No. 4 Stanford Opens Season with Loyola Marymount in Preseason WNIT
Nov. 7, 2006
No. --/4 Stanford Cardinal (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Loyola Marymount Lions (0-0, 0-0 WCC)
Stanford's 2006-07 campaign begins on Thursday, Nov. 9, when the Cardinal (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) hosts Loyola Marymount (0-0, 0-0 WCC) in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at Maples Pavilion. Stanford, ranked No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, is making its first-ever appearance in the 16-team, single-elimination tourney that plays all of its contests at campus sites. Should the Cardinal advance, it would face the winner of BYU/Idaho State with Maples Pavilion likely serving as the host site. Thursday's contest against the Lions can be heard live on KZSU 90.1 FM. Fans can also watch a live webcast on Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com.
Reason For Excitement
Stanford finished 26-8 overall and 15-3 in the Pac-10 last year, advancing to the Elite Eight for the third straight year before falling to LSU in the San Antonio Regional final. Four starters and 10 letterwinners return from last year's squad, providing a reason for optimism both within the Cardinal program and on a national level. All-American candidates Candice Wiggins and Brooke Smith join a group of talented returnees and a highly-touted freshman class that combine to represent one of the deepest Cardinal teams in recent memory.
2006 Preseason WNIT Format
The Preseason WNIT includes 16 teams from around the nation in a single-elimination format. Host sites in the Preseason WNIT are determined on a game-by-game basis, however Stanford would likely remain home for at least two rounds. Should the Cardinal advance, potential opponents BYU and 2005 NCAA Champion Baylor await on its side of the bracket before possible matchups against Purdue, St. John's or NC State. Second-round games will be played on Nov. 12-13, semifinals on Nov. 15-16 and the championship is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 19.
Scouting Loyola Marymount
Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine have been chosen as co-favorites to claim the WCC title accoring to the coaches preseason poll. This marks the second straight season that the Lions have been tabbed as the league's preseason favorite. Loyola Marymount turned in a 17-12 record and a 10-4 mark in conference play last season to finish third in the WCC. The Lions return last season's WCC Newcomer of the Year in forward Ashlee Dunlap (11.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg), the only conference player to average a double-double on the year, as well as All-WCC honorable mention selection Amanda Patton, who set the LMU single-season record with 67 3-pointers made in 2005-06. In its only exhibition match of the year, Loyola Marymount notched an 85-68 win over the Melbourne Roos.
Stanford All-Time vs. Loyola Marymount
Stanford and Loyola Marymount have met only once on the hardwood, with the Cardinal prevailing 83-38 on Dec. 4, 1987. The two squads hooked up in the opening round of the Early Season Tournament in Honolulu.
Stanford All-Time In Season Openers
Stanford is 20-11 all-time in season openers and currently sports a five-game winning streak in such games. Thursday's game marks just the third time in the last 10 years that the Cardinal has opened its season at Maples Pavilion. Last year, Stanford cruised past Long Island 69-28 at the Minnesota Subway Classic in its lid-lifter. The Cardinal has not dropped a season opener at home since a 68-66 loss to Fresno State on Nov. 16, 1983.
Two Exhibitions In The Books
The Cardinal registered back-to-back exhibition victories last week in a final tune-up for the regular season. In a 103-57 rout of Chico State, Brooke Smith scored a game-high 28 points in 23 minutes to lead five Cardinal players in double-figures. Two days later against Love and Basketball, Stanford recorded an 84-78 win. Kristen Newlin (20 points, 10-10 free throws) and Brooke Smith (19 points on 8-14 shooting) led a balanced offensive attack as the Cardinal shot 53.6-percent while holding a 37-26 rebounding edge.
The Choice In The Pac-10...again
For the seventh year in a row, six-time defending conference champion Stanford has been voted as the favorite to win the 2006-07 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. Arizona State was picked as the runner-up, receiving one first-place vote and totaling 70 points. 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.
Winning With Wiggins
The preseason accolades continue to pile up for junior guard Candice Wiggins, two-time All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year. Most recently, Wiggins was named to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the 2006-07 John R. Wooden Award. That comes on the heels of being named to the 25-player watch list for the Wade Trophy. The 26th player in school history to score 1,000 points in her career, Wiggins led the Pac-10 in scoring (21.8 ppg) last year and currently ranks 17th in school history with 1,352 points scored entering her junior season. Currently the school record-holder in points per game, Wiggins is averaging 19.6 points per contest over two seasons. She is also third in program history in free throw percentage (82.9).
Smith's Senior Year Should Be Special
Stanford boasts yet another All-American candidate in senior forward/center Brooke Smith. Just like Wiggins, Smith has also been named to the 25-player watch list for the Wade Trophy. Smith was tabbed an honorable mention All-American as a junior in 2005-06. Also a member of the 1,000-point club at Stanford, Smith is currently the school record-holder in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1-percent from the field. In 2005-06, Smith averaged 17.2 points per game while leading the Cardinal with 7.5 rebounds per contest.
