No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12)
Utah Utes (7-6, 0-2 Pac-12)
Friday, January 10, 2014 – 5 p.m. PT
Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) – Salt Lake City, Utah
Series History: Stanford leads 16-0
Last Meeting: Jan. 25, 2013 (Stanford 65, Utah 44) – Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: Pac-12 Network (P-x-P: Ann Schatz, Analyst: Rosalyn Gold-Onwude)
Webcast: Pac-12 Network Online (http://www.pac-12.com/live)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - Fourth-ranked Stanford makes its first Pac-12 trip of the year, visiting the Rocky Mountain area for its only meetings of the regular season against Utah and No. 17/18 Colorado. Both contests will be televised on the Pac-12 Network, beginning with Friday’s 5 p.m. PT meeting with Utah featuring Ann Schatz and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude on the call. The contest can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU and online at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal, 13-time defending Pac-12 champions, opened defense of its crown with a home sweep of Oregon and Oregon State this past weekend. Chiney Ogwumike, who averaged 32.0 points and 13.5 rebounds over the two wins, became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder Friday against Oregon, grabbing 14 boards and eclipsing former teammate Kayla Pedersen’s mark of 1,266. Forward Bonnie Samuelson scored a career-high 21 points and hit six 3-pointers in Friday’s 96-66 win over the Ducks, while Sunday against Oregon State freshman guard Lili Thompson scored a season-high 19 points with five rebounds and five assists in the Cardinal’s 89-67 win.
Utah opened the Pac-12 season with losses at UCLA and USC last weekend, snapping a five-game winning streak over an undefeated month of December. The Utes, with head coach Anthony Levrets in his fourth season at the helm, are led by the play of Michelle Plouffe (17.9 ppg, 10.7 rpg) and Emily Potter (11.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) in the frontcourt and guard Danielle Rodriguez (9.7 ppg, 5.23 apg).
All-Time Against Utah
Stanford is unbeaten in 16 meetings against Utah in the all-time series which began in 1985-86. The Utes are one of two Pac-12 teams against which the Cardinal is undefeated, with Washington State (55-0) being the other.
In The National Rankings
Stanford remained at No. 4 in both the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today Sports Coaches’ Poll this week.
In The Pac-12 Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 5 Stanford ranks in the top three of 10 categories: scoring margin (+19.1 - first), field-goal percentage (47.2 - first), 3-point field-goal percentage (38.9 - first), field-goal percentage defense (33.4 - first), assists (19.43 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55 - first), scoring offense (78.5 - second), scoring defense (59.4 - second), blocked shots (4.14 bpg - third) and turnover margin (+2.2 - third). The Cardinal also ranks fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (28.0), 3-pointers made per game (6.8) and offensive rebound percentage (37.9). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (26.6 ppg) and field-goal percentage (62.6), and is second in rebounding (11.6 rpg). Mikaela Ruef is seventh in rebounding (8.9 rpg), fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.04) and ninth in assists (3.64), while Amber Orrange leads the loop in 3-point field-goal percentage (46.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.95), is fifth in assists (4.64 apg), sixth in steals (2.00 spg) and seventh in field-goal percentage (50.9).
In The National Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 5 Stanford ranked in the top 20 of seven categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55 - fourth), assists (19.43 - ninth), field-goal percentage defense (33.4 - 10th), field-goal percentage (47.2 - 14th), 3-point field-goal percentage (38.9 - 14th), turnovers per game (12.6 - 16th) and scoring margin (+19.1 - 19th). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (26.6 ppg - third), field-goal percentage (62.6 - eighth), double-doubles (10 - eighth) and rebounding (11.6 rpg - T-10th).
Ogwumike Earns Fifth Pac-12 Player Of The Week Honor Of 2013-14
Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike’s weekend performance against Oregon and Oregon State brought in her fifth Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of the season, and the 14th of her career. Ogwumike became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder in Friday’s 96-66 win over Oregon, grabbing 14 rebounds and passing former teammate Kayla Pedersen’s previous benchmark of 1,266. For the weekend, Ogwumike averaged 32.0 points and 13.5 rebounds whil shooting 59.6 percent from the field, capping the weekend with a performance of 31 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high six assists in Sunday’s 89-67 win over Oregon State.
Make It Thirty
Chiney Ogwumike’s 33- and 31-point efforts against Oregon and Oregon State, respectively, last weekend gave her four 30-point games over the Cardinal’s past five. At the 14-game mark of the campaign, not even halfway through the season, Ogwumike has already posted six 30-point games, a figure that is tied with older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2011-12) for most by a Stanford player in a single season. Chiney also boasts eight career 30-point games, tied for fourth all-time with Kate Starbird among Stanford players behind leader Candice Wiggins (12), and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (10) and Jeanne Ruark Hoff (10).
Ogwumike Becomes Pac-12’s Top Career Rebounder
Chiney Ogwumike entered last Friday’s game against Oregon needing 10 rebounds to pass Kayla Pedersen’s career mark of 1,266 and become the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder, and in the 96-66 win achieved the feat, grabbed the record-breaking rebound on the defensive boards with 12:20 to go in the contest en route to finishing with 14 boards. After pulling down 13 rebounds in Sunday’s win over Oregon State, Ogwumike’s record total stood at 1,284 at the end of the weekend. The Pac-12’s all-time top-four rebounders are in fact all Stanford players from the past four years: Chiney Ogwumike (1,284 rebounds), Kayla Pedersen (1,266), Jayne Appel (1,263) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (1,226).
