Radio: KZSU 90.1 FM (P-x-P: Jake Kelman)
And then there were two. It all comes down to this one final game for Stanford, waging battle with the No. 3/3 Tennessee Lady Volunteers once more this season, this time in the 2008 National Championship Game. Tip-off for the title game is set for 5:30 p.m. PT Tuesday, April 8, from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, as the Cardinal looks to lay claim to its third national championship. Tuesday's contest will be televised live on ESPN, with Mike Patrick on play-by-play, Doris Burke on color, and Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe handling sideline reporter duties. The contest will also be broadcast on 90.1 KZSU, with Jake Kelman handling play-by-play duties.
Last Time Out For The Cardinal
Stanford reached the national final and put itself one step away from a third national title with an 82-73 victory over top overall seed Connecticut Sunday in the national semifinal round. Candice Wiggins shone once again, posting her fourth double-double of the season with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Jayne Appel doubled up as well with 15 points and 10 boards. Kayla Pedersen (17 points, seven rebounds) and JJ Hones (11 points, six assists) also produced double-figure scoring games, while Jillian Harmon provided her usual hustle and grit to the tune of nine points and four rebounds off the bench.
Against The 2008 NCAA Tournament Field
The 2008 NCAA Tournament draw turned up 10 of Stanford's regular-season opponents from this season, including a pair of No. 1 seeds in Connecticut and Tennessee. Stanford posted a 12-1 record against those teams, losing only to Connecticut. The Cardinal are 3-0 against California, 2-0 against Arizona State, and hold single wins over Baylor, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Rutgers, Temple, Tennessee, and Utah.
The Lady Volunteers (35-2, 13-1 SEC) will be aiming to repeat as national champions Tuesday night, and will be making their fourth national title game appearance in the last six seasons. Tennessee took second in the SEC this season, falling only to LSU, which went undefeated in conference play, but then avenged that loss twice over with victories over the Tigers in the SEC Tournament title game as well as Sunday's national semifinal. Helmed by Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest head coach in NCAA basketball history with 982 career victories through Sunday, the Lady Vols are led on the court by the play of consensus All-American Candace Parker (21.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.41 bpg), as well as guard Alexis Hornbuckle (10.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.64 apg) and post Nicky Anosike (8.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg).
All-Time Against Tennessee
Tuesday's contest will be the 25th all-time meeting between Stanford and Tennessee, and second this year. Tennessee leads the overall series, 19-5, and has captured 11 of the last 12. The teams have met twice before in NCAA Tournament action, with Tennessee capturing both contests, the first a 68-61 decision at the 1991 Final Four in New Orleans, and the other a narrow 62-60 win in the 2004 Elite Eight at Norman, Okla. The Cardinal, though, captured the most recent meeting of the two squads, taking a thrilling 73-69 overtime decision over the Lady Vols at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 22, 2007.
All-Time Against The SEC
The Cardinal owns an all-time record of 20-25 against the SEC. Subtracting a career mark of 5-19 against Tennessee, Stanford is 15-6 against the rest of the conference, and is at a disadvantage in the overall series with just LSU (0-2) as well as the Lady Volunteers. In the NCAA Tournament, Stanford owns a 9-5 advantage over the teams of the SEC. This season, the Cardinal have played only one game against the SEC, defeating Tennessee 73-60 in overtime on Dec. 22, 2007.
Breaking Through To The National Championship Game
Sunday night's 82-73 victory over Connecticut in the national semifinal advanced Stanford into the national title game for the third time in program history, and first since 1992. The win also gave the Cardinal the chance to become the first team west of Texas to win the national title since it pulled the feat 1992, and snapped a three-game losing streak in the national semifinal round dating back to 1995-97.
Wiggins Gets One More Night On The Big Stage
Candice Wiggins, likely to go down as the greatest player in Stanford history, and one of the top college women's basketball players of all time, once again put her team on her shoulders and will the team ahead with 25 points and 13 rebounds Sunday against Connecticut. The victory put Wiggins and the current roster of Cardinal players in their first national title game, and for Wiggins, it is a chance to cap off her spectacular career with a title.
