No. 2/2 Stanford Opens Pac-10 Play At Maples Pavilion Friday

Dec. 26, 2007

No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (10-1, 0-0 Pac-10)

- vs. -

Washington State Cougars (3-8, 0-0 Pac-10)

  • Friday, Dec. 28, 2007 - 7 p.m. PT

  • Maples Pavilion (7,233) - Stanford, Calif.

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    STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 2/2 Stanford women's basketball team begins its quest for an eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title, and head coach Tara VanDerveer seeks career win No. 700 this Friday night as the Cardinal hosts the Washington State Cougars at 7 p.m. Stanford then ends the weekend with Sunday's 2 p.m. contest against the Washington Huskies. Fans can hear both of this weekend's contests on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with Kevin Danna calling the action, filling in for Jake Kelman.

    Last Time Out For The Cardinal
    Stanford was victorious in both contests last week, raising its record to 10-1, the team's best start since 2002-03. But the bigger story was in the Cardinal capturing arguably the program's biggest win in the last decade, a 73-69 overtime decision against the top-ranked defending national champion Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Candice Wiggins, who scored 22 points in the win over Tennessee, as well as scoring 21 in last Tuesday's win at New Mexico, was named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second week in a row for her efforts. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude also played a pivotal role in the win over the Lady Vols, scoring 13 points in the game, with nine coming in the deciding overtime period.

    Scouting Washington State
    The Cougars (3-8) come into Friday's meeting having dropped four of its last five decisions. Helmed by June Daugherty in her first year, Washington State has lost its eight games by an average margin of 21.5 points, and the team's only win in December came on Dec. 16, a 78-72 overtime win over San Jose State in Pullman. Junior guard Katie Appleton leads the Cougars in scoring (13.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg).

    All-Time Against Washington State
    Stanford has not lost to Washington State in 44 all-time meetings heading into Friday. Last season, the Cardinal captured a 63-55 win at Pullman on Jan. 13, 2007, before defeating the Cougars 60-34 at Maples Pavilion on Feb. 8.

    The Cardinal In The Polls
    Stanford, ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll and fourth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll last week, leaped to the No. 2 spot in both polls thanks to its 73-69 overtime win over previously top-ranked Tennessee Saturday night. The No. 2 ranking is Stanford's highest since being ranked No. 1 for two weeks (March 7-21) near the end of the 2004-2005 season.

    Countdown To 700
    Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, who earned career win No. 699 Saturday, is closing in on yet another career milestone this month, needing only one more win to reach 700 for her illustrious career. Once VanDerveer has victory No. 700 in the bag, she will become just the seventh Division I women's basketball head coach to reach that mark. Currently, four of the six members of the '700 Club' are still among the active coaching ranks: Tennessee's Pat Summitt (957 wins through Dec. 25, 2007), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (785 wins), North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell (763 wins), and N.C. State's Kay Yow (718 wins).

    Among The National Stats Leaders
    The Cardinal found itself in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of Dec. 16, including: fewest turnovers per game (13.6 - fifth), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16 - eighth), scoring offense (74.7 - T-22nd), rebounding margin (+9.2 - 24th), scoring margin (+16.3 - 25th), and opponents' FG percentage (35.3% - 42nd). Individually, Jayne Appel's 2.2 blocks per game were tied for 37th in the nation, and her 54.3 FG percentage stood 50th. Candice Wiggins, meanwhile, was tied for 31st with her 88.9% success rate at the free-throw line. The NCAA did not update stats last week, and will come out with new stats again on Jan. 4.

