Appel's Double-Double, Wiggins' Return Key 65-55 Cardinal Win
March 3, 2007
STANFORD, Calif.- Candice Wiggins made an impressive return to Stanford's lineup, scoring 16 points with four 3-pointers to lead the seventh-ranked Cardinal past Arizona 65-55 Saturday night and into the Pac-10 tournament semifinals.
Wiggins missed the final two conference games with a hamstring injury, but coach Tara VanDerveer opted to start the two-time Pac-10 player of the year and monitor her closely. Wiggins played 35 minutes and hit back-to-back 3s to start an 8-2 spurt in the second half of Stanford's seventh straight win.
The Cardinal (26-4) advanced to play in the second semifinal Sunday against the winner of the late game between Southern California and Washington. Stanford is looking to win this championship again after losing 85-76 to UCLA in overtime last season to end the Cardinal's three-year run of conference tournament titles.
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Jayne Appel added 18 points, 13 rebounds and three assists for Stanford -- and she scored five straight points during one second-half stretch. Jillian Harmon scored 10 of her 11 points in the opening 10 minutes and dished out five assists, while Brooke Smith had nine points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Ashley Whisonant scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half and Joy Hollingsworth added 14 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats, who appeared to get tired in the second half against the physical Cardinal. Whisonant, Arizona's gutsy junior guard, was chasing Wiggins around for much of the night and eventually fouled out.
Stanford, coming off its school-record seventh straight Pac-10 regular-season title, led by 14 points in the first half, but needed a strong showing over the final 20 minutes after allowing Arizona to get back in it.The Wildcats started the game 3-for-14 and had a tough time getting anything going inside against the Cardinal's talented posts. Stanford made its first four 3-point attempts then missed seven straight during one stretch late in the half and was outscored 13-2 over the final 4:50 as the Wildcats pulled to 30-28 at the break.
NOTES: Stanford improves to 14-2 all-time in Pac-10 Tournament games ... Jillian Harmon's 11 points represented her ninth double-figure scoring game of the year and first since pouring in 13 against Oregon State on Jan. 20. And she picked a good time to do it, as Saturday was Harmon's 20th birthday ... With tonight's victory, the Cardinal matches last year's win total of 26 ... Jayne Appel registered her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds off the bench ... Stanford knocked down six three-pointers on Saturday night, equaling its total from the four previous games combined ... In the two games played during the regular season, Stanford averaged a 16.5-point halftime lead. The Cardinal led only 30-28 at intermission on Saturday evening ... Tonight's lineup of Melanie Murphy, Candice Wiggins, Jillian Harmon, Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin was just the sixth different combination head coach Tara VanDerveer has employed this year ... Brooke Smith's streak of eight consecutive games in double-figure scoring came to an end, as she finished with nine points ... Melanie Murphy is the only Cardinal player that has not attempted a three-pointer this year ... Only five teams have shot better than 40-percent in a game against the Cardinal this year ... Stanford owns a 45-12 all-time record against Arizona. The Cardinal has won the last nine meetings, with eight of those coming by double-digits ... Arizona's Ashley Whisonant, who scored a career-high 23 points yesterday against Oregon State, led the Wildcats with 18 on 7-15 shooting.