Behind Enemy Lines: No. 2 Stanford Battles No. 10 San Diego State At Cox Arena
March 22, 2009
NCAA Tournament Second Round
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (30-4, 17-1 Pac-10)
- at -
San Diego State Aztecs (24-7, 13-3 Mountain West)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - No. 2/2 Stanford continues its march to a second consecutive Final Four Monday, taking on the host and No. 10 seed San Diego State Aztecs at 6:30 p.m. The winner of Monday's contest will move on to next week's regional in Berkeley. Monday's game will be televised live on ESPN2, with Allen Hopkins calling the action and Brenda VanLengen on color. The game can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU and on the Internet at kzsulive.stanford.edu, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal cleared the first hurdle in its path to a repeat Final Four appearance Saturday night, routing the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, 74-39 at San Diego State's Cox Arena. Both Jayne Appel and Nnemkadi Ogwumike posted double-doubles, Appel scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds and Ogwumike matching the 11 rebounds to go with 13 points. Kayla Pedersen just missed a double-double of her own with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Jeanette Pohlen rounded out Cardinal double-digit scorers with 13 points. On defense, the Cardinal blocked eight Gaucho shots, led by Appel's three, and held the Gauchos to just 14 first-half points, a season low for opponents.
Scouting San Diego State
The San Diego State Aztecs (24-7, 13-3 Mountain West), Mountain West Conference regular-season co-champions, entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed and advanced to Monday's second round with a 76-70 victory over seventh-seeded DePaul Saturday. Under head coach Beth Burns, who is in the fourth year of her second stint at the helm of SDSU, the Aztecs are led on the court by Jene Morris (16.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and Paris Johnson (13.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg).
All-Time Against San Diego State
San Diego State leads the all-time series against Stanford, 4-3. The teams, though, have not met since Dec. 10, 1989, when Stanford claimed a 109-45 victory at Maples Pavilion. Dating back to Feb. 11, 1984, the Aztecs have captured four of the past five meetings with the Cardinal.
In The National Polls
Stanford remained at No. 2 in both the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll this week after capturing the Pac-10 Tournament.
A Look At The National Stat Leaders
Stanford was ranked in the national top 50 in 12 statistical categories through March 15: rebound margin (+12.5 - second), assists per game (18.9 - second), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22 - second), scoring margin (+20.9 - second), field-goal percentage (47.4 - third), points per game (76.4 - 11th), field-goal percentage defense (35.0 - 12th), blocked shots per game (4.7 - 32nd), scoring defense (55.5 - 32nd), fewest turnovers per game (15.3 - 35th), fewest fouls per game (15.5 - 49th) and three-pointers per game (6.3 - 50th). Individually, Jayne Appel is in the top 50 of one category: field-goal percentage (61.0 - fifth). Jeanette Pohlen is 26th in the nation with a 1.81 assist-to-turnover ratio and 49th with 2.3 three-pointers per game.
Stanford Rankings In The Pac-10
Stanford leads the Pac-10 in ten statistical categories through March 21: scoring (76.3 ppg), scoring margin (+21.3), field-goal percentage (47.1 percent), field-goal percentage defense (34.8 percent), rebounding (43.7 rpg), rebounding defense (30.8 rpg), rebounding margin (+12.9), blocked shots (4.8 per game), assists per game (18.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25). Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike (61.8 percent) and Jayne Appel (60.9) are 1-2 in field-goal percentage. Appel also leads the conference in blocked shots (1.88 bpg), and is second in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and third in scoring (14.8 ppg). Jeanette Pohlen leads the Pac-10 with 2.4 three-pointers per game and is second with a 1.81 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Stanford In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford is 53-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament over 23 appearances. The Cardinal's first NCAA Tournament was in 1981-82, when it fell 82-48 to Maryland in opening-round action at College Park, Md. Since then, the Cardinal disappeared from the postseason until 1987-88, which has begun a streak of 22 consecutive appearances in the Big Dance. Over that run, Stanford has captured a pair of national titles (1990, `92), reached the Final Four seven times (1990-92, `95-'97, 2008), reached 12 Elite Eights, and 15 Sweet Sixteens. Stanford has also reached the Regional Final four times over the past five seasons.