    In The Pac-10 Rankings
    Through the games of Dec. 22, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in four categories: scoring margin (+15.3), free-throw percentage (73.0%), blocked shots (46 - 4.18 per game), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.15). The Cardinal also sits second in points per game (74.4 ppg), opponents' points per game (58.9 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (36.7%), rebounding (42.9 rpg), rebounding margin (+8.9), assists (16.09 apg), and turnover margin (+2.36). Individually, Candice Wiggins is second in the conference in scoring (18.7 ppg) and free-throw percentage (84.0%), third in steals (2.45 per game), and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.48). Jayne Appel leads the loop in blocks (26 - 2.36 per game), is second in rebounding (9.4 rpg), and fifth in field-goal percentage (52.7%), while freshman Kayla Pedersen is tied for third in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and free-throw percentage (81.1%).

    Two Weeks, Two Honors
    Senior guard Candice Wiggins was named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second week in a row, and the seventh time in her career on Christmas Eve, after leading Stanford to a pair of wins last week. Wiggins, who scored 21 points, grabbed six rebounds, and passed out six assists in last Tuesday's 73-54 win at New Mexico, grabbed the national spotlight once more Saturday, scoring 22 points and grabbing six boards to lead Stanford to a 73-69 overtime win against top-ranked and defending mational champion Tennessee.

    Solid Gold (-Onwude)
    Stanford got its most clutch buckets in last Saturday's big win over then-No. 1/1 Tennessee from a source not too many fans would've expected: redshirt sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. In overtime, Gold-Onwude came alive, draining a pair of threes and going 3-for-4 from the line to account for nine of Stanford's 10 points in the extra session, and earning herself a place in Stanford lore.

    This Double-Double Wasn't From In-N-Out
    Sophomore center Jayne Appel went into duty against the Tennessee front line with a steel resolve Saturday night and came out with her third double-double of the season. When all was said and done, Appel had powered her way to 19 points and 14 rebounds against the top-ranked team in the nation, and improved her season numbers to 16.1 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.

    The Shutdown Shift
    As part of the team effort in Stanford's 73-69 overtime win over Tennessee, a pair of defenders stood out in their efforts to shut down some of the key Lady Vol support pieces. Junior Jillian Harmon and freshman Jeanette Pohlen may have only scored a combined seven points against the Lady Vols, but their defensive intensity limited two of Tennessee's key front-court players, center Nicky Anosike and forward Angie Bjorklund, to just two points on combined 1-for-10 shooting.

    There's No Place Like Home
    Nov. 28's regular-season home opener against San Francisco opened up a stretch in which Stanford played six of its next seven games at home through the end of the calendar year. The Cardinal are currently 5-0 in this stretch, with only a pair of home dates, Washington State (Dec. 28), and Washington (Dec. 30), remaining. With the exception of the 2004-05 season, in which the Cardinal played its first two 'home' games at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center, the most games Stanford had played on the road prior to its home opener was five, in the 1987-88 season.

    Just Another Day At The Office
    Freshman forward Kayla Pedersen, who played head-to-head against Tennessee's reigning national player of the year Candace Parker Saturday night, responded by scoring nine points, grabbing eight rebounds, and passing out five assists in yet another fearless and effective performance. Saturday's performance continues to make Pedersen's case as one of the top freshmen in the nation.

    Hittin' The 10-Spot
    Stanford's 10-1 start to this season marks the team's best start since the 2002-03 season, and only the third time in the eight seasons of the new millenium that the Cardinal have won 10 of its first 11. In 2002-03, Stanford started 15-1, with the only loss being a 71-56 setback at Tennessee.

    Climbing To The Top Of The Record Books
    Heading into the 2007-08 season, senior guard Candice Wiggins stands on the brink of establishing multiple career records in the Stanford women's basketball annals. Currently, Wiggins is already the all-time Stanford leader with a career mark of 18.7 points per game, and now stands fourth with 2,043 career points. With 35 points in the Dec. 16 win over Baylor, Wiggins became the fifth player in Stanford history to score 2,000 career points, and needs just 173 more points to take over the top spot from all-time scoring leader Kate Starbird (2,215 points). Moving beyond the arc, Wiggins hit her 211th and 212th career three-pointers against Connecticut on Nov. 22, becoming the new all-time leader and breaking the previous record of 210, held by Vanessa Nygaard. Currently, she has 228 threes in her career. Additionally, Wiggins on Dec. 18 at New Mexico passed Sebnem Kimyacioglu's all-time mark of 549 career three-point attempts, and currently holds the mark with 564 career attempts. Finally, at the charity stripe, Wiggins is third all-time with her 435 career free throws, and currently sits fourth on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.5% success rate, just under two percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%.

