No. 6/4t Stanford Cardinal (7-1)
- vs. -
Gonzaga Bulldogs (8-1)
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – 1 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,233) – Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Stanford leads 5-0
Last Meeting: Dec. 2, 2013 (Stanford 69, Gonzaga 41) – Spokane, Wash.
TV: Pac-12 Network (P-x-P: Krista Blunk, Anaylst: Mary Murphy)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - After 16 days away No. 6/4t Stanford returns to action this Saturday, hosting No. 23/22 Gonzaga for a 1 p.m. tip at Maples Pavilion. Saturday’s contest will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy on the call, and following the game Cardinal boss Tara VanDerveer will be honored for reaching the 900-win mark two weeks ago. The contest can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU and online at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal went 3-0 to capture the 2013 Hardwood Tournament of Hope title during Thanksgiving Week, defeating No. 16/22 Purdue, Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota State. Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike was named tournament MVP after averaging 26.0 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting 78.0 percent (32-for-41) over the three games. Fifth-year senior forward Mikaela Ruef earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team, averaging 8.3 points and 9.7 rebounds over the three wins. Tara VanDerveer also became the fifth women’s basketball coach to win her 900th career game, getting the big win Nov. 27 against Florida Gulf Coast.
Gonzaga (8-1) comes into Maples Pavilion Saturday ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 22 in the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll. The Zags are on a six-game winning streak, most recently sweeping a trip through Big Ten country with wins at Ohio State and Wisconsin. Head coach Kelly Graves oversees a squad led by the play of Haiden Palmer (17.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Lindsay Sherbert (12.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg).
All-Time Against Gonzaga
Stanford is unbeaten in five meetings all-time against Gonzaga, a series that began in 2009-10. The Cardinal defeated the Zags 69-41 in Spokane last Dec. 2 in the most recent meeting of the schools.
In The National Rankings
Stanford remained sixth in Monday’s Associated Press Poll and is tied for fourth with Notre Dame in Tuesday’s USA Today Sports Coaches’ Poll.
In The Pac-12 Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 10 Stanford ranks in the top three of eight categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.35 - first), field-goal percentage (46.6 - second), field-goal percentage defense (34.2 - second), assists (18.25 apg - second), rebounding margin (+8.1 - third), blocked shots (3.38 bpg - third), scoring defense (61.0 - third) and defensive-rebounding percentage (71.2 - third). The Cardinal ranks fourth in scoring margin (+14.5), rebounding defense (35.4 rpg) and defensive rebounds (30.3 drpg). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (25.8 ppg), is second in rebounding (11.5 rpg) and third in field-goal percentage (63.4). Mikaela Ruef is tied for fourth in rebounding (10.0 rpg) while Amber Orrange is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.62), fourth in assists (4.25 apg), steals (2.25 spg) and 3-point field-goal percentage (45.0), and sixth in field-goal percentage (52.9).
In The National Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 8 Stanford ranks in the top 20 of three categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.35 - 14th), field-goal percentage (46.6 - 19th) and assists (18.25 apg - 20th). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike ranks sixth in scoring (25.8 ppg) and double-doubles (six), is 11th in field-goal percentage (63.4) and 15th in rebounding (11.5 rpg).
Celebrating 900 Wins For Tara VanDerveer
Nov. 27’s 83-59 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in Puerto Vallarta gave Tara VanDerveer her 900th-career victory and made her just the fifth women’s basketball head coach to reach the 900-win mark. She now stands alongside Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer and Jody Conradt in the exclusive club. With the win over South Dakota State on Thanksgiving Day, VanDerveer (901 wins) passed Conradt for fourth all-time on the all-time list.
VanDerveer To Be Recognized Following Saturday’s Game
Following Saturday’s game Tara VanDerveer will be recognized for becoming just the fifth women’s basketball head coach to reach 900 career wins. The postgame ceremony will feature a video tribute to VanDerveer, as well as a gift presentation from Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir.
A Cardinal Legend Returns To The Farm Saturday
Saturday’s contest against Gonzaga features three-time All-American Nicole Powell returning to Maples Pavilion. Powell, one of just three Stanford players to thrice earn All-America recognition (2002-04), a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year (2002, 2004), and a Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (2001), is in her first year as an assistant coach on Kelly Graves’ Gonzaga staff. In a neat twist, Powell could also potentially witness Chiney Ogwumike joining her as one of five members of Stanford’s 2,000-Point/1,000-Rebound Club if Ogwumike scores 24 points against the Zags.
