Saturday Night Special: No. 6/5 Stanford And No. 3/3 California Battle For Control Of The Pac-10
Feb. 10, 2009
No. 6/5 Stanford Cardinal (19-4, 10-1)
- vs. -
No. 3/3 California Golden Bears (20-2, 11-0)
STANFORD, Calif. - There will be no love lost on Valentine's Day Saturday night as No. 6/5 Stanford (19-4, 10-1 Pac-10) hosts bitter rival No. 3/3 California (20-2, 11-0 Pac-10) in an 8 p.m. contest set to be televised on Comcast SportsNet. Once again, Jim Watson will be calling the action with Mary Murphy handling color commentary for Saturday's contest. The game can also be heard live on 90.1 KZSU and on the Internet at kzsulive.stanford.edu, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties and Andrew Shen on color. Saturday's contest will also be Stanford's 'Pink Zone' game and fans are encouraged to wear pink as the Cardinal teams up with the WBCA to help promote breast cancer awareness.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal finished its last out-of-state trip of the regular season on a high note last Sunday, defeating the Washington Huskies, 76-54, in Seattle. The victory closed out a sweep of the Huskies and the Washington State Cougars. Jeanette Pohlen was 4-for-7 from behind the arc in a 19-point effort against the Huskies, while Kayla Pedersen posted her sixth double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Jayne Appel (16 points, nine rebounds) and Jillian Harmon (10 points) rounded out Stanford double-digit scorers in the contest. The quartet combined to shoot 57.6 (19-for-33) from the field as the Cardinal as a whole shot a combined 51.0 percent (25-for-49) in the victory.
The California Golden Bears (20-2, 11-0 Pac-10) head into Saturday's game on a 12-game winning streak, including a program-best 11-0 start to Pac-10 play. Head coach Joanne Boyle, in her fourth season at the helm of the California program, oversees a squad led by the play of Pac-10 leading scorer Ashley Walker (20.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and point guard Alexis Gray-Lawson (12.8 ppg, 3.64 apg).
All-Time Against California
Stanford leads the all-time series against California, 50-17, and has won 32 of the past 35 meetings with the Golden Bears. Yet the Golden Bears managed to capture the first 'Battle of the Bay' meeting on Jan. 18 in Berkeley, riding Alexis Gray-Lawson's career-high 37 points to a 57-54 victory. Stanford has not suffered a regular-season sweep by California since 1985-86.
In The National Polls
After sweeping last weekends games against Washington State and Washington, Stanford rose to No. 6 in this week's Associated Press Poll and to No. 5 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
A Look At The National Stat Leaders
Stanford was ranked in the national top 50 in 11 statistical categories through Feb. 8: rebound margin (+13.2 - first), assists per game (18.8 - second), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.28 - second), scoring margin (+22.1 - third), field-goal percentage (46.4 - fourth), field-goal percentage defense (34.1 - seventh), points per game (77.5 - 10th), fewest turnovers per game (14.7 - 16th), blocked shots per game (5.0 - 24th), scoring defense (55.3 - 27th), three-pointers per game (6.3 - 48th). Individually, Jayne Appel is in the top 50 of two categories: field-goal percentage (62.5 - fourth), blocks per game (2.0 - 47th) and rebounds per game (9.2 - 49th). Jeanette Pohlen is ninth in the nation with a 2.23 assist-to-turnover ratio and 43rd with 2.4 three-pointers per game.
Stanford Rankings In The Pac-10
Stanford leads the Pac-10 in nine statistical categories through Feb. 8: scoring (77.5 ppg), scoring margin (+22.1), field-goal percentage (46.4 percent), field-goal percentage defense (34.1 percent), rebounding (44.6 rpg), rebounding margin (+13.2), blocked shots (5.0 per game), assists per game (18.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.28). Individually, Jayne Appel (62.5 percent) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (62.1) are one-two in field-goal percentage. Appel also ranks second in rebounding (9.2 rpg), third in scoring (15.4 ppg) and second in blocked shots (1.96 bpg). Jeanette Pohlen leads the Pac-10 with a 2.23 assist-to-turnover ratio and is second with 2.4 three-pointers per game.
Maples Is The Place To Be Saturday Night
Saturday night's clash with No. 3/3 California raises the bar in the Stanford-California rivalry, as not only are the Pac-10 regular-season title and top seed at the conference tournament at stake, but the No. 3/3 (California) vs. No. 6/5 (Stanford) matchup is the highest the two teams have been ranked together at the time of a meeting in this series. The game is also the fourth time in the series that both Stanford and California are ranked in the top-10 of both national polls at the time of their meeting.
