No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12)
- vs. -
UCLA Bruins (10-9, 4-3 Pac-12)
Friday, January 24, 2014 – 8 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,233) – Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Stanford leads 54-22
Last Meeting: March 10, 2013 (Stanford 51, UCLA 49) – Seattle, Wash.
TV: Pac-12 Network (P-x-P: Anne Marie Anderson, Analyst: Tammy Blackburn)
Webcast: Pac-12 Network Online (http://www.pac-12.com/live)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 4/4 Stanford welcomes the Pac-12’s SoCal contingent to The Farm this weekend, hosting UCLA Friday night before USC comes to Maples Monday evening. Friday’s 8 p.m. contest against the Bruins will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Anne Marie Anderson and Tammy Blackburn 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 improved to 4-1 against Top-25 teams Monday afternoon, out-muscling No. 14/24 Arizona State, 80-56, in Tempe. National player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike posted her ninth 30-point performance of the season, finishing with 30 points while also grabbing 16 rebounds to post her 13th double-double of the year. Center Mikaela Ruef joined Ogwumike in establishing control of the paint, battling her way to 11 rebounds while chipping in nine points and passing out a team-high five assists. From the outside, Taylor Greenfield scored 14 points with four assists while freshmen guards Karlie Samuelson and Lili Thompson added 11 points apiece.
UCLA (10-9, 4-3 Pac-12) has won three of its past four games heading into Friday’s meeting with Stanford, including a home sweep of the Oregon schools this past weekend. In her third year at the Bruin helm, head coach Cori Close guides a squad led by the play of Atonye Nyingifa (18.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Nirra Fields (17.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Thea Lemberger (15.8 ppg, 3.63 apg).
All-Time Against UCLA
Stanford leads the all-time series against UCLA, 54-22, and has won 16 in a row against the Bruins entering Friday. The Cardinal’s last home loss to the Bruins was an 80-72 setback on Jan. 16, 1999.
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. 20 Stanford ranks in the top three of 13 categories: scoring defense (59.8 - first), scoring margin (+20.7 - first), rebounding margin (+7.7 - first), field-goal percentage (48.9 - first), 3-point field-goal percentage (41.3 - first), field-goal percentage defense (34.4 - first), assists (19.89 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58 - first), scoring offense (80.5 - second), blocked shots (3.89 bpg - second), rebounding defense (35.4 - third), turnover margin (+1.6 - third) and defensive rebounding (29.9 - third). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (27.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage (64.5), and is second in rebounding (12.0 rpg) and blocked shots (1.78 bpg). Mikaela Ruef is fifth in rebounding (9.2 rpg), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88) and tied for ninth in assists (3.44 apg), tops among all Pac-12 posts in the latter two categories. Amber Orrange leads the loop in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.11) and is third in assists (4.67 apg). Bonnie Samuelson leads the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage (45.5) while Lili Thompson is third (44.4), Amber Orrange fourth (44.2) and Karlie Samuelson ninth (40.8).
In The National Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 19 Stanford ranked in the top 20 of seven categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60 - third), 3-point field-goal percentage (41.2 - fourth), assists (20.12 - fifth), field-goal percentage (48.6 - fifth), turnovers per game (12.6 - ninth), scoring margin (+20.5 - 11th) and field-goal percentage defense (34.5 - 13th). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top 10 in field-goal percentage (64.1 - second), scoring (27.1 ppg - third) and rebounding (11.8 rpg - ninth), and also ranks 12th with 12 double-doubles. Amber Orrange’s 3.28 assist-to-turnover ratio is sixth in the country.
Stanford Completes Back-To-Back Road Sweeps
Monday’s 80-56 victory over Arizona State completed Stanford’s second road sweep in as many weeks. Prior to this past weekend’s victories at Arizona and Arizona State, the Cardinal had traveled to the Rocky Mountain region and recorded wins at Utah (Jan. 10) and then-No. 17/18 Colorado (Jan. 12). The four road wins stretch Stanford’s winning streak against the Pac-12 away from Maples Pavilion to 60 games, a figure that includes 14 neutral-court wins in the Pac-12 Tournament. As for true road wins against Pac-12 opponents (games on the opponent’s home court), Stanford has won 46 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.
Another Top-25 Win For The Cardinal
Stanford collected its fifth straight win over a Top-25 team with Monday’s 80-56 win at No. 14/24 Arizona State. Currently 4-1 against Top-25 teams, the Cardinal lost its first matchup with a ranked foe back on Nov. 11, falling 76-57 at No. 1/1 Connecticut. Since that loss, the Cardinal has won 16 straight games, including victories over No. 16/22 Purdue in Puerto Vallarta, No. 23/22 Gonzaga and No. 3/3 Tennessee at home, and No. 17/18 Colorado and No. 14/24 Arizona State on the road. With this week’s polls out, Stanford is looking at two meetings with No. 19/16 California (Jan. 30 and Feb. 2) and a return bout against Arizona State Feb. 14 at Maples Pavilion.
