No. 2/2 Stanford Closes Non-Conference Slate With Visit To Fresno State
Dec. 29, 2009
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (9-1)
- at -
Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4)
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 2/2 Stanford (9-1) returns to action following its break for the holidays, bussing to Central California to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4) Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Save Mart Center in Fresno. Following the midweek contest the Cardinal will return home to Maples Pavilion to open Pac-10 play Saturday at 12 p.m. against the California Golden Bears. The game will also be available on 90.1 KZSU with Kevin Danna calling the action and Chris Fitzgerald providing analysis.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal ended a four-game, 13-day stretch last Wednesday in Hartford, Conn., dropping its first decision of the year, an 80-68 loss to No. 1/1 Connecticut at the XL Center. Despite leading 40-38 at the half, and 44-42 with 17:19 to play, the Cardinal went cold from the floor and fell victim to a 30-6 Huskies run that blew the game open. Despite the setback, Nnemkadi Ogwumike notched her fifth 20-point effort of the season, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting while also grabbing six rebounds against Connecticut, while Kayla Pedersen added 14 points and matched Ogwumike's six rebounds, and Jayne Appel scored 12 points with six assists.
Scouting Fresno State
Fresno State (8-4), the two-time defending WAC champion, returns from its own holiday break Wednesday against Stanford. With head coach Adrian Wiggins in his fifth season at the Bulldog helm, Fresno State has won six of its past seven contests and is a perfect 4-0 at the Save Mart Center in 2009-10. The Bulldogs are led on the court by Jaleesa Ross (17.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Hayley Munro (10.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
All-Time Against Fresno State
Stanford leads the all-time series against Fresno State, 17-6, and has won the past five meetings with the Bulldogs. The teams have met only three times this decade prior to Wednesday. Last year, the Cardinal hit triple digits against Fresno State, defeating the Bulldogs, 100-62, on Dec. 13, 2008 at Maples Pavilion.
A Look At The National Rankings
Despite falling 80-68 at No. 1/1 Connecticut last Wednesday, Stanford remained No. 2 in this week's Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Polls.
National Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 20, Stanford was ranked in the national top 10 in the following categories: rebound margin (+13.4 - second), fouls per game (12.7 - third), scoring (82.7 - fourth), scoring margin (+26.6 - fourth), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.21 - sixth), assists (18.56 apg - seventh) and field-goal percentage (47.7 - 10th). Nnemkadi Ogwumike was fourth with a 63.6 shooting percentage.
Pac-10 Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 28, Stanford leads the conference in six statistical categories: scoring margin (+22.7), field-goal percentage (47.6), free-throw percentage (74.4), rebounding (44.4 rpg), rebounding margin (+10.7) and assist-to-turnover margin (1.15).
Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen are 1-2 in the the Pac-10 with 19.3 and 18.6 points per game, respectively. Jayne Appel is third with 9.2 rebounds per game, Ogwumike is fifth with 8.6 and Pedersen is sixth with 8.2. Pedersen is also third with a 45.1 percent three-point shooting mark. Ogwumike is second with a 65.1 shooting mark from the field. Jeanette Pohlen leads the conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.96 and is second with 4.30 assists per game. JJ Hones is second in the Pac-10 with a 1.84 assist-to-turnover figure.
Back From The Break
Wednesday's game at Fresno State marks Stanford's first contest since taking a hiatus for the Christmas holiday. So far this decade, Stanford is 7-2 in its first game back from the holiday break, and has won the return game in each of the past three seasons. Yet this year's post-Christmas contest will be just the fourth on the road for Stanford, and it has previously gone 1-2 in those games this decade.
Bounce Back Strong
With the Cardinal coming off of a loss to No. 1/1 Connecticut in its last action, past history has shown that the team responds well to adversity. The last time Stanford lost back-to-back games was two seasons ago, on Jan. 4 and 6, 2008, at UCLA and USC.
Another 20 For Ogwumike
Even in defeat, Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike produced one of her now-commonplace superior efforts, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. The scoring output is Ogwumike's fifth game with at least 20 points so far this season, and her 80.0-percent shooting mark from the field raised her season rate to 65.1 percent, good for second in the Pac-10. On the year, Ogwumike's 19.3 points per game is tops in the conference.
Way To Answer
Stanford showed plenty of heart and composure last Wednesday in a hostile arena against the top-ranked team in the land, especially in the early going of the contest. When Connecticut sprinted out to a 19-10 lead less than seven minutes into the contest and forced a Stanford timeout, it looked like the game was going to be blown open early. But the Cardinal calmed down and responded with an 11-0 run to take a 21-19 lead and bring the Hartford crowd back down. The Cardinal continued its resilient play in the half, where it shot 57.1 percent (16-for-28), and took a 40-38 lead into the locker room at halftime, marking the first time all season that the Huskies had trailed after 20 minutes of play.
Racking Up The Minutes
Junior forward Kayla Pedersen is expected to do many things on the court for the Cardinal, such as play the post, rebound, and even step back and hit the outside shots at any given time. And while she does all of these things well for the Cardinal, Pedersen also spends the largest amount of time on the hardwood for Stanford, having played a team-leading 338 minutes (33.8 per game) so far this season. Pedersen had racked up 2,324 minutes of action heading into the 2009-10 season, and if she keeps up that pace of over 30 minutes played per game, she will easily break Virginia Sourlis' career record of 4,148 minutes played.
Another Impressive Non-Conference Performance
Wednesday's contest in Fresno will mark the end of Stanford's regular season non-conference schedule for 2009-10. Should the Cardinal defeat the Bulldogs Wednesday, it will be the fifth one-loss non-conference season for Stanford in this decade. A win Wednesday will give Stanford a 10-1 non-conference mark this season, and the last time the team only lost one non-conference contest in the regular season was 2007-08, when the Cardinal went 11-1 against non-conference foes. The common link between the past two one-loss performances by Stanford in the non-conference portion of the season is that each of those losses came to No. 1/1 Connecticut.
Opening Things Up For Teammates
Senior center and 2009 WBCA/State Farm Coaches All-American Jayne Appel proved that she can affect a game with more than just her scoring and rebounding skills, dishing out a season-high six assists last Wednesday against Connecticut. While she managed to put up 12 points and four rebounds in the contest, Appel's superb passing also helped free up Nnemkadi Ogwumike to hit from the outside for part of her 20 points as well as giving Kayla Pedersen room to work for her 14 points in the contest. On the year, Appel is third on the team with 33 assists through 10 games.
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