Here We Go Again: No. 3/4 Stanford Visits No. 11/13 Tennessee Sunday Night
Dec. 20, 2008
No. 3/4 Stanford Cardinal (8-2)
- at -
No. 11/13 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (8-2)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - No. 3/4 Stanford (8-2) wraps up its season-long nine-day, three-game trip through the South Sunday night, visiting Thompson-Boling Arena for a highly-anticipated clash with the No. 11/13 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (8-2). Sunday's game will be aired live on ESPN2 with Bob Picozzi calling the action and Carolyn Peck handling color commentary. The contest can also be heard live on the radio at 90.1 KZSU as well as on the Internet at kzsulive.stanford.edu, with play-by-play man Jake Kelman on the call.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal bounced back from Tuesday's loss at Duke, notching a 78-47 victory over South Carolina Friday night in Columbia, S.C. Jayne Appel posted her third straight double-double, and fifth on the year, with 15 points (on 7-of-10 shooting) and 14 rebounds, while Kayla Pedersen also scored 15 points and matched her career-high with 16 rebounds against the Gamecocks. Melanie Murphy continued her strong play as of late at the point, scoring nine points, dishing out three assists and grabbing three rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. The Cardinal shot 50 percent (31-for-62) from the field and outscored the Gamecocks 41-19 in the second half to pull away for the win.
The two-time defending national champion Tennessee Lady Volunteers (8-2) head into Sunday night's game after splitting a two-game road trip earlier this week. The Lady Vols fell at No. 5/5 Texas, 73-59, last Sunday, but rebounded to defeat Old Dominion, 81-76, in Norfolk, Va. Thursday night. With head coach Pat Summitt in her 35th year at the helm of the Lady Vols program, the Lady Vols are led by Glory Johnson (15.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg), Shekinn Strickland (12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Angie Bjorklund (13.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg).
All-Time Against Tennessee
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Stanford, 20-5, heading into Sunday's game. The teams have met annually in the regular season since the first meeting in the 1988-89 campaign. Last year, the teams split the two meetings, with Stanford capturing a 73-69 overtime victory at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 22, 2007, and Tennessee winning the return bout, 64-48, in the national championship game in Tampa, Fla. on April 8, 2008.
In The National Polls
This week, Stanford remained at No. 3 in the Associated Press Poll and is still No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
A Look At The National Stat Leaders
Stanford finds itself ranked in the national top 50 in various statistical categories through the games of Dec. 15. The Cardinal figures that sit in the top 50 are: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4 - third), fewest turnovers per game (13.1 - fifth), assists per game (18.4 - eighth), points per game (80.3 - ninth), scoring margin (+22.8 - 10th), field-goal percentage (46.5 - 12th), three-pointers per game (7.5 - 19th), rebound margin (+9.4 - 22nd), fewest fouls per game (15.1 - 31st), blocked shots per game (4.9 - 45th) and turnover margin (4.13 - 48th). Individually, Jayne Appel is in the national top 50 of four categories: blocked shots per game (2.3 - 37th) assist-to-turnover ratio (2.00 - 38th), field-goal percentage (53.8 - 40th), free-throw percentage (87.0 - 44th), and rebounds per game (9.4 - 50th).
Appel and Pedersen Earn Preseason National Recognition
Junior center Jayne Appel and sophomore forward Kayla Pedersen have already earned preseason national honors. Both have been tabbed by a pair of national award committees as players to watch in 2008-09. In mid-August the WBCA named the post tandem to the preseason 'Wade Watch' list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year, an award won last season by Stanford's own Candice Wiggins. Appel was then named to the preseason list of 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award and the Wooden Award All-American Team in early November. Appel was also named to espn.com's Preseason All-America Second Team, as well.
Sunday night's nationally-televised contest between Stanford and Tennessee marks the 26th time that the two storied programs have met on the court. Last Dec. 22, Stanford broke an 11-game slide against Tennessee with a 73-69 overtime win at Maples Pavilion, but the Lady Vols would have the last laugh with a 64-48 victory in the national title game on April 8, 2008. Sunday's game also marks the 11th meeting of the teams in Knoxville, as the Cardinal look for just its second win over the Lady Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena. That victory came on Dec. 15, 1996, as Stanford defeated Tennessee, 82-65.
That's A Lot Of Wins
It would be a serious understatement to say that there will be a theme of success in Thompson-Boling Arena Sunday night. The opposing head coaches in the contest, Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (732 career wins) and Tennessee's Pat Summitt (991 career wins) own a combined 1,723 career victories.
Big Board Meeting
Stanford's vaunted inside game was on full display in Friday night's win at South Carolina, as Kayla Pedersen (15 points, 16 rebounds) and Jayne Appel (15 points, 14 rebounds) highlighted a team effort that saw the Cardinal win the rebounding battle by a 53-21 margin. Pedersen's 16 boards also matched her career high.
Now That's More Like It
After shooting a disappointing 38.3 percent (18-for-47) from the field in Tuesday night's loss at Duke, Stanford found its touch Friday night, shooting an even 50.0 percent (31-for-62) in the 78-47 victory at South Carolina. The performance marked the fourth time in the last five games that Stanford has made at least half of its field-goal attempts. Post players Jayne Appel, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen went a combined 16-for-25 (.640) from the field Friday night.
Murphy's Comin' Up
After missing all but the first five games of last season after tearing her ACL on Nov. 24 against Old Dominion, point guard Melanie Murphy has returned to the court in 2008-09 and become a major part of Stanford's back court. Over the last five games, Murphy has passed out 23 assists (4.60 per game) and averaged 5.6 points while shooting 50.0 percent (11-for-22) from the floor.
Stanford's defense also made its presence felt by forcing Duke into 19 turnovers Tuesday night and making nine steals. The nine thefts were the third-highest so far this season for the Cardinal, and the 19 Blue Devil turnovers equaled the second-most by a Stanford opponent this season.
Tough To Shoot Against
Friday's game at South Carolina marked the eighth time in 10 games this season that the Cardinal defense held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field, and the third time that an opponent had failed to make at least 30 percent of its shots. The Gamecocks shot just 28.3 percent (15-for-53) Friday, including a paltry 6.7 percent (1-for-15) from behind the arc. South Carolina's total of 15 field goals in the game was also a season-low for a Cardinal opponent this season, and marked the fourth time in the last five games that an opponent had failed to make at least 20 field goals.
The Health Report
Forward Jillian Harmon is questionable for Sunday night's game after sitting out Friday at South Carolina due to a sprained right ankle suffered against Duke. Grace Mashore has missed the past three games with a pulled groin, and Junior JJ Hones will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in her left knee Nov. 23 against Rutgers. Morgan Clyburn will be out of action until at least the Pac-10 season after offseason foot surgery.