No. 7/6 Stanford Heads To The Desert This Weekend
Jan. 15, 2008
No. 7/6 Stanford Cardinal (14-3, 4-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Arizona Wildcats (6-10, 0-5 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 7/6 Stanford women's basketball team hits the road for the final time in January this weekend, traveling to the desert for a pair of contests. The Cardinal open things up Thursday night against the Arizona Wildcats in a 6 p.m. PT contest, before closing out the weekend Sunday with a 1 p.m. PT game in Tempe against the No. -/25 Arizona State Sun Devils. Fans can watch Sunday's contest against ASU live on FSN Bay Area, while both games will be available on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman calling the action.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
The Cardinal rebounded from consecutive losses in Los Angeles with a pair of home routs of Oregon State and Oregon last week. Thursday night, Jayne Appel's 12-of-13 shooting for 25 points, along with eight rebounds, paced Stanford to a 42-19 halftime advantage over the Beavers, and an eventual 81-45 victory. Saturday, the Cardinal got 20 points from Candice Wiggins, as well as a 15-point, nine-rebound effort from Jillian Harmon that helped the team cruise to an 83-49 victory over the Ducks. With the wins, the Cardinal improved its record to 8-0 this season at Maples Pavilion.
The Wildcats (6-10, 0-5 Pac-10) head into this week still looking for their first win in conference play. Arizona is on a six-game skid overall, and has had four of those six losses come by nine points or less. Helmed by Joan Bonvicini in her 17th year at Arizona, and 29th overall, the Wildcats are led on the court by guard Ashley Whisonant (16.1 ppg), as well as forwards Amina Njonkou (13.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Ify Ibekwe (10.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg).
All-Time Against Arizona
Stanford holds a 45-12 advantage in the all-time series against Arizona heading into Thursday's contest. The Cardinal has also won nine straight contests, and 11 of the last 12, in the series.
The Cardinal In The Polls
A pair of lopsided wins last weekend kept Stanford ranked seventh in the Associated Press Poll, but moved the Cardinal up to sixth in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal found itself in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of Jan. 6, including: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19 - sixth), fewest turnovers per game (13.9 - eighth), scoring margin (+18.8 - ninth), rebounding margin (+8.9 - 16th), scoring offense (76.0 - T-16th), assists per game (16.6 - 20th), FG percentage (45.3% - 25th), FG percentage defense (36.1% - 41st), and scoring defense (57.2 - T-43rd). Individually, Jayne Appel's 56.0 FG percentage stood 26th in the nation and her 2.0 blocks per game were tied for 45th. Candice Wiggins stands tied for 43rd with 17.6 points per game.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the games of Jan. 14, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (76.0 ppg), scoring margin (+18.8), FG percentage (45.3%), blocked shots (73 - 4.29 per game), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19). The Cardinal also sits second in opponents' points per game (57.2 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (36.1%), rebounding (42.7 rpg), rebounding margin (+8.9), and turnover margin (+3.88), while the team is third in free-throw percentage (70.4%) and rebounding defense (33.8). Individually, Candice Wiggins is second in the conference in scoring (17.6 ppg), free-throw percentage (81.7%), and tied for third in steals (2.24 per game). Jayne Appel leads the loop in blocks (34 - 2.00 per game), is third in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and field-goal percentage (56.0%), and fifth in scoring (15.6 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is second in rebounding (8.5 rpg).
The 700 Club
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer became just the seventh member of the '700 Club' on Dec. 28, earning career win No. 700 with the 105-47 victory over Washington State. Of the seven members, VanDerveer is the second-fastest to have reached 700 wins, needing just 885 games to accomplish the feat. Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt was the fastest, reaching 700 wins in 847 total games. Following the win over the Cougars, VanDerveer was feted by the Maples Pavilion crowd, as a video tribute to her career was played and Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a commemorative basketball.
You Won't Like Them When They're Angry
To say that the Stanford women were looking to let out some pent-up frustration last week would be an understatement. After suffering its first sweep in Los Angeles in 14 years, the Cardinal loosed a week's worth of aggression on Oregon State and Oregon, winning the two contests by a combined 70 points (81-45 vs. OSU, 83-49 vs. UO). The wins raised Stanford's average home margin of victory to 30.3 points.
This weekend's trip to the state of Arizona is set to be a homecoming for freshman forward Kayla Pedersen. A two-time Gatorade Player of the Year (2006-07) and McDonald's All-American as a senior in 2007, Pedersen helped lead her Red Mountain High squad to the 5A-DI State title as a senior, and set the 5A state record for career points scored with 2,611 in her varsity career. At the collegiate level, Pedersen, a Fountain Hills native (just over 20 miles away from Tempe, where Arizona State is located), has established herself as one of the top freshmen in the nation, averaging 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Another big reason that the Cardinal was able to dominate the games against the Beavers and Ducks last weekend was Stanford's combined 53.7 shooting percentage (66-for-123). Against Oregon State, Jayne Appel's 12-for-13, 25-point performance from the floor highlighted Stanford's 56.1% effort (32-for-57), while Saturday against Oregon, Jill Harmon (6-for-7, 15 points) and Jeanette Pohlen (6-for-9 FGs, 3-for-4 on three-pointers, 15 points) paced the Cardinal's 51.5% (34-for-66) performance from the floor.
