No. 6/5 Stanford Cardinal (9-1)
- vs. -
No. 3/3 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (10-0)
Saturday, December 21, 2013 – 1:30 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,233) – Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Tennessee leads 22-8
Last Meeting: Dec. 22, 2012 (Stanford 73, Tennessee 60) – Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: Pac-12 Network (P-x-P: Krista Blunk, Analyst: Mary Murphy, Sideline: Ashley Adamson)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - The storied rivalry between Stanford and Tennessee writes a new chapter as the No. 6/5 Cardinal hosts the third-ranked Lady Volunteers Saturday at Maples Pavilion. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network at 1:30 p.m. with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy on the call and Ashley Adamson reporting from the sidelines. The contest can also be heard on 90.1 KZSU and online at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal won its eighth straight game Monday night, defeating New Mexico 75-41 at Maples Pavilion. Chiney Ogwumike scored 23 of the Cardinal’s first 25 points, and finished the night with 32 on 14-of-21 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds with four blocks. Six Cardinal players scored at least six points in the game, with freshman Erica McCall’s six point and eight rebounds one of the highlights. Redshirt senior Mikaela Ruef grabbed 10 rebounds to go with three assists and three blocks, while juniors Taylor Greenfield and Bonnie Samuelson each scored eight points. The Cardinal defense recorded a season-best 12 blocks in addition to limiting the Lobos to opponent lows of 41 points, 16 field goals and a 24.2 shooting percentage.
Tennessee (10-0), ranked third in both national polls, heads west after sweeping a three-game home stand against Texas, Troy and Tennessee State. The Lady Vols, with Holly Warlick in her second season at the helm, are led by the play of guard tandem Meighan Simmons (13.6 ppg, 2.70 apg) and Ariel Massengale (12.4 ppg, 6.40 apg), while Bashaara Graves (11.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Isabelle Harrison (11.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) control the paint.
All-Time Against Tennessee
Saturday’s meeting will be the 31st in the all-time series between Stanford and Tennessee, with the Lady Vols holding a 22-8 advantage. The Cardinal, however, has won four of the past seven meetings and three of the past four, including last year’s 73-60 win at Thompson-Boling Arena, only Stanford’s second win over the Lady Vols in Knoxville and first since December 1996. A win for Stanford on Saturday would also give the Cardinal three straight wins over Tennessee for the first time.
In The National Rankings
Stanford remained sixth in Dec. 16’s Associated Press Poll and settled into fifth in Tuesday’s USA Today Sports Coaches’ Poll.
In The Pac-12 Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 17 Stanford ranks in the top three of five categories: scoring defense (57.4 - first), assists (18.10 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.36 - first), field-goal percentage (46.9 - second), field-goal percentage defense (33.1 - second), blocked shots (4.0 bpg - second) and scoring margin (+17.8 - third). The Cardinal ranks fourth in rebounding defense (36.0 rpg), rebounding margin (+7.7) and offensive rebound percentage (38.4). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (25.7 ppg), and is third in rebounding (10.6 rpg) and field-goal percentage (62.6). Mikaela Ruef is sixth in rebounding (9.5 rpg) while Amber Orrange is third in 3-point field-goal percentage (47.6), fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.41), seventh in assists (4.10 apg) and sixth in field-goal percentage (53.1), and tied for eighth in steals (2.00 spg).
The Stanford-Tennessee Rivalry Has Taken A Cardinal Hue As Of Late
The all-time series between Stanford and Tennessee stretches back to December 1988, when the Cardinal traveled to Knoxville and lost to the Lady Volunteers, 83-60. Since then, the teams have met annually, in some cases twice a year and in the case of 1990-91, three times. Tennessee took control of the rivalry with an 11-game winning streak from 1997-2007, but since a 73-69 overtime win at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 22, 2007, Stanford has slowly turned the tide, winning four of the past seven meetings and three of the last four.
Three of those past seven meetings have been settled in overtime, but the Cardinal seems to have found a groove, winning three of the past four contests, the past two, and the past three at Maples Pavilion. Two years ago Stanford rolled up 97 points in a 97-80 victory on Dec. 20, 2011, then last Dec. 22 scored just its second win over the Lady Vols in Knoxville with a 73-60 win.