Could This Be An Omen?
The Cardinal last won the national title in 1992, which is important to remember when looking at how the team's 2009 postseason began. This past Saturday's win over UC Santa Barbara in the first round came on March 21, exactly 17 years to the day that it opened its 1992 championship run with an 82-73 victory over the Gauchos at Maples Pavilion.
Stanford's road to the 2009 Final Four in St. Louis appears very travel-friendly to the Cardinal, as it would remain within its home state up until the national semifinals. One more win in San Diego would send the Cardinal to Berkeley for regional action, yet Stanford won't let itself get caught looking ahead. The last time it had the chance to stay in California all the way until the Final Four was 2007, when it opened at home and in the Fresno Regional, but got tripped up in the second round against Florida State.
There Are Other States?
The past 11 victories in Stanford's current 17-game winning streak bode well for Stanford's potential chances this weekend as they have come in the state of California. The Cardinal has not strayed outside of California's borders since a trip to Washington for a pair of games on Feb. 6 and 8, and, if everything goes to plan, will not have to leave the Golden State until the Final Four in St. Louis on April 5 and 7.
All-Time Against The Mountain West In The NCAAs
Saturday's second-round game against San Diego State will be just the second time that Stanford has faced off against a school from the Mountain West Conference in NCAA Tournament action. Each outing has now occurred in the second round, as prior to Monday's contest, Stanford previously met Utah in the second round of the 2005 tournament, defeating the Utes, 88-62, in Fresno, Calif.
Appel, Ogwumike Go In-N-Out On UCSB
Jayne Appel and Nnemkadi Ogwumike highlighted Stanford's domination of UCSB on the boards Saturday, each grabbing 11 rebounds to go with 15 and 13 points, respectively, in the contest for a pair of double-doubles. For Appel it was her 12th double-double of the year, and for Ogwumike the performance was her fourth of the year and second of the past three games.
The Silent Assassin
Sophomore Kayla Pedersen, praised by head coach Tara VanDerveer as one of the smartest and most cerebral of her players, let's her shooting, rebounding and defense do the talking on the court. In Saturday's win over UC Santa Barbara, Pedersen's play spoke volumes once again as she hit a pair of triples while scoring 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking a pair of shots.
Thirty Wins Again
Saturday's 74-39 first-round victory over UC Santa Barbara marked Stanford's 30th victory of the year and its eighth season of at least 30 victories. It is also the first time that the program has put together back-to-back 30-win seasons, following last year's 35-4 record. Thirty wins tends to be a good sign for a Cardinal team's chances in the postseason, as both national championship teams (1990 and `92) as well as three Final Four teams (1995, `97, 2008) all reached the mark in the win column.
Appel Breaks Into The Top 10
In Saturday's 74-39 victory over UC Santa Barbara, junior center Jayne Appel busted her way into the top 10 of Stanford's all-time scoring list, netting 15 points to bring her career tally to 1,526 and leap-frogging Brooke Smith and Olympia Scott into ninth-place. Heading into Monday's second-round contest, Appel, also fourth on the rebounding list with 897 rebounds, remains on pace to become just the third Stanford player to reach both the 2,000-point and 1,000-rebound marks next season.
Producing In The Starting Five
Freshman forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike has become an even bigger presence for the Cardinal since becoming a regular member of the starting five. While she has appeared in all 34 games this season, Ogwumike has started nine, including the past five. In those nine starts, Ogwumike is averaging 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.2 percent from the field (49-for-74).
Shooting From The Hip
Sophomore guard Jeanette Pohlen continued firing away Saturday night, dropping three triples and 13 points on UC Santa Barbara. In her role as point guard, Pohlen also effectively ran the Stanford offense, dishing out three assists while also playing steady defense with a pair of steals. Pohlen's three triples also brought her season tally to 80, just 11 back of Krista Rappahahn's single-season record of 91.