    Streaking In December
    Last week's wins over New Mexico and Tennessee not only extended Stanford's current winning streak to seven games, but it also extended the Cardinal's December winning streak. Dating back to a 77-56 win at home over USC on Dec. 30, 2005, Stanford has now won 10 consecutive December contests. Last season, the Cardinal posted a perfect 6-0 record in the final month of the calendar year, and this season, is 5-0 with two games left.

    Home Sweet Home
    Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 290-32 (.901) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 177-12 (.937) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 87 of its last 94 games at Maples. Stanford's last loss in Maples was on March 19, 2007 to Florida State, while the last home conference loss was on Feb. 4, 2007, when California posted a 72-57 victory over the Cardinal.

    Bouncing Back
    Stanford has rebounded nicely from its only loss of the season Thanksgiving night to Connecticut, reeling off seven straight wins in response. Discounting last season's season-ending loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal responded to its previous two losses of 2006-07 with lengthy winning streaks. After a 74-69 loss at No. 8/8 Georgia on Nov. 26, 2006, the Cardinal reeled off 17 wins in a row. That streak was broken by a 72-57 loss to No. 21/21 California on Feb. 4, 2007, but the Cardinal re-energized from that hiccup with 10 consecutive wins.

    Running Away With `Em
    Dec. 16's 87-63 victory over then-No. 10/10 Baylor marked the third time in as many games, and the fourth time this season, that the Cardinal defeated an opponent by more than 20 points. The common factor in the three blowout wins from Nov. 28-Dec. 16 is that all three came at home in Maples Pavilion. After playing the first six games on the road, Stanford finally opened its home slate Nov. 28 against San Francisco, and blew out the Dons, 96-61. The Cardinal followed it up with a 62-41 win over UC Davis on Dec. 2, and capped off the three-game stand with the win over Baylor.

    Gotta Stay Healthy
    No matter how much talent is on any given roster, a team must stay as healthy as possible to give itself the best chance for a national title. Sophomore forward Michelle Harrison was lost for the year in the season opener at Yale with a torn ACL and sprained MCL in her left knee, and sophomore point guard Melanie Murphy was also lost for the year with a torn ACL on Nov. 24 against Old Dominion at the Paradise Jam. Freshman Ashley Cimino (back) has not yet seen action this season, and remains out.

    The Choice In The Pac-10...again
    For the eighth year in a row, seven-time defending conference champion Stanford has been voted as the favorite to win the 2007-08 Pac-10 women's basketball title, according to both the preseason coaches and media poll. The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll, tallying 79 points overall, and 17 of 18 top votes in the media poll, good for 179 points. Arizona State was picked as the runner-up in each poll.

    They Teach Tenacity
    Head coach Tara VanDerveer and her players are quick to point to a pair of former Cardinal stars when the subject comes to the team's aggressive defense. Assistant coaches Bobbie Kelsey and Kate Paye, members of the successful Cardinal teams of the early to mid-'90s, bring a hard-nosed, in-your-face toughness to the defensive improvement of the Cardinal.

    Preseason Recognition
    The honors have already begun rolling in for a pair of Cardinal players in 2007-08, as senior guard Candice Wiggins and sophomore forward/center Jayne Appel have been named to various preseason teams and award lists. Both players were named to the Preseason All-Pac-10 Team, and to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the prestigious Wooden Award. Wiggins, a three-time Kodak and Associated Press All-American, earned preseason All-America honors from the AP, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.

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