No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (19-1, 8-0 Pac-12)
- vs. -
No. 21/19 California Golden Bears (14-5, 6-2 Pac-12)
Thursday, January 30, 2014 – 8 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,233) – Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Stanford leads 60-18
Last Meeting: Jan. 13, 2013 (California 67, Stanford 55) – Stanford, Calif.
TV: ESPN2 (P-x-P: Krista Blunk, Analyst: Mary Murphy, Sideline Reporter: Rosalyn Gold-Onwude)
Webcast: Pac-12 Network (http://www.pac-12.com/live)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU
STANFORD, Calif. - It’s Battle of the Bay Week as No. 4/4 Stanford and No. 21/19 California meet twice within four days. The first edition of this annual home-and-home takes place Thursday at 8 p.m. at Maples Pavilion, with the return bout Sunday at 1 p.m. in Berkeley. Thursday’s game will air on the Pac-12 Network with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy on the call and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude 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 rolled to an 86-59 victory over USC Monday night at Maples Pavilion, getting a balanced effort which included five players scoring in double figures. Chiney Ogwumike led that quintet with 30 points and 12 rebounds, her 10th 30-point game of the season, while Mikaela Ruef posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, Amber Orrange and Lili Thompson each scored 12 points and freshman Karlie Samuelson added 10. Stanford out-rebounded USC, 42-28, and passed out 22 assists led by six from Amber Orrange.
California (14-5, 6-2) enters Thursday’s game tied just a half-game out of second place on the conference table and looking for a way to close in on the Cardinal’s two-game lead. The Golden Bears opened the Pac-12 slate with four straight wins, but have split the past two weekends, falling at Arizona State on Jan. 17 and at home to USC on Jan. 24. Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb is in her fourth season at the helm in Berkeley, guiding a squad led by the play of point guard Brittany Boyd (14.0 ppg, 5.63 apg) and forward Reshanda Gray (17.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg).
All-Time Against California
Stanford leads the all-time series against California, 60-18, and is 53-7 against the Golden Bears since the first season of Pac-12 (then Pac-10) play in 1986-87. California, however, captured the most recent meeting, defeating the Cardinal 67-55 at Maples Pavilion last Jan. 13 to earn a split of the season series.
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. 28 Stanford ranks in the top three of 10 categories: scoring defense (59.5 - first), scoring margin (+20.8 - first), rebounding margin (+8.4 - first), field-goal percentage (49.2 - first), 3-point field-goal percentage (41.1 - first), field-goal percentage defense (34.4 - first), assists (20.00 apg - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.61 - first), scoring offense (80.3 - second), and rebounding defense (34.8 - second). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (27.1 ppg) and field-goal percentage (64.2), and is second in rebounding (12.2 rpg) and blocked shots (1.80 bpg). Mikaela Ruef is fifth in rebounding (9.1 rpg), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76), and 10th in assists (3.35 apg), tops among all Pac-12 posts in the latter two categories. Amber Orrange leads the loop in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.50) and is second in assists (4.90 apg). Lili Thompson (47.1) and Bonnie Samuelson (44.6) are 1-2 in the Pac-12 in 3-point field-goal percentage while Karlie Samuelson (40.7) is seventh. Thompson is also fourth with a 2.00 assist-to-turnover ratio.
In The National Stat Rankings
Through Jan. 23 Stanford ranked in the top 20 of seven categories: assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58 - third), field-goal percentage (48.9 - fourth), 3-point field-goal percentage (41.3 - fourth), assists (19.89 - fourth), turnovers per game (12.6 - ninth), scoring margin (+20.7 - 11th) and field-goal percentage defense (34.4 - 11th). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top 10 in field-goal percentage (64.5 - second), scoring (27.3 ppg - third), rebounding (12.0 rpg - ninth) and double-doubles (13 - 10th). Amber Orrange’s 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio is 10th in the country.
Battle Of The Bay Intensity Over Four Days
With the Pac-12 condensing the women’s basketball schedule by a week last year, this season is the second in which Stanford and California play both regular-season games in less than a week. Last year the teams played on Tuesday and Sunday of one week, but this season the intensity compacts even more as the teams play twice in four days (Thursday and Sunday). The results of last season’s meetings were unique in that the teams not only split, but each school won on the other’s home court. Stanford defeated the Golden Bears, 62-53 in Berkeley to start the week, but California came back with a 67-55 win at Maples Pavilion five days later, snapping Stanford’s 81-game winning streak against Pac-12 opponents.
