No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (18-1, 7-0 Pac-12)
- vs. -
USC Trojans (14-6, 7-1 Pac-12)
Monday, January 27, 2014 – 6 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,233) – Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Stanford leads 51-19
Last Meeting: Feb. 15, 2013 (Stanford 79, USC 55) – Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: ESPN2 (P-x-P: Dave Pasch, Analysts: Rebecca Lobo, Bill Walton)
Webcast: ESPN3 (http://www.espn3.com)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - First place in the Pac-12 will be on the line on national television Monday night as No. 4/4 Stanford and USC go head-to-head on ESPN Big Monday. The 6 p.m. contest between the Pac-12’s top two teams will air on ESPN2 with Dave Pasch, Rebecca Lobo and Bill Walton calling the action. The contest can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU and online at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal was tested Friday night against a physical UCLA team but fought its way to a 72-55 victory to remain unbeaten in Pac-12 play. Chiney Ogwumike recovered from a 1-for-6 start from the field to go 9-of-12 the rest of the way and post her 14th double-double of the season with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Stanford also got great contributions from a pair of rookies in guard Lili Thompson, who scored 15 points, and forward Erica McCall, who scored a season-high 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and matched her season high with eight rebounds. The Cardinal defense stepped up in the second half, holding the Bruins to just 20 points as Stanford blew open what had been a one-point game at halftime.
USC (14-6) has continued its rise up the Pac-12 standings, where after Friday night’s 77-70 win at No. 19/16 California the Trojans sit in second place at 7-1. In her first year at the USC helm, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke guides a Trojan team led by the play of Ariya Crook (16.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and Cassie Harberts (15.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg).
All-Time Against USC
Stanford leads the all-time series against USC, 51-19, and has won 12 in a row against the Trojans. The last time the Trojans defeated the Cardinal was a 73-72 victory in Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 2008.
In The Pac-12 Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 24 Stanford ranks in the top three of 11 categories: scoring defense (59.6 - first), scoring margin (+20.5 - first), rebounding margin (+8.1 - first), field-goal percentage (49.2 - first), 3-point field-goal percentage (41.5 - first), field-goal percentage defense (34.3 - first), assists (19.90 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.56 - first), scoring offense (80.1 - second), blocked shots (3.90 bpg - second), and rebounding defense (35.1 - third). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (26.9 ppg) and field-goal percentage (64.0), and is second in rebounding (12.2 rpg) and blocked shots (1.79 bpg). Mikaela Ruef is sixth in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.78), and ninth in assists (3.47 apg), tops among all Pac-12 posts in the latter two categories. Amber Orrange leads the loop in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.29) and is second in assists (4.84 apg). Lili Thompson (45.8) and Bonnie Samuelson (45.5) are 1-2 in the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage while Amber Orrange (43.2) is fifth and Karlie Samuelson (40.0) is tied for 10th. Thompson is also sixth with a 2.11 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Takeaways From Friday’s 72-55 Win Over UCLA
• Stanford is now 55-22 all-time against UCLA, and has now won 17 in a row against the Bruins after Friday’s 72-55 victory.
• The Cardinal shot 53.4 percent (31-for-58) Friday night, marking the ninth time this season, and third game in a row in which it shot at least 50.0 percent from the field.
• Lili Thompson’s 15 points marked her seventh double-figure scoring game this season, and third in a row. She is averaging 12.7 points and shooting 62.5 percent (15-for-24) over the past three games
• Stanford passed out 20 assists, and has now hit 20 assists in 11 games this year.
• Chiney Ogwumike scored 21 points with 15 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season.
• Freshman Erica McCall set season highs in points (12) and field goals (six) and matched her season high with eight rebounds. It was her first double-digit scoring game of the season.
• Stanford grabbed 45 rebounds Friday night, marking the 17th time out of 19 games this season that the Cardinal had grabbed at least 40 rebounds.
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. 23 (prior to Friday’s game against UCLA) the Cypress, Texas native was the only player in the nation to rank in the top 10 in field-goal percentage (second), scoring (third), rebounding (ninth), and double-doubles (10th). Friday night against the Bruins she posted her 14th double-double with 21 points on 10-for-18 shooting and 15 rebounds. Although the next set of national stat rankings won’t come out until Monday morning, there is no doubt that Ogwumike’s figures of 26.9 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game, her 64.0 field-goal percentage and 14 double-doubles 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 6.8 points per game, Ruef is sixth in the conference with 9.0 rebounds a game, and leads all Pac-12 front-court players with 3.47 assists per game and a 1.78 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Thompson Keeps Up The Strong Play
Freshman guard Lili Thompson went 5-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range in Friday’s 72-55 win over UCLA, scoring 15 points. Thompson’s performance has continued her strong play during the conference season, as she is averaging 11.1 points over Stanford’s 7-0 start to Pac-12 play. The Mansfield, Texas native has scored in double figures in each of the past three games, and over her seven Pac-12 games is shooting a scorching 66.7 percent (10-for-15) from behind the arc and 54.0 percent (27-for-50) overall.
Bird’s The Word
Another Cardinal freshman enjoyed a strong night Friday against UCLA, as forward Erica McCall, nicknamed “Bird” by her teammates, scored a season-high 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and matched her season high with eight rebounds. One of Stanford’s five talented freshmen, Bird, so nicknamed because teammates related the pronunciation of her last name to a bird call, lives up to the moniker by flying higher than most opponents in the paint, thrice grabbing eight boards in a game this year and averaging 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 points over 14.2 minutes per game. Friday, she used her athleticism and length to record the 12 points and eight rebounds over 17 minutes off the bench.
Orrange Among The Elite Point Guards In The Country
Entering this weekend Stanford is averaging 80.1 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. Credit to the distribution of Cardinal scoring (five players average over six points per game) should 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, passed out eight assists in Friday’s win over UCLA and currently leads the Pac-12 with a 3.29 assist-to-turnover ratio and is second with 4.84 assists per game.