No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (15-1, 4-0 Pac-12)
Arizona Wildcats (4-11, 0-4 Pac-12)
Friday, January 17, 2014 – 6 p.m. PT
McKale Center (14,545) – Tucson, Ariz.
Series History: Stanford leads 58-12
Last Meeting: Feb. 8, 2013 (Stanford 73, Arizona 43) – Stanford, Calif.
TV: Pac-12 Network (P-x-P: Krista Blunk, Analyst: Rosalyn Gold-Onwude)
Webcast: Pac-12 Network Online (http://www.pac-12.com/live)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 4/4 Stanford returns to Arizona for the first time since 2012 this weekend. The Cardinal opens the weekend Friday night with a 6 p.m. PT tip at Arizona, then closes it Monday at 4 p.m. PT at No. 19/24 Arizona State. Friday’s matchup will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network with Krista Blunk 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 completed a sweep of the mountain region of the conference last weekend, defeating Utah and No. 17/18 Colorado in its only scheduled meetings of the season against the pair. Freshman guard Karlie Samuelson had a career day, scoring 19 points and hitting five 3-pointers, while Chiney Ogwumike posted her 11th double-double with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Stanford stayed hot from the perimeter, going 10-for-21 from 3-point range. After taking a 17-point halftime lead, the Cardinal withstood a late Colorado rally which pulled the Buffaloes to within seven at 82-75, but tight defense along with three free throws down the stretch from Mikaela Ruef helped Stanford ice the game.
Arizona has opened its Pac-12 campaign with four straight losses despite winning its final three non-conference games. Head coach Niya Butts, in her fifth season at the helm, oversees a Wildcats team led by the play of Candice Warthen (13.0 ppg, 3.00 apg) and Kama Griffitts (10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg).
All-Time Against Arizona
Stanford leads the all-time series against Arizona, 58-12, and has captured 22 straight against the Wildcats entering Friday’s meeting in Tucson. The Cardinal has not lost to the Wildcats since suffering an 88-83 defeat in Tucson back on Feb. 5, 2004.
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. 13 Stanford ranks in the top three of 11 categories: scoring defense (60.6 - first), scoring margin (+19.0 - first), field-goal percentage (47.7 - first), 3-point field-goal percentage (40.5 - first), field-goal percentage defense (34.2 - first), assists (19.63 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.53 - first), scoring offense (79.6 - second), rebounding margin (+7.5 - second), blocked shots (3.94 bpg - second) and turnover margin (+1.7 - third). The Cardinal also ranks fourth in rebounding offense (43.8), 3-pointers made per game (7.1) and defensive rebounding (30.1 drpg). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (27.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage (62.8), and is second in rebounding (11.8 rpg) and blocked shots (1.81 bpg). Mikaela Ruef is fifth in rebounding (9.3 rpg), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67) and 12th in assists (3.44 apg), tops among all Pac-12 posts in the latter two categories. Amber Orrange leads the loop in 3-point field-goal percentage (44.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.96), is third in assists (4.63 apg), and 10th in field-goal percentage (48.8) and steals (1.81 spg).
In The National Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 12 Stanford ranked in the top 20 of seven categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.53 - fourth), 3-point field-goal percentage (40.5 - fifth), field-goal percentage (47.7 - eighth), assists (19.63 - eighth), field-goal percentage defense (34.2 - 16th), scoring margin (+19.0 - 16th), turnovers per game (12.8 - 16th). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (27.3 ppg - third), field-goal percentage (62.8 - seventh), and rebounding (11.8 rpg - 10th), and also ranks 11th with 11 double-doubles. Amber Orrange’s 2.96 assist-to-turnover ratio is 16th in the country.
Ogwumike Earns Sixth Pac-12 Player Of The Week Honor Of 2013-14
Senior forward and consensus national player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike on Monday was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the sixth time this season. The honor is the 15th of her career, and the sixth honor of this campaign matches her own single-season Pac-12 record set last year. Ogwumike earned the latest recognition by averaging 32.0 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 64.1 percent from the field over Stanford’s road sweep of Utah and No. 17/18 Colorado. Her 30-point effort at Utah and 34 points at Colorado now give her eight 30-point performances this season and six over the last seven games, and Sunday’s 34-point, 16-rebound line against the Buffaloes was her 11th double-double of the season.
Rare Back-To-Back Road Weekends For The Cardinal
Stanford returned to campus from Boulder Sunday night at about 11 p.m., and will have a quick turnaround before leaving for its five-day trip to Arizona Thursday afternoon. It is the Cardinal’s first set of back-to-back road weekends in Pac-12 play in three years, when Stanford made its trip to Oregon from Jan. 26-29, 2011 then to Arizona from Feb. 2-5, 2011. The Cardinal was perfect on that road trip, winning the four games by an average of 28.3 points.