Ogwumike’s Gonna Start Calling It The “Nerdy Thirty”
National player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike went for 30 points and 12 rebounds in Monday’s 86-59 win over USC, posting her 15th double-double and 10th 30-point performance of the season. Ogwumike opened this season with two 30-point performances over the first three games, including a career-high 36 against Cal Poly on Nov. 15, and over Stanford’s last 11 games has reached the 30-point mark nine times. The 30-point games have been the highlight of her career season in 2013-14, as Ogwumike is averaging 27.1 points per game and with 2,312 points is on pace to break Candice Wiggins’ Pac-12 scoring record of 2,629. Should Ogwumike average an even 27 points per game the rest of the way, she would need just 12 more games to pass Wiggins’ record.
But Seriously, National Player Of The Year Here
After finishing second to Brittney Griner in the Associated Press National Player of the Year voting last season, Chiney Ogwumike has put together a 2013-14 campaign that should put her at the front of the pack. So far this season, Ogwumike is the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (27.1 ppg), rebounding (12.2 rpg) and field-goal percentage (64.2). The last national stat update was Monday, so Ogwumike’s numbers and positions there were prior to Stanford’s game against USC. However, her 10th 30-point game of the season, 12 rebounds and 14-for-21 (66.7) shooting performance no doubt has kept her in the top 10 of each category, as entering Monday she ranked second, third and ninth in field-goal percentage, scoring and rebounding, respectively.
Two Of The Best Point Guards Face Off
Thursday’s game will feature a matchup of the Pac-12’s top point guards and two of the best in the country as Stanford’s Amber Orrange and California’s Brittany Boyd go head-to-head. Both players are on the Nancy Lieberman Watch List, and they are 1-2 on the Pac-12’s assist list, with Boyd leading the loop with 5.63 assists per game and Orrange second with 4.90 per game. Both can score when called upon, as Boyd averages 14.0 points a game and Orrange scored 9.6 per game. Orrange, however, has been more precise with the ball, ranking eighth in the conference with a 48.0 field-goal percentage and leading the Pac-12 with a 3.50 assist-to-turnover ratio that also ranks in the national top 10.
Ruef Rebounds, Passes, Hits 3s #NBD
Redshirt senior Mikaela Ruef posted her third double-double of the season Monday against USC, grinding her way to 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ruef also had the outside touch going, hitting just her second 3-pointer of the season as well as a textbook turnaround jumper later in the game. The performance continued a career season for the Beavercreek, Ohio native, who is fifth in the Pac-12 with 9.1 rebounds per game and tops among all conference frontcourt players with 3.35 assists and a 1.76 assist-to-turnover ratio. Even away from the court Ruef is performing well, finishing her master’s in civil and environmental engineering and working as an engineer on Stanford’s energy-conversion projects around campus.
Precocious Freshman In The Backcourt
Monday’s win over USC was another game in which the freshman guard tandem of Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson continued their fearless play. Thompson, a starter since the Cardinal’s third game of the season, scored 12 points with three assists, going 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Samuelson, meanwhile, hit a pair of triples and scored 10 points. Their performances marked the third time in the last four games that the pair has scored in double figures together. For Thompson, it continued her stellar play in the Pac-12 season, as she now averages 11.3 points and 4.13 assists while shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 66.7 percent (12-for-18) over the first eight conference games. Samuelson is third on the team in conference play with 7.8 points per game, and leads the team with 14 3-pointers (in 26 attempts) over the first eight Pac-12 games.
Limited Time But Unlimited Leadership
Despite playing just 12.4 minutes a game, senior guard Sara James has started 14 games this season largely because of her leadership and knowledge on the court. After offseason surgery for compartment syndrome, James has been limited in her minutes, but her knowledge and experience with the Cardinal playbook has earned her Tara VanDerveer’s trust to help the Cardinal get off to good starts in each half. James, however, has not lost her scoring touch or hustle, as she averaged 8.0 points over Stanford’s wins against UCLA and USC, and for the season is shooting 34.0 percent from behind the arc while grabbing 2.1 rebounds a game.
Hittin’ Over Half
Stanford ranks first in the Pac-12 with a 49.3 team field-goal percentage, and a large reason for that is that the Cardinal has shot over 50.0 percent in 10 of its 20 games this season. The Cardinal made over half of its attempts in each game of last weekend’s sweep of UCLA and USC, shooting 53.4 percent against the Bruins and 50.8 percent against the Trojans. Stanford, in fact, has shot over 50.0 percent in each of its past four games and in six of the past eight, topping out by shooting 63.5 percent on Jan. 17 at Arizona. The Cardinal’s top shooting percentage in program history is 52.1 percent, set by the 1997-98 team. This year, contributing to the Cardinal’s strong shooting rate are the figures of Chiney Ogwumike (64.2), Bonnie Samuelson (49.3), Amber Orrange (48.0) and Taylor Greenfield (47.1). As a team, Stanford has not shot below 45.0 percent in a season since posting a 44.2 figure in 2003-04.
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 45.8 percent (120-for-262) and made at least seven triples in 10 of 15 games.