Oh No You Didn't
For only the fourth time since the 1993-94 season, Stanford goes into a game with California not on a winning streak against the Golden Bears. In the last meeting between the two schools, California came out on top, 57-54, in Berkeley thanks to a career day from Alexis Gray-Lawson, who scored 37 of California's 57 points. That loss also marked the first time since the 1991-92 season that the Cardinal had dropped the first of two regular-season meetings with the Golden Bears. That year, Stanford fell 74-65 to California in Berkeley on Jan. 10, 1992 before rebounding two months later on March 13 with a close 83-81 victory at Maples Pavilion.
Battle Of The Bay May Hinge On The Battle Of The Bigs
Stanford's front line performed admirably on both ends of the floor in the last 'Battle of the Bay' meeting, as Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen combined for 32 points on 52.0-percent shooting (13-for-25) and 16 rebounds, and held California's talented tandem of Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton to a just a combined 11 points (only four field goals in eight combined attempts) and 11 rebounds. Now, with Stanford's new starting lineup adding freshman Nnemkadi Ogwumike to the mix and fellow rookie Sarah Boothe in reserve, this edition of the rivalry may be decided in the paint.
Harmon's Hearing The 'Swish'
Senior Jillian Harmon, who moved to the shooting guard position in last weekend's lineups, continued her recent streak of solid marksmanship in Washington. Against Washington State and Washington, Harmon shot a combined 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from the field while averaging 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.00 assists per game. In fact, over Stanford's current six-game winning streak, Harmon has been one of Stanford's top shooters, hitting on 50.8 percent (32-for-63) of her attempts since the Jan. 18 loss at California.
Wanting It More
Stanford's NCAA-best +13.2 rebounding margin is proof of the Cardinal's dedication to hustle and determination on the boards this season. Through 23 games, Stanford has out-rebounded its opponent in 20 of those. On the year, Stanford's margin is on pace to be the best in program history, as it is well ahead of the previous season record of +9.2 in 1994-95. The team has also grabbed 1,026 rebounds (44.6 per game) through Feb. 8, which, should the Cardinal play at least 13 more games (seven regular-season, three Pac-10 Tournament games, at least three NCAA Tournament games), has a chance at breaking last year's single-season team mark of 1,609 rebounds.
Fighting Back To The Top
Saturday night's clash against California is very reminiscent of last season's second game in the 'Battle of the Bay' series, as the Cardinal were a single game back of the Golden Bears at the time. Last year, Stanford snagged a 60-58 victory in Berkeley to pull even with California, and will look to do the same thing this Saturday night at Maples Pavilion.
Appel Wants To Earn A Three
Last year, as Jayne Appel was a regular in the NCAA top-ten for shooting percentage, the joke was that Appel would be allowed to shoot a three-pointer only if she led the nation in the category. It never happened last season, but in 2008-09, Appel is very close to that coveted three-point attempt, currently fourth in the nation with a 62.5 percent showing from the field. The Pleasant Hill native increased her percentage thanks to a combined 17-for-23 performance (73.9 percent) last weekend.
Running The Point And Draining Threes
Sophomore guard Jeanette Pohlen moved over to run the point this past weekend and turned in one of her best all-around weekend's of the season. Over the two victories, Pohlen averaged 12.5 points, topping out with a 19-point effort at Washington. Running the point, she dished out 4.00 assists per game and even grabbed 4.0 rebounds a game. Just as importantly, she hit six three-pointers on the weekend, heating up as Saturday's critical game against California approaches.
Increasing The Accuracy
Among the five statistical categories in which Stanford is ranked in the national top five, the Cardinal's 46.4-percent shooting percentage (fifth in the rankings) demonstrates the team's quality shot selection. So far this season, Stanford has made at least half of its field-goal attempts in 10 of its 23 games, topping out with a 57.1-percent showing on Jan. 8 against Washington.
Double The Perfection
In her first full weekend as a member of the starting five, freshman forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike ably performed as one-third of Stanford's towering front-line alongside Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen. Over the two wins, Ogwumike shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. Her performance from the field increased her shooting percentage to 62.1 percent, good for second in the Pac-10.
Harmon's Closing In On A Grand
Senior forward Jillian Harmon has been closing in on becoming the 29th player in Stanford women's basketball history to reach the 1,000 career point mark. Through the Feb. 6 game at Washington State, Harmon stands at 959 career points, and with seven regular-season contests, at least one Pac-10 Tournament game and at least one NCAA Tournament game remaining, Harmon needs only to average just 4.6 points per game to reach 1,000.
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 is also out for the season after undergoing offseason foot surgery.
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 Saturday's game, Appel now boasts career totals of 1,376 points (17th overall), 805 rebounds (fifth) and 190 blocked shots (second). Appel's tally of blocks is currently just 11 away from tying Val Whiting's all-time record of 201, and it is seventh on the all-time Pac-10 list.
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