I'll Take That, Thanks
Not to be outdone by the offense's pinpoint accuracy, the Stanford defense brought a formidable intensity to last weekend's contests, as well. Over the two games, Stanford's D forced Oregon State and Oregon into a combined 52 turnovers. The defensive efforts of the Cardinal, along with its improved protection of the ball (only 28 turnovers on the weekend) helped improve its turnover margin to a Pac-10-leading 3.88.
Stanford has a tendency to rebound nicely from losses, even ones that come back-to-back. Consecutive wins over Oregon State and Oregon mark the start of a good recovery from the sweep in Los Angeles. Following its first loss of this season on Thanksgiving night to Connecticut, Stanford reeled off nine straight wins in response. Discounting last year'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 losses at No. 4/4 Tennessee and No. 8/8 Georgia on Nov. 24 & 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.
Sophomore center Jayne Appel saw her shooting percentage skyrocket following a weekend in which she shot an incredible 14-of-15 (93.3%) from the floor. Appel's 12-for-13, 25-point, eight-rebound performance, including scoring the first six points of the game, carried the Cardinal to the 81-45 win over Oregon State. With Saturday's game against Oregon well in hand early on, Appel was able to rest, but not before hitting both of her attempts to conclude the weekend. Her performance increased her shooting percentage to 56.0% (117-for-209) on the year, third in the Pac-10.
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 18.6 points per game, and now stands second with 2,139 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 77 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 236 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 597 career attempts. Finally, at the charity stripe, Wiggins is third all-time with her 457 career free throws, and currently sits fourth on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.2% success rate, just over two percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%.
Paying Back The Native State
Oregon native Jillian Harmon turned in a solid weekend against the Pac-10 schools of her home state this past weekend, averaging 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two contests. After pulling down six rebounds against the Beavers on Thursday, Harmon, a Lake Oswego native, shot 6-of-7 from the floor against the Ducks on Saturday, scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds in Stanford's 83-49 win.
Freshman Jeanette Pohlen has won plenty of praise and the adulation of Cardinal fans for her tenacious and gritty style of play. Providing Stanford with key hustle plays and a sharpshooting ability from the outside, Pohlen averaged 11.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, as well as shooting a combined 64.3% (9-for-14) from the field, in last weekend's games against Oregon State and Oregon.
Don't Sweat It
Looking ahead, despite being 4-2 in Pac-10 play, two games back of 6-0 California and 1.5 games back of 5-0 Arizona State, Stanford shouldn't have to worry about catching the two leaders if recent history has anything to say about it. With two games still to be played against each opponent, the Cardinal can point confidently to the seven wins in the last eight contests against the Sun Devils, as well as its 14 wins in the last 15 meetings with the Golden Bears.
Home Sweet Home
Tara VanDerveer's teams have compiled a 294-32 (.902) record at home during her tenure. The Cardinal is 181-12 (.938) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home. Stanford has also won 91 of its last 98 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.
Certainly Not Gracious Hosts
Nov. 28's regular-season home opener against San Francisco began what Stanford hopes will become its first undefeated home season since going 11-0 at Maples in 2004-05. Since posting undefeated home marks in each of the three seasons from 1994-97, the Cardinal has only posted one unblemished mark at home (2004-05). Currently, Stanford is 8-0 at home in 2007-08, and has won seven of those games by over 20 points. Through last Saturday's win over Oregon, Stanford boasts an average margin of victory of 30.8 points.
Belated Christmas Gift
Three-time All-American guard Candice Wiggins received a late holiday gift on Jan. 10, as she was named the WBCA's Player of the Month for December. Over the final month of the calendar year, Wiggins averaged 20.5 points and 3.2 assists while leading the Cardinal to a perfect 6-0 mark, victories over No. 10/10 Baylor and No. 1/1 Tennessee, and a national No. 2 ranking.
Retiring The Number
Freshman Jeanette Pohlen took a detour from the team's L.A. trip on Jan. 5 to visit her alma mater, Brea Olinda High School. There, Pohlen's No. 32 jersey was retired as a testament to the career of BOHS' all-time leading scorer (2,196 points) and rebounder (1,140 rebounds).
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. Freshman Ashley Cimino, after missing the first 15 games of the season due to a lingering back injury, made her collegiate debut Jan. 10 against Oregon State. 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.
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.