National Player Of The Year-Caliber Season From Ogwumike
Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike, coming off of a career year in 2012-13, has elevated her game even more this season. Through Jan. 19 (prior to Monday’s game at Arizona State) the Cypress, Texas native was the only player in the nation to rank in the top 10 in field-goal percentage (second), scoring (third), and rebounding (ninth), and Monday night against the 14th-ranked Sun Devils she only increased her totals by finishing with 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting and 16 rebounds. Although the next set of national stat rankings won’t come out until Friday morning, there is no doubt that Ogwumike’s figures of 27.3 points per game, 12.0 rebounds per game and her 64.5 field-goal percentage will all be in the top 10 of their respective categories.
Ruef Multi-Tasks On And Off The Court
Fifth-year senior forward/center Mikaela Ruef’s responsibilities on the court are as diverse as those off the court, as she balances her passing, rebounding and scoring duties with finishing up her master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and working as an engineer on the university’s energy-conversion projects. An early-riser, Ruef’s day may begin in a classroom, an office, or even on a work site, but on gameday it ends with the Beavercreek, Ohio native performing as the top all-around post in the conference. Besides chipping in 7.1 points per game, Ruef is fifth in the conference with 9.2 rebounds a game, and leads all Pac-12 front-court players with 3.44 assists per game and a 1.88 assist-to-turnover ratio.
That Escalated Quickly
Entering this season Stanford’s 3-point shooting was in a rut. Since shooting 39.6 percent from behind the arc as a team in 2006-07, the Cardinal failed to crack 34 percent in six of the next seven seasons, with the percentages in 2011-12 (31.1) and 2012-13 (31.9) being the two lowest marks in program history. This season didn’t start any better, as the Cardinal shot just 26.7 percent (23-for-86) from behind the arc over the first five games. But starting with Nov. 26’s game against No. 16/22 Purdue in Puerto Vallarta, Stanford has shot 46.8 percent (108-for-231) and made at least seven triples in nine of 13 games.
Not Bad, Rookies
Last weekend’s sweep in Arizona was another chance for Stanford’s freshman class to continue its quick development into a dangerous unit. Guard Karlie Samuelson averaged 13.5 points over the weekend while going 8-for-12 (66.7 percent) from the field and 5-for-9 (55.6 percent) from 3-point range, and fellow rookie guard Lili Thompson averaged 11.5 points and 5.00 assists with a 62.5-percent shooting mark (10-for-16) from the field. Each player is enjoying a solid debut campaign, as Thompson, who has started the past 16 games for the Cardinal, averages 7.4 points and 3.17 assists with a 44.4 3-point field goal percentage, while Samuelson plays 17.1 minutes a game off the bench, averaging 6.3 points and hitting 40.8 percent of her 3-point field-goal attempts.
The Ringmaster Of This Show
Entering this weekend Stanford is averaging 80.5 points per game, which, if the Cardinal keeps this pace would be the first time since 2001-02 (80.3 ppg) that the team has scored at least 80 points per contest. While the current scoring average does reflect seven Cardinal players averaging over six points per game, credit should also be given to the conductor of the show, point guard Amber Orrange. A midseason candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given each year to the nation’s top point guard, Orrange, in a reflection of her demeanor, has quietly established herself among the best, leading the Pac-12 with a 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio and ranking third with 4.67 assists per game. The Houston native can also take it to the rack when needed, as she averages 9.7 points per game and is shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from 3-point range.
Putting An Extra Coat Of Windex On The Boards
Despite Stanford being just the fourth-best rebounding team in the Pac-12 with 43.1 rebounds a game, the Cardinal does boast one of the conference’s top duos on the boards in Chiney Ogwumike and Mikaela Ruef. Both team captains, Ogwumike (12.0 rpg) and Ruef (9.2 rpg) combine for 21.2 rebounds per game, behind only Oregon’s Jillian Alleyne and Chrishae Rowe, who combine for 22.0 rebounds per game. Yet when Stanford and Oregon met on the court on Jan. 3, Ogwumike and Ruef dominated the boards, combining for 23 (14 from Ogwumike, nine from Ruef) against just 16 between Alleyne and Rowe.
Don’t Let Them Get Hot
Juniors Taylor Greenfield and Bonnie Samuelson have always been part of Stanford’s 3-point shooting attack, but this season each player has been obliterating their previous seasons’ numbers from behind the arc. Greenfield, after missing Stanford’s first eight games due to a foot injury, is 18-for-36 (50.0 percent) from behind the arc since returning on Dec. 14, better than her 28.9-percent mark last year, and is already more than halfway to breaking her previous season high of 29 triples made in 2011-12. Samuelson, meanwhile, led the Cardinal in 3-pointers made in each of the past two seasons with 44 and 49, respectively, and this season is more than halfway to those numbers, leading the Cardinal with 25 triples. Her 45.5-percent figure currently leads the Pac-12 and is a career-best for her after shooting 37.3 percent as a freshman and 35.0 percent last year.
Greenfield Enjoying Her Best Season Yet
Junior forward Taylor Greenfield has been enjoying the best all-around season of her Cardinal career in 2013-14, with her contributions going beyond just her improved 3-point shooting. After missing the first eight games of the season due to a foot injury, Greenfield returned Dec. 14 against No. 23/22 Gonzaga, and in the 10 games since her return has averaged a career-best 8.1 points per game in addition to her 50.0-percent 3-point field-goal percentage. Last weekend, the Huxley, Iowa native averaged 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.50 assists over Stanford’s wins over Arizona and Arizona State, including a 14-point, five-rebound effort Monday against the Sun Devils.