Stanford On The Road Against The Pac-12
The Cardinal’s second straight weekend on the road doesn’t seem so daunting when you look at how it has fared against the Pac-12 away from Maples Pavilion lately. After last weekend’s sweep at Utah and Colorado, Stanford has now won 58 straight games against the Pac-12 schools away from Maples Pavilion, a figure that includes 14 neutral court wins at the Pac-12 Tournament. As for true road wins against Pac-12 opponents (games at the opponent’s home court), Stanford has won 44 in a row. The Cardinal’s last loss to a Pac-12 foe away from Maples Pavilion was a 57-54 setback at California on Jan. 18, 2009.
It’s A Double Round-Robin Against Seven Teams The Rest Of The Way
This year’s Pac-12 slate for the Cardinal is unique in its setup. With the new scheduling format in its third year since the addition of Colorado and Utah to the conference, Stanford, like every team in the Pac-12, goes through two-year cycles in which it only plays four other opponents once in each of those two seasons. This year, Stanford only plays Oregon, Oregon State, Colorado and Utah once, and the schedule uniquely had the Cardinal playing its first four games against those schools. Now that those games are past, Stanford will play its final 14 conference games against seven schools, making for rather quick turnarounds. Besides playing California twice in a week (Jan. 30 and Feb. 2), Stanford will play Arizona State and Arizona along with UCLA and USC each four weeks after their first respective meetings, and as for the Washington and Washington State pairing, the Cardinal plays them each twice within a three-week span.
Ogwumike’s Tear Continues
Chiney Ogwumike continued her national player of the year-caliber season last weekend in Utah and Colorado as well as her march to the top levels of the Stanford record book. The two-time All-American averaged 32.0 points over the two wins, capping the weekend with a 34-point, 16-rebound performance that was her 11th double-double and eighth 30-point game of the season as well as her sixth 30-point game over the past seven. After her weekend performance, which earned her a sixth Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of 2013-14, Ogwumike remains the only player in the country to rank in the national top 10 in scoring 27.3 ppg - third), field-goal percentage (62.8 - seventh) and rebounding (11.8 rpg).
One Of The Top Point Guards In The Country
Sophomore point guard Amber Orrange should be opening some eyes nationally this year as she is enjoying one of the best seasons among point guards. The soft-spoken Houston native is averaging 10.4 points and 4.63 assists per game through 16 games, serving a dual role as Stanford’s offensive conductor as well as its playmaker in the back court. This past weekend Orrange averaged 9.5 points and 4.50 points per game, highlighted by 14 points and six assists in Friday’s 87-61 win at Utah. Her steady, effective performances pile up so consistently that Orrange’s preferred low profile can’t escape the fact that she is one of the top point guards in the country, leading the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage (44.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.96), ranking third in assists (4.63 apg), and 10th in both field-goal percentage (48.8) and steals (1.81 spg).
Synchronized 3-Point Shooting
Junior forward Bonnie Samuelson has carved out a reputation as a 3-point scion of Pac-12 opponents, and even worse news has been served to the conference as younger sister Karlie, a freshman guard, has joined the downtown party. Karlie enjoyed a breakout day Sunday in Boulder, sniping the Buffaloes with a season-high five triples in eight attempts and scoring a season-best 19 points in Stanford’ 87-77 win. Karlie scored 17 of her points in the first half, including a mic-dropping 3 from the corner at the halftime buzzer which gave the Cardinal a 55-38 halftime lead. Bonnie, meanwhile, averages 6.1 points per game and has been having a solid year from behind the arc, leading the Cardinal with 21 triples while shooting 43.8 percent on her attempts. Karlie’s big game on Sunday lifted her scoring average to 5.1 points a game with 15 triples and a 37.5 success rate.
Control The Boards, Control The Outcome
A long-time key to Stanford’s enduring success has been the Cardinal’s ability to control the boards against its opponents, and this season has proved no exception to that rule. This past weekend, Stanford out-rebounded Utah 43-28 Friday in a 26-point win, and beat Colorado on the boards, 40-35, in a 10-point win Sunday. Redshirt senior Mikaela Ruef matched a career high with 14 rebounds Friday in Salt Lake City then grabbed 10 more Sunday in Boulder, giving her eight double-digit rebounding games on the year. Senior Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal on the weekend with 25 rebounds, including 16 Sunday against the Buffaloes. On the year, Stanford is averaging 43.8 rebounds a game and has grabbed at least 40 rebounds in all but one game this season. That one game was at Texas on Nov. 23, in which the Cardinal came down with just 38 rebounds.
Since Drinking The Water, They’ve Been Hitting All Day
A welcome factor into Stanford’s success this season has been the rejuvenation of its 3-point shooting accuracy. Like many personal rejuvenations and reboots, this one can be credited to a tropical vacation, as the Cardinal’s hot hands started at the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta. In the five games prior to that trip Thanksgiving weekend, the Cardinal shot just 26.7 percent (23-for-86) from behind the arc, but maybe the Cardinal demonstrated that a previously-unknown result of drinking the water in Mexico is improved 3-point shooting, as the team has gone 90-for-193 (46.6 percent) since the first game of the tournament.