VanDerveer Signs On For Six
Head coach Tara VanDerveer has signed a six-year contract extension that will keep her on The Farm through the 2011-12 campaign. Regarded in the profession as one of the most well-respected and dynamic coaches in the country, VanDerveer has notched an impressive 660-179 (.787) overall record in her 27 years of collegiate coaching. Currently in her 21st year at the helm of the Cardinal, she owns a sparkling 508-128 (.799) record. During her tenure on The Farm, she has led the Cardinal to two NCAA Championships, five NCAA Final Four appearances, 14 Pac-10 titles and 18 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Pac-10, National Recognition
In addition to being picked to win the Pac-10 for a seventh straight season, six-time defending conference champion Stanford is a consensus national championship contender in 2006-07. The Cardinal is ranked No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll, which features six Pac-10 teams ranked among the top-25. The high ranking follows a pattern of earlier publications such as ESPN.com (No. 3), Street & Smith's (No. 4), Lindy's (No. 3) and Athlon Sports (No. 4). And it might be early, but ESPN.com has already projected Stanford as a No. 1 seed for the 2006-07 NCAA Tournament.
Just Stay Healthy Though...
Every team has its share of bumps and bruises early, and that includes the Cardinal. Fortunately, the club looks to be in good shape thanks to its depth. Sophomore guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude is rehabbing after suffering an ACL tear in the spring and is expected back at the start of Pac-10 play. Freshman forward/center Jayne Appel is recovering from a left shoulder sprain and should return in approximately 10 days. Junior Candice Wiggins is day-to-day after suffering a bruise to her left foot.
Quick Glance At The Schedule
An early SEC road trip, a first-ever appearance in the Preseason WNIT and 14 opponents that participated in postseason play last year highlight Stanford's 2006-07 schedule. Stanford will play at least 15 home games at Maples Pavilion, which should be welcomed news for a Cardinal club that has won 68 of its last 72 games at home while posting an impressive 12-1 record in the arena last year. As always, the schedule is littered with traditional powerhouses and programs on the rise. Not to mention the challenging Pac-10, which placed six teams in last year's NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. 14 of the 19 listed opponents on this year's schedule advanced to either the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season.
Appel Helps USA Claim Gold Medal
Back in July, freshman forward/center Jayne Appel helped the USA Basketball U18 Women's National Team (4-0) win a gold medal at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Women with four-straight wins at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Appel averaged seven points, nine rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just under 16 minutes per game during the tournament. In the championship game against Canada, Appel started for the U.S. and posted nine points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in just 22 minutes. In the semifinal round, Appel pulled down nine rebounds and three blocks against Argentina, and in the quarterfinals against Brazil, she posted eight points and four rebounds despite playing only 13 minutes.
NCAA Tournament Notes
Stanford is 43-17 all-time in NCAA Tournament action and has made 20 appearances overall. The Cardinal has advanced to the Regional Finals in each of the last three seasons. However, Stanford has not won a Regional Final game since 1997, when the Cardinal advanced to the Final Four in Cincinnati.
With Candice Wiggins and Brooke Smith having both scored more than 500 points in 2005-06, it marked just the fifth time that Stanford has had two players score 500 or more points in the same season and the first time since 2001-02 when Nicole Powell scored 581 points and Lindsey Yamasaki added 551. The other duos to both score 500 points were: Kate Starbird and Olympia Scott in 1996-97; Julie Zeilstra and Sonja Henning in 1990-91; and Meg Metzger and Jeanne Ruark Hoff in 1982-83.
Last year's 26-8 overall ledger translated into Stanford's 17th season with 20 or more wins. Stanford has won 20+ games in each of the last five seasons and six of the last seven. The Cardinal last reached the 30-win plateau in 2004-05, as the club finished 32-3 while capturing the Pac-10 title and advancing to the Elite Eight.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 272-29 (.904) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 169-11 all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has won 68 of its last 72 games at Maples and 11 straight since a 74-67 loss to Tennessee back on Dec. 4, 2005. With a 78-47 win over Washington State on Feb. 25, 2006, Stanford improved its conference home win streak to 46 games. Stanford's last conference loss in Maples was on March 1, 2001, when USC posted a 62-59 victory over the Cardinal. No member of the current Stanford team has ever lost a conference game in Maples.
Cardinal Well-Represented On 2005-06 All Pac-10 Team
Candice Wiggins was named the 2005-06 Pac-10 Player of the Year and Tara VanDerveer was voted the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Wiggins is just the sixth player to receive two Pac-10 Player of the Year awards, and the fifth to receive the honor in consecutive seasons. VanDerveer has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year eight times, including each of the last two seasons. Brooke Smith was selected to the All-Pac-10 team, her second All-Conference selection in as many seasons with the Cardinal. Jillian Harmon was named to the All-Freshman team, the 21st Cardinal to claim rookie honors and third consecutive. Fellow newcomer Rosalyn Gold-Onwude was an honorable mention selection to the All-Freshman squad.