Stanford Women's Basketball Opens Exhibition Slate Sunday Against Vanguard
Oct. 28, 2009
Stanford Cardinal (0-0)
- vs. -
Vanguard Lions (0-0)
STANFORD, Calif. - The 2009-10 Stanford women's basketball team will see its first competitive action of 2009-10 with an exhibition contest on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m. against the Vanguard Lions. The teams met in an exhibition at Maples Pavilion last year, as well, with Stanford claiming an 87-41 victory. Sunday's exhibition contest against Vanguard can be heard live on KZSU 90.1 FM with Teddy Steinkellner on the call.
Going For Three In A Row
Stanford finished 33-5 overall, claimed its ninth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title, its sixth Pac-10 Tournament title, and made its second straight (eighth overall) Final Four appearance in program history in 2008-09. The Cardinal reached the NCAA Tournament for the 22nd year in a row, claiming the Berkeley Regional title and reaching the national semifinal. This year, Stanford returns 13 players, including four starters, from its 2008-09 Final Four squad and welcomes a pair of decorated freshmen to The Farm in Mikaela Ruef (Beavercreek, Ohio) and Joslyn Tinkle (Missoula, Mont.). The Cardinal's path to a third straight Final Four begins on Friday, Nov. 13 against Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va.
Starting The Season Off Right
Stanford is 23-11 all-time in season openers and currently sports an eight-game winning streak in such games. The Nov. 13 game at Old Dominion also marks the 18th time since Tara VanDerveer's first season as Stanford head coach in 1985-86 that Stanford has opened a campaign on a foreign court. But that has not proven to be a problem as the Cardinal is 13-4 in those previous 17 road and neutral court openers. Under VanDerveer, Stanford is 18-5 season openers, and has not dropped the first game of the regular season since a 75-64 loss at Saint Mary's on Nov. 17, 2000.
'Boot'-ing Up The New Season
Stanford got a head start on preparing for the 2009-10 season as it took its international trip from Sept. 4-13 to that certain European nation shaped like a boot, Italy. There, the Cardinal enjoyed the sights, fine food and culture of Rome, Florence and Milan as well as playing some bruising basketball. In four games against local Italian teams, Stanford posted a 3-1 record, losing only in the trip's finale to Sesto San Giovanni by a score of 73-62.
After posting a 33-5 record last year, Stanford won't have too much to worry about when it comes to replacing many lost letterwinners, as it returns 13 players in 2009-10. The only players lost to graduation are guard/forward Jillian Harmon and forward/center Morgan Clyburn, who was injured and did not play in 2008-09. In numbers, Stanford returns 88.1 percent of its scoring output (2,548 of 2,893 points), 90.3 percent of its total rebounding (1,501 of 1,663 total rebounds) and 87.1 percent of its total field goals made (956 out of 1,098), just to name a few statistical categories.
The more appropriate question to this would be, 'Who's NOT back?' Stanford's 13 returners are highlighted by 2009 State Farm Coaches' All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year Jayne Appel, a senior center who averaged 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and shot 60.9 percent from the floor last year. Appel, an early favorite for national player of the year, is joined by junior Kayla Pedersen (10.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.21 apg) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (10.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 62.9 fg pct.) underneath to form arguably the nation's biggest and most formidable front court. In the backcourt, junior Jeanette Pohlen (10.7 ppg, 3.84 apg, 83 three-pointers) returns to her normal shooting guard spot as JJ Hones returns to point guard duties after having her 2008-09 campaign cut short due to a torn ACL suffered on Nov. 23. Also providing depth are senior point guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (3.8 ppg, 2.37 apg) and sophomore gunner Lindy La Rocque (37 three-pointers).
The Coaches Back The Cardinal
For the 10th year in a row, nine-time defending regular season champion Stanford has been voted as the favorite to win the Pac-10 women's basketball title, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Cardinal received nine of 10 first-place votes in the poll, tallying 81 points overall. California was second with 67 points, while Arizona State nabbed the remaining first-place vote and was third with 64 points. USC and UCLA rounded out the top five with 63 and 48 points, respectively. The preseason coaches' poll follows a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 format. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Casting Quite A Shadow
Stanford boasts one of the tallest teams in the nation heading into the 2009-10 season, as eight of the 15 players on the roster are listed at 6-2 or taller. Sophomore Sarah Boothe is the tallest among the Stanford posts at 6-5, while Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen are next at 6-4. After that, Ashley Cimino and Michelle Harrison are listed at 6-3 while Nnemkadi Ogwumike adds her 6-2 stature, along with a great vertical leap, to the group. The remaining two towers are the incoming freshmen, Joslyn Tinkle and Mikaela Ruef, who each measure in at 6-3.
Early Player Of The Year Recognition
In what many Stanford fans hope will be a sign of good things to come in 2009-10, the Cardinal trio of Jayne Appel, Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen has already begun reeling in early-season accolades and national player of the year mention. All three standouts have been named to the WBCA Preseason Wade Watch list for the Wade Trophy Player of the Year award, and Appel and Pohlen were soonafter announced as being on the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award.