Stanford's All-Time Performance In The NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 52-19 mark in NCAA Tournament play and is making its 21st consecutive appearance, and 22nd overall. One of the NCAA's most dominant postseason programs, the Cardinal has won a pair of national titles (1990 & `92), now appeared in seven Final Fours, 12 Elite Eights, and advanced to the Sweet 16 on 15 occasions. Stanford has reached the Regional Final round four of the last five years, with last season being the only exception. Last year, the Cardinal, a No. 2 seed, defeated Idaho State by a score of 96-58 before falling, 68-61, to Florida State in the second round.
Stanford's NCAA Tournament Draw
The Cardinal began the NCAA Tournament on its home court for the 14th time in school history, owning a No. 2 seed for the third time in the last four years, and eighth overall. Stanford's road to its seventh Final Four started with victories of 85-47 and 88-54 in the first two rounds over Cleveland State and UTEP, respectively. At the Spokane Regional, the Cardinal reached the Elite Eight with a 72-53 victory over Pittsburgh before out-running and out-gunning top-seeded Maryland to a 98-87 victory that earned Stanford its seventh Final Four bid. There, the Cardinal secured a spot in its third national title game with an 82-73 victory over Connecticut in Tampa.
Stanford Success Continues At Home For The NCAAs
Stanford has compiled a 22-4 overall record in NCAA Tournament games at Maples Pavilion after first- and second-round routs of Cleveland State and UTEP March 22 and 24. All-time, the Cardinal boasts a 301-32 (.904) record at home during VanDerveer's tenure. The Cardinal is 186-12 (.939) all-time against Pac-10 foes at home, and has won 98 of its last 105 games at Maples. Stanford's last loss in Maples was in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2007 to Florida State.
Ours Go To 11
For those who believe in signs, omens, and are generally superstitious, the prevalence of the number 11 throughout Stanford's memorable 2007-08 season has become a little more than just a coincidence. For starters, Stanford features senior guard and State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year Candice Wiggins, who wears No. 11, and has enjoyed a record-breaking year the magnitude of which has not been seen since the end of Kate Starbird's collegiate career in 1997, or, 11 years ago. Coincidentally enough, this season Wiggins broke Starbird's career and single-season scoring records, which had each stood for 11 years, and matched her single-game scoring record, which likewise had previously stood unequaled for 11 seasons. At the team level, the number 11 becomes significant as well, with the Cardinal defeating Tennessee for the first time in 11 seasons, and, just like 11 years ago, the Cardinal is on its way back to the Final Four, where it has not been in, you guessed it, 11 years. Finally, the margin of victory in the contest that sent Stanford to this year's final score? That's right, 11 points (Stanford 98, Maryland 87).
Stanford Reigns Supreme At Pac-10 Tournament
The Cardinal captured its fifth Pac-10 Tournament title in the last seven years on March 10 with a 56-35 rout of California. Candice Wiggins, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for the third time in her career, scored a game-high 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting (including 5-for-11 on three-pointers) in addition to grabbing four rebounds and making three steals. Freshman Kayla Pedersen scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Jayne Appel pulled down 14 boards of her own to help Stanford win the rebounding battle by a 46-38 margin. The Cardinal defense forced 16 California turnovers while holding the Golden Bears to just 35 points, a season-low for Stanford opponents. Stanford won all three of its tournament contests by at least 21 points, defeating Oregon State, 64-41, in the quarterfinals, routing UCLA by a score of 78-45 in the semifinal round, then clamping down on California to capture the tournament crown. Appel and Pedersen were named to the All-Tournament Team as Stanford claimed half of the six honors following the championship game.
Pride Of The Pac-10
Stanford captured its eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular season title, and 17th in the last 22 years, on March 2, the final day of the season. With a 74-52 victory at Washington State, the Cardinal, at 16-2 in Pac-10 play, clinched at least a share of the title, then became outright champions a few hours later when California fell, 74-66, at Washington. During the conference season, the Cardinal opened 2-2 after suffering a weekend sweep at UCLA and USC, but reeled off 14 straight wins to close the slate. Stanford won 11 Pac-10 games by at least 20 points, boasted a scoring margin of 20.3 points, and went 9-0 on the home court.