Memorable Performances Of Late Against Tennessee
Over the past seven seasons Stanford has gotten a load of memorable performances which have helped it nab four of the past seven meetings. In December 2007 it was Rosalyn Gold-Onwude scoring nine of Stanford’s 10 points in overtime as the Cardinal captured a 73-69 win. In a 67-52 win at Maples on Dec. 19, 2009, it was a balanced team effort which featured 16 points from Kayla Pedersen, 14 rebounds from Jayne Appel, and a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds from Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Ogwumike and Toni Kokenis would steal the show together at Maples two years later, as Ogwumike scored a career-high 42 points while Kokenis added a career-best 26 to the 97-80 Cardinal win. Last Dec. 22, Chiney Ogwumike scored 21 points with 19 rebounds, while Bonnie Samuelson scored 11 points off the bench to help Stanford to a 73-60 win in Knoxville.
Going Up Against Top-Five Teams
Saturday’s matchup is also another one for the Cardinal against a top-five program, as Tennessee enters Saturday ranked No. 3 in both national polls. While it is well-known that Stanford plays one of the toughest non-conference schedules year-in and year-out, the Cardinal also succeeds against those tough opponents. Since 2007-08 Stanford is 11-9 in its games against top-five opponents. Saturday’s contest will also be the 25th time out of 31 all-time meetings that both Stanford and Tennessee will be ranked in the national top 10 at tip-off.
December A Month To Remember For Cardinal
The final month of the calendar year has been kind to the Cardinal as of late. Since the 2007-08 season, Stanford owns a record of 29-6 in December, and heading into Saturday’s game against Tennessee has won 15 of its last 16 games during the month. That lone loss in the stretch was last year’s 61-35 defeat at the hands of No. 2/2 Connecticut on Dec. 29.
Ogwumike Hits Career Milestones
Chiney Ogwumike entered last Monday’s contest against New Mexico just five points short of 2,000 for her career, and it took the Cypress, Texas native just 1:21 to hit the mark. Reaching 2,000 points made her the eighth Cardinal player to hit the milestone as well as just the fifth to join the 2,000-Point/1,000-Rebound Club, into which she joined older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2008-12), Jayne Appel (2006-10), Nicole Powell (2000-04) and Val Whiting (1989-93). Chiney would end Monday night’s contest with 32 points, upping her career haul to 2,027, bringing her within 11 points of Jeanne Ruark Hoff in seventh place on Stanford’s all-time scoring list.
Ogwumike Highlights Win Over New Mexico
Monday’s 73-45 victory over New Mexico featured Chiney Ogwumike outscoring the Lobos for the first 26:25 of the contest, as the senior scored 24 first-half points then added the first six of the second half. The Lobos finally reached the 30-point mark with 13:35 remaining in the contest. Ogwumike would end the game with 32 points, which marked her third 30-point performance of the season. On defense, she added a season-high four blocks while also grabbing seven rebounds to bring her career total to 1,227 and pass older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike for third all-time on Stanford’s career rebounding list.
Ruef Continues To Grind
Redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef pulled down a double-digit rebounding figure for the sixth time this season Monday night with 10 rebounds against New Mexico. Returning for her fifth season on The Farm, Ruef has significantly raised her game with each passing season, and appears to be aiming for another career year in 2013-14. Through the first 10 games of the season the Beavercreek, Ohio native ranks sixth in the Pac-12 with 9.5 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 33 assists (3.30 per game), just eight back of leader Amber Orrange. Last year Ruef set career bests with 6.6 rebounds a game (239 total) and 78 assists, and this year is already on pace to smash those marks, already owning 95 rebounds and 33 assists.
News Team Assemble!
It’s no coincidence that this week Anchorman 2 opened in theaters while at the same time Stanford’s own “news team” of Anchorman superfans Taylor Greenfield, Erica Payne and Bonnie Samuelson were reunited on the court together. Greenfield and Payne each missed the first eight games of the season due to injury but returned last Saturday against Gonzaga. In the two games back Greenfield is averaging 6.0 points and 2.00 rebounds over 13.0 minutes a game, and Payne has seen an average of 3.0 minutes a game as her knee holds up and returns to game shape. Samuelson, meanwhile, opened the year with a 15-point showing at Boston College and is averaging 4.7 points per game while hitting nine 3-pointers. All fully healthy, the trio can provide long-distance scoring for the Cardinal and also knows how to look out for themselves in back-alley brawls featuring a man on a horse and people killing each other with tridents.
Calm And Serene At The Point
Head coach Tara VanDerveer compared her team to an orchestra after last Saturday’s win over Gonzaga, and analogized junior point guard Amber Orrange as the team’s drummer, keeping the beat for everyone else to work with. That comparison is apt for Orrange, a Houston native who in her third year is averaging 11.7 points and 4.10 assists a game. Befitting her calm demeanor, Orrange quietly but effectively keeps the Stanford offense in the perfect rhythm, calling the cadence and selflessly setting the beat over which her teammates showcase their talents.