Stanford Goes Hollywood: No. 2/2 Cardinal Opens Trip To L.A. Friday Night At USC
Jan. 5, 2010
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 1-0 Pac-10)
- at -
USC Women of Troy (8-5, 2-0 Pac-10)
STANFORD, Calif. - Pac-10 play continues as No. 2/2 Stanford embarks on its first road trip of the conference season, heading to Los Angeles for contests at USC and UCLA. The Cardinal opens the trip Friday, Jan. 8, tipping off at 7 p.m. against the USC Women of Troy at the Galen Center. Following a practice day on Saturday, Stanford will head to Westwood to take on the UCLA Bruins Sunday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. Both contests will be available on 90.1 KZSU with Teddy Steinkellner on the call.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal opened Pac-10 play on a winning note, capturing the first installment of the Battle of the Bay against cross-bay rival California by a score of 79-58. Forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike posted her sixth 20-point performance and fourth double-double of the season with 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds against the Golden Bears. Fellow post Kayla Pedersen posted her second straight double-double, and fourth overall, with 16 points and 10 rebounds while center Jayne Appel scored 13 points, grabbed six boards and blocked three shots. The Cardinal was also boosted by the play of redshirt junior point guard Melanie Murphy, who matched a career high with 11 points and went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. Overall, the Cardinal grabbed 49 rebounds and went 20-for-25 from the line in the win.
USC (8-5, 2-0) opened the Pac-10 season in the best possible way last weekend, knocking off nationally-ranked Arizona State and Arizona and shooting to the top of the conference standings. Under the guidance of first-year head coach and former L.A. Laker Michael Cooper, the Women of Troy are led on the court by the play of Ashley Corral (15.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.8 apg) and Briana Gilbreath (12.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg).
All-Time Against USC
Stanford leads the all-time series against USC, 43-19, and has won 14 of the past 16 meetings since the 2003-04 season. Last year the Cardinal swept all three games against the Women of Troy, taking both regular-season meetings then capturing the Pac-10 Tournament title with an 89-64 win on March 15, 2009.
A Look At The National Rankings
After opening the Pac-10 season with a win over California, Stanford remained No. 2 in this week's Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Polls.
National Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 4, Stanford was ranked in the national top 20 in the following categories: fouls per game (13.3 - seventh), rebound margin (+11.6 - ninth), scoring (79.9 - 11th), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16 - 11th), scoring margin (+22.5 - 13th), assists (17.92 apg - 13th), three-point field goal defense (24.6 - 13th) and field-goal percentage (46.8 - 14th). Nnemkadi Ogwumike was fourth with a 63.4 shooting percentage.
Pac-10 Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 3, Stanford leads the conference in seven statistical categories: scoring margin (+22.5), field-goal percentage (46.8), free-throw percentage (74.8), rebounding (45.5 rpg), rebounding margin (+11.6), blocked shots (4.75 bpg) and assist-to-turnover margin (1.16).
Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen are 1-2 in the Pac-10 with 18.8 and 18.0 points per game, respectively. Jayne Appel is third with 9.7 rebounds per game, Ogwumike is fourth with 9.4 and Pedersen is fifth with 8.6. Ogwumike is second with a 63.4-percent shooting mark from the field. Jeanette Pohlen is second in the conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.82 and is second with 4.25 assists per game. JJ Hones leads the Pac-10 with a 2.00 assist-to-turnover figure.
Back To L.A.
This weekend's slate marks the third time in four seasons that Stanford has made its first conference road trip to Los Angeles. The last time the Cardinal opened the Pac-10 road schedule in L.A., it was swept by UCLA and USC on Jan. 4 and 6, 2008. But last year, the Cardinal rebounded to sweep its L.A. weekend in early March. Against USC, Stanford's last three losses in its series against the Women of Troy have come in Los Angeles, and by a combined margin of seven points.
Opening Pac-10 Play With A 'W'
Saturday's 79-58 victory over California marked the 10th consecutive season in which Stanford opened its Pac-10 slate on a winning note. Coincidentally enough, the Cardinal is gunning for its 10th consecutive Pac-10 title, so getting off to a good start goes hand in hand. The last time that Stanford dropped its Pac-10 opener was in 1999-2000, when it was dealt a 74-68 defeat at Arizona State on Jan. 6, 2000.
Ogwumike Tames The Bears
Sophomore forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike continued her excellent season with one of her best performances of the year Saturday against California. Ogwumike posted her sixth 20-point performance of the season, scoring a game-high 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting, and also grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds. On the defensive end, she was just as much a factor, blocking a pair of shots, making a steal, and contributing to the team defensive effort that limited California to just 35.9-percent shooting from the field.
An In-N-Out Kind Of Weekend
Junior forward Kayla Pedersen, one of Stanford's Big Three on the block, racked up a pair of double-doubles in last week's action, averaging 15.0 points and 10.5 rebounds over Stanford's two wins. In Fresno, Pedersen shot 6-for-13 for 14 points, grabbed 11 boards, dished out four assists and was a disruptive force on defense with two steals and three blocked shots in Stanford's 68-46 win. Three days later, Pedersen posted double-double number four on the year, scoring 16 points with 10 rebounds in the 79-58 victory over California. No word yet on if those double-doubles were 'animal' style.
Murphy's Stock Keeps Rising
Point guard Melanie Murphy made her return to action last Wednesday at Fresno State after missing six games due to a knee injury, and thanks to her efforts the stock of this Brooklyn native has shot up. Murphy passed out four assists against just one turnover in 13 minutes of action at Fresno State, and continued her fine weekend in Saturday's 79-58 win over California, matching her career high with 11 points, going 6-for-7 from the free-throw line and hitting on her only three-point attempt. She also displayed a flair for the dramatic as she wowed the Maples Pavilion crowd with a brilliant no-look pass to Nnemkadi Ogwumike for a fast-break layup in transition.
Don't Overlook Her, Because Opposing Defenses Sure Don't
While the numbers of forwards Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen have gotten plenty of attention, one can't forget the production of senior All-America center Jayne Appel against constant double-teaming this year. Through the first 12 games of the season, Appel has battled her way to 13.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, and is even ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.33 assists per game. Even with those numbers, Appel has adjusted her role to suit the team's pace and strengths. While the Pleasant Hill native continues to dominate the boards, she has improved her already-formidable passing skills to boost the tempo of the Cardinal offense. Whether it is by swinging an outlet pass after grabbing a defensive board or executing a textbook pick-and-roll near the top of the key, Appel continues to prove her status as arguably the top passing center in the nation.
Calling In The SWAT Team
While Stanford's height and tenacity on both ends of the court has helped the team out-rebound opponents by a margin of 11.6 boards a game, those same qualities have also made a difference in another category: blocked shots. The Cardinal leads the Pac-10 with 4.75 blocks per game, and last week blocked 12 shots over its two victories. Jayne Appel, the Pac-10's leader with 2.00 blocks per game, swatted six shots in the two games, while forward Kayla Pedersen turned away three shots and Nnemkadi Ogwumike tossed a pair of shots against California.