend, the ideal start to what will hopefully be an eighth consecutive successful defense of the Pac-10 regular-season title.
Friday's comeback victory marked the first time this season that Stanford overcame a halftime deficit to win a contest. Arizona State led 31-24 at halftime Friday, but the Cardinal rebounded to outscore the Sun Devils 40-30 in the second half, thanks in part to a late 14-0 run that turned a 10-point deficit into a four-point lead.
Deja Vu For The Sun Devils
For the second straight year, Stanford pulled off an impressive comeback victory over Arizona State in Tempe. Last January, the Cardinal trailed 31-20 at halftime, but stormed back in the second half, scoring 40 points (just as it did this year), taking the lead late and holding on for the victory. While last year it was Candice Wiggins providing the second-half heroics, this year it was Jillian Harmon going 8-for-11 from the field and putting up her first double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Cardinal past the Sun Devils.
Harmon Takes Over
Senior Jillian Harmon stepped up and powered the Cardinal past the Sun Devils, having a big second half with 10 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals as Stanford overcame a deficit of as much as 14 points in the second half. Harmon's effort marked her first double-double of the season, as she finished the game with 18 points (matching a season-high) and 10 rebounds. Harmon also hit 8-of-11 shots from the field and made three steals in a fine defensive effort.
Put `Em On Lockdown
The Cardinal's defensive effort in the game's final 10 minutes went a long way and played a vital role in the team's comeback victory over Arizona State Friday. After ASU's Becca Tobin scored a lay-up to make it 52-42 with 9:11 remaining, Stanford buckled down and for the next 5:08 went on a 14-0 run that turned the 10-point deficit into a 56-52 advantage. Over that span, the Cardinal defense held the Sun Devils to an 0-for-5 showing from the field and forced them into four turnovers.
Poppin' From The Outside
Sophomore Kayla Pedersen last year established herself as an outside shooting presence for the Cardinal on top of her stellar play inside, and that outside touch came in handy for Stanford Friday night. Pedersen hit key outside jumpers, and got things done both ways in the final minutes, hitting a key layup then draining a three-pointer to give the Cardinal a 56-52 lead with just over four minutes remaining. The native of nearby Fountain Hills, Ariz., also scored a layup with just 34 seconds remaining to give Stanford a 62-61 lead it would not relinquish.
Appel Keeps The Double-Doubles Coming
Junior center Jayne Appel posted her seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and a team-high 12 rebounds Friday at Arizona State, but she impressed most by playing with four fouls for 13:21 of the second half and not fouling out. After picking up her third and fourth fouls within the first 1:52 of the second half, Appel came out of the game, then returned with 14:39 left to play. With the exception of a 1:16 break, Appel played the rest of the second half and withstood ASU attempts to force her to pick up that fifth foul. In that span, Appel scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a shot while playing with four fouls.
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 Friday's game, Appel now boasts career totals of 1,204 points (22nd overall), 727 rebounds (eighth) and 174 blocked shots (second). Appel's tally of blocks is currently just 27 away from tying Val Whiting's all-time record of 201.
The Health Report
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.
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