Unbeaten Stanford Faces First Real Test of the Season at Tennessee
Dec. 21, 2004
Tennessee has a habit of knocking unbeaten Stanford into the loss column.
The second-ranked Cardinal (8-0) will look to avoid its ninth straightdefeat to the ninth-ranked Lady Vols (7-2) when it continues a five-game roadtrip on Tuesday.
In the past three seasons, Stanford has entered its regular season matchupwith Tennessee undefeated only to suffer its first loss. The last time theCardinal started the season 8-0, it fell 68-62 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Dec.16, 2001.
Stanford also had its 5-0 and 6-0 starts spoiled in 2002 and 2003,respectively, and has lost eight straight against Tennessee since an 82-65victory at Knoxville on Dec. 15, 1996 - their lone win in eight games on theLady Vols' home court.
Stanford trails the all-time series 16-4, including a 62-60 loss in theregional finals of the NCAA tournament last season as Tennessee reached thechampionship game before losing to Connecticut. Two of the Cardinal's winsagainst the Lady Vols came on the way to championships in 1990 and 1992.
Stanford, one of three unbeaten teams in the rankings along with No. 1Louisiana State and No. 18 Iowa, is coming off a 71-55 win at Missouri onSaturday.
Freshman guard Candice Wiggins had 12 points and five rebounds and BrookeSmith led the Cardinal with 16 points. Kelley Suminski added 13 points and hitthree 3-pointers as Stanford finished 7-for-16 from the perimeter.
The Cardinal has only faced one ranked team this season, beating No. 12Texas Tech 61-58 on Nov. 28. It averages 75 points per game while holdingopponents to 49.1 points a contest.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt spent some time recruiting Wiggins, a freshmanstandout who paces the Cardinal with 16.5 points and has a team-high 25 steals.
'I love her game,' Summitt said. 'She can handle, she can shoot, she is aplaymaker, she creates for everyone else and makes everyone else alert andbetter on the floor.'
Despite Tennessee's dominance, Summitt will not take Stanford lightly.
'It is going to be another big challenge,' she said. 'They are good onthe defensive end, and we are concerned their inside game is better. They haveso many three-point weapons, and they are another team that stretches you andforces you to defend beyond the arc.'
Tennessee has emerging talent in its own backcourt. Freshman point guardSa'de Wiley-Gatewood came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers in hercollegiate debut and help the Lady Vols to an 82-55 win over Texas Christian athome on Sunday.
Senior forward Shyra Ely scored 23 points and Alexis Hornbuckle, thestarting point guard, added 15 for the Lady Vols who have won three straightsince a 59-57 loss to third-ranked Duke on Dec. 2 at home.
Wiley-Gatewood and Hornbuckle, another freshman, were put in charge ofTennessee's offense in place of Loree Moore, who is recovering from atonsillectomy. Hornbuckle also had six assists and five steals whileWiley-Gatewood finished with nine points, four assists and four steals.
Tennessee is averaging 76.7 points in its last three games, after managingjust 61.8 in its first six - which included a 74-59 loss at No. 4 Texas on Nov.25.
The Lady Vols are 243-14 all-time at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Thu 8/22 | 6:30pm PTLive