One Step Away: No. 2/2 Stanford Faces No. 18/19 Iowa State With Final Four Berth On The Line
March 29, 2009
NCAA Tournament Regional Final
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (32-4, 17-1 Pac-10)
- vs. -
No. 18/19 Iowa State Cyclones (27-8, 11-5 Big 12)
90.1 KZSU & kzsulive.stanford.edu (Jake Kelman - Play-by-Play)
BERKELEY, Calif. - No. 2/2 Stanford has reached the 13th Regional Final in program history, and is just one step away from a repeat Final Four appearance. The Cardinal will battle the only team left in its path to St. Louis, the No. 18/19 Iowa State Cyclones, at 6 p.m. Monday night at Haas Pavilion in a contest will be televised live on ESPN, with Dave Pasch calling the action, Mary Murphy on color and Todd Harris reporting from the sidelines. The game can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU and on the Internet at kzsulive.stanford.edu, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties as well as on Westwood One Radio with Jim Kozimor calling the action and Krista Blunk on color.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal faced its stiffest test of the postseason Saturday night in the third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes, but broke open a close game in the final five minutes and coasted from there to an 84-66 victory. Jayne Appel went 11-for-20 from the field while posting double-double number 14 with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Appel, Jillian Harmon and Nnemkadi Ogwumike combined to score 41 of Stanford's 47 second-half points Saturday as the Cardinal offense also managed to shoot 50.8 percent for the contest. The defense played its part in the second half by limiting the Buckeyes to just 30.0 percent shooting after they had made 51.7 percent of their shots in the opening 20 minutes.
Scouting Iowa State
The Iowa State Cyclones (27-8, 11-5 Big 12), which finished tied for third in the Big 12 standings and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament, entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed. The Cyclones punched their tickets to the program's only other Regional Final since 1999 thanks to victories over East Tennessee State (85-53), Ball State (71-57) and Michigan State (69-68). Bill Fennelly is in his 14th year at the helm of the Iowa State program, and his squad is led by Alison Lacey (11.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Heather Ezell (11.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg).
All-Time Against Iowa State
Stanford leads the all-time series against Iowa State, 3-0, and captured the previous meeting with the Cyclones earlier this season, scoring an 83-45 victory at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic in Honolulu, Hawai'i on Nov. 29.
In The National Polls
Stanford came in at No. 2 in the final regular-season editions of both the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
A Look At The National Stat Leaders
Stanford was ranked in the national top 50 in 10 statistical categories through March 24: rebound margin (+13.2 - first), assists per game (18.8 - second), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.23 - second), scoring margin (+21.5 - second), field-goal percentage (47.2 - third), field-goal percentage defense (34.5 - seventh), points per game (76.3 - 11th), scoring defense (54.8 - 20th), blocked shots per game (4.8 - 29th) and fewest turnovers per game (15.2 - 35th). Individually, Jayne Appel is in the top 50 of one category: field-goal percentage (61.0 - fifth). Jeanette Pohlen is 26th in the nation with a 1.81 assist-to-turnover ratio and 49th with 2.3 three-pointers per game.
Stanford Rankings In The Pac-10
Stanford leads the Pac-10 in ten statistical categories through March 29: scoring (76.5 ppg), scoring margin (+21.5), field-goal percentage (47.2 percent), field-goal percentage defense (34.5 percent), rebounding (43.8 rpg), rebounding defense (30.7 rpg), rebounding margin (+13.2), blocked shots (4.8 per game), assists per game (18.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.23). Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike (63.1 percent) and Jayne Appel (60.0) are 1-2 in field-goal percentage. Appel also leads the conference in blocked shots (1.83 bpg), and is second in rebounding (9.1 rpg) and third in scoring (15.0 ppg). Jeanette Pohlen shares the lead the Pac-10 with 2.3 three-pointers per game and is second with a 1.72 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford is 55-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament over 23 appearances. The Cardinal's first NCAA Tournament was in 1981-82, when it fell 82-48 to Maryland in opening-round action at College Park, Md. Since then, the Cardinal disappeared from the postseason until 1987-88, which has begun a streak of 23 consecutive appearances in the Big Dance. Over that run, Stanford has captured a pair of national titles (1990, `92), been to the Final Four seven times (1990-92, `95-'97, 2008), reached 13 Elite Eights, and 16 Sweet Sixteens. Stanford has also reached the Regional Final five times over the past six seasons.
All-Time Against The Big 12 In The NCAAs
Monday's regional final game against Iowa State will be the 11th time that Stanford has faced off against a school from the Big 12 in NCAA Tournament action. The Cardinal is 6-4 against the Big 12 in previous NCAA Tournaments, although Saturday's contest will be the first meeting with Iowa State. Against the Big 12 schools in the NCAA Tournament, Stanford is 2-1 against Oklahoma, 1-2 against Colorado, 2-0 against Texas Tech, 1-0 against Missouri and 0-1 against Texas.
So We Meet Again
Monday's game against Iowa State will mark the second time this season that the Cardinal and Cyclones have met, as the teams crossed paths in Hawai'i at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic back on Nov. 29. That day, Stanford shot 50.0 percent from the floor while holding Iowa State to a 29.6 shooting mark in the 83-45 rout. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Sarah Boothe each scored 14 points for the Cardinal in the win.
Ogwumike Taking Over In The Postseason
The postseason is when the cream rises to the top, and freshman Nnemkadi Ogwumike has done that since the beginning of Stanford's postseason at the Pac-10 Tournament. Through the team's six postseason games, Ogwumike has averaged 16.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while shooting 62.5 percent from the field (35-for-56) and 76.3 percent from the free-throw line. Three of her five double-doubles this season have come in the postseason, including a career day of 27 points and 13 rebounds in last week's 77-49 second-round victory over San Diego State.
Winning The Battle Of The Bigs
Junior center Jayne Appel saved her best performance of the NCAA Tournament thus far for Saturday's highly-anticipated matchup against fellow Wade Trophy finalist Jantel Lavender of Ohio State. With a national television audience intently watching the battle of the standout posts, Appel went 11-for-20 from the field for 25 points while grabbing 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. Appel's tenacity in attacking the basket all game forced Lavender, who scored 15 points in the contest, into early foul trouble, as Lavender drew her fourth foul late in the second period and the ensuing Stanford run came as a direct result.
Pass It On
A key to Stanford's late surge that turned a tenuous four-point lead late into a double-digit, game-sealing advantage was the team's crisp passing and ball movement. With feeds into Jayne Appel and Nnemkadi Ogwumike, as well as kicks out to Jillian Harmon, the Cardinal totaled 19 assists in the contest, just over its average of 18.9 per game, good for second in the nation.
Three-Woman Scoring Show
If fans were thinking that they were watching a three-woman show in the second half of Stanford's victory of Ohio Stgate, it is understandable because Jayne Appel, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Jillian Harmon combined to score 41 of the Cardinal's 47 points. The trio combined to shoot 70.8 percent (17-for-24) from the floor over the final 20 minutes, key to Stanford's game-clinching surge in the final five minutes.