Interesting Start To Stanford’s Pac-12 Campaign
With the scheduling changes resulting from the addition of Utah and Colorado to the conference in 2011-12, there are four teams each season that the Cardinal plays just once during the regular season. This season begins the second of the scheduled two-year blocks, as the Cardinal will play Oregon, Oregon State, Colorado and Utah once apiece in 2013-14 and 2014-15. This year’s schedule adds an interesting twist, as the Cardinal plays its first four games against those teams, and having already downed Oregon and Oregon State last weekend, Stanford heads this weekend into its only scheduled meetings against Utah and Colorado. Stanford’s final 14 conference games over the next seven weeks will be a double round-robin against the rest of the Pac-12.
Could Be A Grinder Friday
If past results are any indication, Friday’s game at Utah could be a grinder on both ends, as the Cardinal has only reached 70 points in regulation against the Utes once over the past seven meetings dating back to the 2007-08 season. In that first meeting of this stretch, an 81-77 double-overtime win for the Cardinal on Nov. 18, 2007, Stanford had just 62 points in regulation. Over the past seven games, the Cardinal has averaged just 64.3 points against the Utes, but its defense has come to play, holding the Utes to just 48.7 points per game.
Downtown Is Bustling
Stanford struggled with its 3-point shooting the past two seasons, putting up a program-low 31.1 percent in 2011-12 and the second-lowest figure in 2012-13 at just 31.9 percent. But this season the Cardinal downtown is enjoying a revival, as the team is shooting 38.9 percent from behind the arc. That upward trend has been due in large part to the performance of the past six games as Stanford is 51-for-108 (47.2 percent) from behind the arc since returning on Dec. 14 from its annual two-week break for final exams. Twice during the stretch the Cardinal has hit 12 3-pointers (Dec. 28 at Fresno State, Jan. 3 vs. Oregon), and individually the assault has been led by juniors Taylor Greenfield and Bonnie Samuelson, who over the past six games sport identical 13-for-25 (52.0 percent) showings from behind the arc. Freshman Lili Thompson is right behind them with eight triples over the span.
Locking Down Her Spot
Freshman guard Lili Thompson has been on a tear recently for the Cardinal, averaging 11.0 points, 4.00 assists and 3.5 rebounds over the last four games. This stretch began Dec. 21 against No. 3/3 Tennessee when Thompson scored 14 points with three assists, and has continued through Sunday’s win over Oregon State in which she went for a season-high 19 points and matched season bests with five rebounds and five assists. The Mansfield, Texas native has been one of the Cardinal players with a hot hand from outside, going 8-for-16 from behind the arc over the past four games. After coming off the bench in each of the first two games of the year, Thompson broke into the starting lineup Nov. 15 against Cal Poly and has remained there since.
Ruef Emerges As Top All-Around Post
Redshirt senior Mikaela Ruef enjoyed a career year in 2012-13 as she broke into the Cardinal starting lineup and was one of the most diverse contributors on the squad, finishing second on the team in rebounding and assists. This season, Ruef has emerged as one of the top all-around posts in the Pac-12, if not the country. Through 14 games she ranks in the Pac-12 top 10 in rebounding (8.9 rpg - seventh), assists (3.64 apg - ninth) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.04 - fourth), and leads all Pac-12 posts in the latter two categories. Ruef has pulled down double-digit rebounds in six games this season, and passed out at least seven assists thrice, and has even managed to chip in 7.2 points per game despite not being one of the Cardinal’s main offensive targets. Defensively, Ruef is assigned to the opponent’s top post player, and is a key reason why the Cardinal is limiting foes to just 59.4 points per game and owns a rebounding margin of +7.2.
Greenfield Continues Her Hot Start
Junior forward Taylor Greenfield missed the first eight games of the season due to a foot injury, returning to action Dec. 14 against Gonzaga. Since that return Greenfield is in one of the best stretches of her collegiate career, averaging 10.0 points per game and shooting 55.3 percent from the field including a 52.0-percent mark (13-for-25) from 3-point range. While she played just 11 minutes with four points in her return against Gonzaga, the Huxley, Iowa native quickly found her touch, hitting both 3-point attempts with eight points Dec. 16 against New Mexico, then hitting three more with 11 points in Dec. 21’s win over No. 3/3 Tennessee. She started at Fresno State on Dec. 28 and responded with 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting, then Sunday against Oregon State went 5-for-8 with 13 points off the bench.
The Six-Pack Flexing Some Muscle
Greenfield’s strong play this winter has been one of the highlights for Stanford’s junior class this season, a pack of six that includes redshirt sophomores Jasmine Camp and Alex Green. Amber Orrange, the team’s starting point guard, is one of two juniors along with Greenfield that is averaging over 10 points a game, coming in at 10.5. Orrange is second on the team in scoring and leads the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage (46.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.95) while ranking fifth in assists (4.64 apg). Small forward Bonnie Samuelson is averaging 6.7 points per game and leads the team with 20 3-pointers while ranking fifth in the conference with a 42.6 3-point field-goal percentage. Guard Jasmine Camp has seen action in 11 games, averaging 5.8 minutes while going 4-for-8 from behind the arc, and forward Erica Payne made her season debut Dec. 14 and is still working her way back to 100% after offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.