Stanford Returning From The Finals Break
Saturday’s matchup with Gonzaga is also Stanford’s first game following its annual two-week break for final exams. In all, Stanford has had a 16-day break between its final game on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) and this Saturday’s (Dec. 14) contest, the longest in Cardinal history. Since first taking a two-week break during the season for exams in 1999-2000, Stanford is 11-3 in its first game back from the hiatus. Each of those three losses came in the first three seasons (1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02) of Stanford’s two-week break.
Big Homestand For The Cardinal
Saturday’s game against Gonzaga opens up a big three-game set at Maples Pavilion for the Cardinal which continues with games against New Mexico (Dec. 16, 7 p.m.) and No. 3/3 Tennessee (Dec. 21, 1:30 p.m.). All three games on this homestand will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network, highlighted by Dec. 21’s matchup with Tennessee, in which the Cardinal will attempt to win its third straight against the Lady Volunteers for the first time in the series. Monday’s contest against New Mexico will also be just the third meeting between the schools and the first since Nov. 20, 2008, an 84-46 Cardinal win in Albuquerque.
Ogwumike Approaches Exclusive Club
Entering Saturday, Chiney Ogwumike needs just 24 points to reach 2,000 for her career. Hitting 2,000 points would make her only the fifth Stanford player to join the 2,000-Point/1,000-Rebound Club, joining older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2008-12), Jayne Appel (2006-10), Nicole Powell (2000-04) and Val Whiting (1989-93).
Ogwumike Dominates Hardwood Tournament Of Hope
Add Chiney Ogwumike to the list of names that includes Hernan Cortes, Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott as conquerors of Mexico, as the senior forward rolled to the Hardwood Tournament of Hope MVP award in Puerto Vallarta. Over Stanford’s wins against No. 16/22 Purdue, Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota State Ogwumike shot 78.0 percent (32-for-41) from the field while averaging 26.0 points and 11.0 rebounds. Ogwumike scored 22 points in the win over the Boilermakers, then went for double-doubles against Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota State, topping out with 29 points on Thanksgiving against the Jackrabbits.
Her performance earned her the Pac-12 Player of the Week honor on Dec. 2, the third time she has claimed the award this season. The announcement also extended her Pac-12 record of 12 weekly honors.
Makings Of A Career Year For Ruef
Redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef returned for an additional year on The Farm and the Cardinal has surely been thankful for that. The Beavercreek, Ohio native has not only provided the expected veteran leadership to a young team but has also let her example on the court do much of her talking. Through the first eight games of the season Ruef is second on the team and tied for fourth in the Pac-12 with 10.0 rebounds per game, and her scoring average of 8.0 points per game is a career high so far. Five times this season Ruef has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game, and so far has posted a pair of double-doubles, most recently scoring a career-high 14 points to go with 12 boards Nov. 27 against Florida Gulf Coast. Over Stanford’s three-game set in Mexico, Ruef was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 8.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.
Freshmen Shine In Mexico
Continuing its rapid ascent, Stanford’s freshman class showed its teeth at the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta over Thanksgiving Weekend. Guard Lili Thompson averaged 8.7 points and 3.00 assists over Stanford’s three wins, maxing out with 12 points on Nov. 27 against Florida Gulf Coast, and scoring 11 points with five rebounds and three assists against No. 16/22 Purdue on Nov. 26. Fellow guard Karlie Samuelson scored five points against Purdue then matched her season high with eight points against South Dakota State on Nov. 28. Guard Briana Roberson did not play in any of the tournament games due to a sore hamstring.
Forwards Erica McCall and Kailee Johnson were effective in all areas of the court. McCall averaged 7.3 points and 6.0 rebounds during the week, scoring a season-high nine points against both Purdue and South Dakota State, while grabbing a season-high eight rebounds against the Boilermakers. Johnson shot 66.7 percent (6-for-9) from the field and averaged 6.0 points over the three games, topping out Nov. 28 against South Dakota State with a season-high 10 points and a pair of 3-pointers.
James Gets Back Into The Groove
Entering the season senior Sara James was going to be limited due to offseason surgery for compartment syndrome, but over the past four games she has shown signs of getting back into her normal groove. She played a then-season-high 18 minutes off the bench at Texas on Nov. 23, scoring six points with four rebounds and four assists, then returned to the starting lineup for the Cardinal’s three games in Mexico. Against No. 16/22 Purdue on Nov. 26, James posted season highs of 27 minutes played and 12 points in the Cardinal’s 86-69 win. She would go on to play 18 minutes and score six points the next day against Florida Gulf Coast. Despite averaging just 12.8 minutes per game so far, James is steadily increasing her workload.