March 7, 1998
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer didn't feel much like
celebrating Saturday after the Cardinal beat Oregon State 97-74 to wrap up
their fourth consecutive Pac-10 title.
Instead her thoughts were with senior forward Vanessa Nygaard, who injured
her left knee in the second half and may miss the upcoming NCAA tournament.
VanDerveer said Nygaard, the team's third-leading scorer with a 14.9
average, "felt something pop in her left knee" after landing awkwardly on the
leg with 9:55 left in the game.
"She's had knee problems before, but it's been in her other knee,"
VanDerveer said. "She said it felt like what happened to her last year," when
she missed part of the season with a torn medial collateral ligament.
Nygaard, who had 15 points and nine rebounds against Oregon State, was taken
to a hospital after the game for an MRI.
VanDerveer said the loss of Nygaard would definitely hurt the Cardinal
(21-5, 17-1 Pac-10), who are expected to be named the top seed in the West
Region on Sunday.
"She's been our most consistent player all year, our best 3-point scorer, a
great rebounder and our top perimeter defensive player," VanDerveer said.
"She's a team captain, our floor leader, and gives a lot of heart to our
team. She's very, very valuable to our team."
Kristin Folkl led the Cardinal on Saturday with 23 points, eight rebounds
and three steals in only 25 minutes. Olympia Scott added 18 points and seven
rebounds, and Regan Freuen had 13 points for Stanford.
Stanford has won 15 straight games and 19 of its last 20 after opening the
season with a 2-4 record.
The Beavers (7-20, 2-16), who ended their 12-game losing streak on Thursday
by defeating California, jumped to a 6-0 lead before Stanford responded with 11
straight points to go ahead for good.
Oregon State was within 35-31 with 3:10 to play in the first half after a
layup by guard Monica Watts, but the Cardinal closed the half with a 13-4 run
to take a 48-35 halftime lead.
Stanford pulled away midway through the second half after the Beavers closed
to 63-50 on a three-point play by Watts. The Cardinal went on a 9-0 run for a
72-50 lead with 9:54 left and Oregon State didn't get closer than 17 points
Watts scored 24 points and Sissel Pierce added 21 for the Beavers, who lost
18 of their last 20 games after starting the season 5-2.
Stanford outrebounded the Beavers 41-30 and had 16 second-chance points.
"They are so tall on the perimeter it was hard for us to find our passing
lanes," Oregon State coach Judy Spoelstra said. "So we tried to get physical
with them a little bit.
"We came out and battled with them until late in the first half. The
difference was their second-chance points."
Stanford has a 70-2 Pac-10 record in the last four years.