No. 6/7 Stanford Heads Into Pac-10 Tournament This Weekend
March 6, 2008
No. 6/7 Stanford Cardinal (27-3, 16-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Oregon State Beavers (11-18, 4-14 Pac-10)
Arizona Wildcats (10-19, 4-14 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 6/7 Stanford, the now eight-time defending Pac-10 regular-season champions, turns its sights on the postseason, starting with this weekend's Pac-10 Tournament in San Jose. On deck for the top-seeded Cardinal is the winner of Friday night's 8:15 p.m. play-in contest between the No. 8 Oregon State Beavers and the No. 9 Arizona Wildcats. Stanford will face the winner at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the contest will be available on the airwaves at 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties and Andrew Shen on color.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford claimed its eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title with a road sweep of Washington and Washington State last weekend. Candice Wiggins, meanwhile, made history yet again, surpassing Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 all-time scoring record of 2,414 points with a 24-point effort in Stanford's 74-52 victory in Pullman. Wiggins shot 9-for-14 from the floor, including 5-for-7 from behind the arc, in the victory. Friday night in Seattle, four Cardinal players scored in double figures, led by Wiggins, who posted her second double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the 73-53 rout of Washington.
Scouting Oregon State
The Beavers (11-18, 4-14 Pac-10) enter the Pac-10 Tournament as the eighth seed, and will take on Arizona for the right to advance to a quarterfinal matchup against Stanford. Oregon State heads into the weekend on a cold stretch, having dropped 10 of its last 11 contests, with the lone triumph a 55-54 home victory over USC on Feb. 23. Helmed by LaVonda Wagner, the Beavers are led on the court by the play of Ashley Allen (15.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Brittney Davis (13.0 ppg), and Talisa Rhea (10.3 ppg).
All-Time Against Oregon State
Stanford leads the all-time series against Oregon State, 40-6. The Cardinal swept the regular season meetings earlier this season, first routing the Beavers 81-45 at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 10, then traveling to Corvallis and capturing a 69-59 decision on Feb. 9. The Cardinal and Beavers have met once before in Pac-10 Tournament play, as Stanford was victorious, 71-55, in the semifinal round of the inaugural edition in 2001-02.
The Wildcats (10-19, 4-14 Pac-10), the Pac-10 Tournament's ninth seed, head into Friday's play-in game against Oregon State looking to reverse its recent slide, having lost six of its last seven games, and 15 of its last 19 since putting together a four-game winning streak from Dec. 6-15. Helmed by longtime head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is led on the court by Ashley Whisonant (15.4 ppg), Amina Njonkou (13.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), and Ify Ibekwe (10.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg).
All-Time Against Arizona
Stanford leads the all-time series against Arizona, 47-12, and swept the two regular-season meetings between the two schools this season. The Cardinal won each of the contests by at least 20 points, first defeating the Wildcats 89-64 Jan. 17 in Tucson before collecting a 69-46 victory Feb. 14 at Maples Pavilion. Should the Cardinal and Wildcats end up squaring off Saturday, it will mark the fifth time in the seven-year history of the Pac-10 Tournament that the schools have met. In those five meetings, the Cardinal hold the 5-0 edge, including a 59-49 victory in the 2003 championship.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Following the weekend sweep of Washington and Washington State, which clinched the Cardinal's eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title, Stanford moved up one spot to No. 6 in the Associated Press Poll, and remained at No. 7 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal is in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of March 3, including: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.28 - fifth), fewest turnovers per game (13.3 - fifth), scoring margin (+18.6 - fifth), assists per game (17.07 - 12th), scoring offense (75.2 - 13th), FG percentage (46.2% - 17th), FG percentage defense (36.0% - 18th), blocks per game (150 - 5.00 - 19th), rebounding margin (+6.7 - 20th), scoring defense (56.7 - 29th), and fewest fouls per game (14.9 - 36th). Individually, Jayne Appel's 58.5 FG percentage is 11th in the nation, and her 2.23 blocks per game are 33rd. Candice Wiggins stands 14th with 19.4 points per game, and tied for 42nd with an 83.2 free-throw shooting percentage.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through the end of the Pac-10 regular season, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (75.2 ppg), scoring margin (+18.6), FG percentage (46.2%), blocked shots (150 - 5.00 per game), turnover margin (+3.47), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.28). The Cardinal also sits second in opponents' points per game (56.7 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (36.0%), free-throw percentage (70.8%), assists per game (17.07), and rebounding margin (+6.7). Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the conference in scoring (19.4 ppg), and is second in free-throw percentage (83.3%). Jayne Appel leads the loop in field-goal percentage (58.5%) and blocks (67 - 2.23 per game), is second rebounding (8.6 rpg), and sixth in scoring (14.4 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is third in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and ninth in scoring (12.6 ppg).