This Is The Year For Appel
Senior center Jayne Appel heads into the 2009-10 season as one of the early favorites for national player of the year honors. The Pleasant Hill, Calif. native is coming off of an All-America season in 2008-09 in which she was second in the Pac-10 with 16.1 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game and a 60.9 shooting percentage. Those totals, including Appel's sheer dominance around the basket, also earned her Pac-10 Player of the Year honors as well as the Berkeley Regional MVP after she scored a Stanford single-game program record 46 points against Iowa State. This season, Appel is again surrounded by All-Pac-10 talent in forwards Kayla Pedersen and Nnemkadi Ogwumike and guard Jeanette Pohlen, preventing defenses from keying in too much on her.
What A Breakout
Junior guard Jeanette Pohlen enjoyed a breakout season last year, playing both guard positions and finishing third on the team in scoring with 10.7 points per game and leading the team in assists with 146, an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.72 and three-pointers with 83. Pohlen not only established herself as Stanford's key deep threat, but also proved that she is adept at running an offense by taking over point guard duties late in the season and passing out 3.84 assists per game.
A Look At What's In Store For 2009-10
Once again in 2009-10, Stanford will play one of the nation's toughest schedules, as 10 of the team's opponents reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Eight of the Cardinal's 11 non-conference opponents made the postseason in 2008-09, while four of those opponents won their respective conference's title: Utah (Mountain West Conference), Gonzaga (West Coast Conference), Connecticut (Big East) and Fresno State (Western Athletic Conference).
Stanford will also experience a trying nine-game stretch from Nov. 27-Jan. 2 in which all of its opponents in that span are 2008-09 NCAA Tournament teams, starting with Utah and ending with the Cardinal's Pac-10 opener at home against California. The non-conference schedule is highlighted by trips to Rutgers (Nov. 15) and Connecticut (Dec. 23) and home dates against up-and-coming programs like Utah (Nov. 27) and Gonzaga (Nov. 29), as well as established powers Duke (Dec. 15) and Tennessee (Dec. 19). Pac-10 play is bookended with games against East Bay rival California (Jan. 2, March 6) with the usual home-and-home dates against schools such as Arizona State, UCLA and USC.
The Health Report
The Cardinal heads into Sunday's exhibition against Vanguard relatively healthy. JJ Hones will return to action after recovering from a torn ACL suffered last November, while Jayne Appel should also be ready for action after offseason knee surgery. Junior guard Hannah Donaghe is a question mark while on the back end of recovery from her own ACL tear suffered last February, and sophomore forward/center Sarah Boothe's status is also in doubt following foot surgery over the summer.
Back With A Vengeance
Returning from a serious injury always puts a player in the spotlight, but point guard JJ Hones has handled the pressure before, returning two years ago from the same torn ACL injury to run the Cardinal to its first Final Four appearance in 11 years. Despite re-injuring her knee just four games into last year, Hones has recovered and worked her way back into playing shape and is ready for another big year as the quarterback of the potent Cardinal offense.
A Golden Summer
Three Stanford stars kept busy with competitive international basketball over the summer, as Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen helped lead the USA Basketball World University Games Team to the gold medal at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike co-captained the USA Basketball U19 National Team to gold at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.
Pedersen and Pohlen helped the U.S. to a perfect 7-0 run, with Pedersen starting four of the games and averaging 7.1 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Pohlen started seven games, scoring 5.0 points and dishing out 3.0 assists per game. Ogwumike, in her competition, was named to the U19 All-Tournament Team after turning in a 22-point, 20-rebound effort in the American side's gold medal-winning victory over Spain.
Three-Year Stretch Of Dominance
Last year's 33-5 record not only marked Stanford's second consecutive 30-win season, the first time the feat had been achieved in program history, but it also continued one of the most dominant stretches of play for the Cardinal over the years. After winning 29 games in 2006-07, then a program-record 35 in 2007-08 and 33 last year, the Cardinal has tallied 97 wins over the past three campaigns, the most over any three-year stretch in program history.
Undefeated Home Season No. 3?
Entering the 2009-10 season, Stanford is riding a 29-game winning streak at Maples Pavilion, the fourth-longest streak in school history. The longest streak stretched from Nov. 25, 1994 and ended on March 14, 1998 with Stanford's 71-67 first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Harvard. The current streak has run over two full seasons, and the Cardinal, with the potential for 16 home regular-season dates this season, can pull off three straight undefeated home seasons for the first time since 1994-96.
Silent But Deadly
While she may keep an even-keel off the court, junior forward Kayla Pedersen has earned a reputation as one of the hardest and most intense workers on the hardwood after two strong seasons on The Farm. The Fountain Hills, Ariz. native heads into the 2009-10 season with career averages of 11.7 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, and is only 98 points away from becoming Stanford's 30th player to score 1,000 career points.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 313-32 (.907) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 195-12 (.942) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 112 of its last 119 games at Maples. The last time the Cardinal lost at Maples Pavilion was March 19, 2007 against Florida State in a second-round NCAA Tournament game. Stanford's last conference loss at Maples was on Feb. 4, 2007, when California posted a 72-57 victory over the Cardinal.
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