Stanford At The Pac-10 Tournament
Heading into Saturday night's quarterfinal contest, Stanford brings a 16-2 record and four titles into the seventh edition of the Pac-10 Tournament. The Cardinal captured the tournament championship three consecutive years, from 2003-05, then once more in 2007. After falling to Arizona State in the final of the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament, the Cardinal went on an 11-game tournament winning streak that lasted until the 2006 title game, in which UCLA dethroned Stanford, 85-76.
Monopoly On The Post-Tournament Award
The Cardinal have enjoyed a healthy domination of not just the action on the court, but also of the spoils awarded after the tournament. Out of the previous six Pac-10 Tournaments, a two Stanford players have combined to win five of the Most Outstanding Player honors awarded. Nicole Powell captured the honor in each of the first three tournaments from 2002-04, while Candice Wiggins earned the glory in 2005 and 2007, and will go for her third this weekend.
Welcome To The Postseason, Rookies!
This weekend's Pac-10 Tournament will also mark the postseason debuts of five Stanford players. Freshmen Ashley Cimino, Hannah Donaghe, Kayla Pedersen, and Jeanette Pohlen will continue their seasons of firsts come Saturday, while the fifth member of this group of debutantes, sophomore JJ Hones, will finally see her first postseason action after a torn ACL suffered last February prematurely ended her freshman year.
Simply The Best
Senior guard Candice Wiggins added a new title this past Sunday at Washington State: Pac-10 All-Time Leading Scorer. Wiggins entered Sunday's game in Pullman just 14 points shy of Lisa Leslie's mark of 2,414 points, and wasted no time making her final push to the summit of the conference scoring annals. With 7:44 left in the first half, she hit a three-pointer from the left wing to tie Leslie's mark, then just over six minutes later, Wiggins drove the left baseline and cashed in on the layup to score the record-breaking points.
Stanford Dominates Pac-10 Honors
The Pac-10 announced its season awards Thursday, and it was no surprise that Stanford dominated many of the honors. The Cardinal captured three of the four season awards, as Candice Wiggins became the first player to ever win three Pac-10 Player of the Year awards, Kayla Pedersen went home with the Freshman of the Year award, and Tara VanDerveer garnered her ninth Coach of the Year honor. Additionally, Wiggins and sophomore Jayne Appel were named to the All-Pac-10 First Team, Pedersen was named to the third team, and Jillian Harmon and JJ Hones received honorable mention nods. Pedersen also earned a spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, while fellow rookie Jeanette Pohlen was named honorable mention. Appel, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Harmon, and Wiggins rounded things out by being named Pac-10 Defensive Team honorable mention.
They're Feelin' It
Another encouraging sign that Cardinal are raring to go for the postseason is its stellar shooting over the final regular-season weekend. In the big wins over Washington and Washington State, Stanford shot a combined 50.4% (60-for-119) from the floor, including a respectable 45.7% (21-for-46) from three-point range. The Cardinal made 30 field goals in each contest, and the wins were fueled by quick starts in which Stanford shot 53.3% (16-for-30) and 51.7% (15-for-29) in the first half of its games against the Huskies and Cougars, respectively.
Not The Last They've Seen Of Spokane?
This past weekend's trip to the Pacific Northwest, namely the Cardinal's stay in Spokane ahead of last Sunday's game at Washington State, could end up being just the first trip for Stanford to northeastern Washington. With Spokane being one of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament's four regional sites this March, it is very conceivable that the Cardinal, in line for either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, could end up placed in the Spokane bracket. Then, with victories in the first and second rounds at Maples Pavilion, the Cardinal would return to the state of Washington.
As Close To Home As One Could Get
Although this weekend's Pac-10 Tournament contests don't go in the ledger as 'home' games, they come very close. Just about a 25-minute drive south from Palo Alto, HP Pavilion At San Jose has been very good to the Stanford women since its opening in 1993. The Cardinal own a 14-4 record in games played at the facility, which was formerly known as San Jose Arena and Compaq Center.