The Cardinal In The Polls
Stanford remained at No. 4 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls that came out on Monday, March 17.
Among The National Stats Leaders
The Cardinal is in the National Top 50 in quite a few categories through the games of March 16, including: scoring margin (+19.2 - fourth), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.31 - fourth), fewest turnovers per game (13.2 - sixth), assists per game (17.18 - 10th), FG percentage defense (35.5% - 13th), blocks per game (171 - 5.18 - 14th), scoring defense (55.2 - 15th), rebounding margin (+6.9 - 15th), FG percentage (45.5% - 16th), scoring offense (74.4 - 18th), and fewest fouls per game (14.6 - 31st). Individually, Jayne Appel's 58.6 FG percentage is 11th in the nation, and her 2.39 blocks per game are tied for 23rd. Candice Wiggins stands 17th with 19.3 points per game.
In The Pac-10 Rankings
Through March 31, Stanford, the only Pac-10 team left in the NCAA Tournament, led the Pac-10 in scoring offense (75.6 ppg), scoring margin (+19.9), FG percentage (45.9%), free-throw percentage (72.5%), assists per game (17.46), blocked shots (187 - 5.05 per game), turnover margin (+3.22), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.33). The Cardinal sit second in opponents' points per game (55.7 ppg), opponents' FG percentage (35.3%), rebounding (41.4 rpg), and rebounding margin (+7.6). Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the conference in scoring (20.2 ppg), is second in steals (2.16 per game), and was third in free-throw percentage (81.9%). Jayne Appel leads the loop in FG percentage (59.3%) and blocks (84 - 2.27 per game), was second in rebounding (8.9 rpg), and fourth in scoring (15.0 ppg). Kayla Pedersen is third in rebounding (8.4 rpg), sixth in FG percentage (49.9%), and ninth in scoring (12.6 ppg), while JJ Hones leads the Pac-10 with a 2.64 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Stanford Dominates Pac-10 Honors
The Pac-10 announced its season awards March 6, and it was no surprise that Stanford dominated many of the honors. The Cardinal captured three of the four season awards, as Candice Wiggins became the first player to ever win three Pac-10 Player of the Year awards, Kayla Pedersen became Stanford's seventh Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (and fifth in the last nine years), and Tara VanDerveer garnered her ninth Coach of the Year honor. Additionally, Wiggins and sophomore Jayne Appel were named to the All-Pac-10 First Team, Pedersen was named to the third team, and Jillian Harmon and JJ Hones received honorable mention nods. Pedersen also earned a spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, while fellow rookie Jeanette Pohlen was named honorable mention. Appel, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Harmon, and Wiggins rounded things out by being named Pac-10 All-Defensive Team honorable mention.
35 Wins A New Benchmark
Stanford's 82-73 national semifinal victory over Connecticut marked single-season record-breaking win number 35 in the school's fourth 30-win season in the last 11 years, and seventh overall. That win total surpasses the previous program-best of 34 wins, accomplished in 1996-97, the year of Stanford's last Final Four appearance. The Cardinal posted a 32-3 record in 2001-02 and 2004-05 and reached the regional round.
The Record-Breaking Crusade Of Candice Wiggins
Heading into the final game of her collegiate career, senior guard Candice Wiggins continues to establish multiple records in the Stanford and Pac-10 women's basketball annals. Currently, Wiggins is already the all-time Stanford leader with a career mark of 19.2 points per game, and on Jan. 31, 2008, against USC, she passed Kate Starbird's all-time leading total of 2,215 points to become Stanford's all-time leading scorer. Wiggins' 2,615 career points are also tops on the Pac-10 career scoring list, as she surpassed Lisa Leslie's previous mark of 2,414 points on March 2 at Washington State. Moving beyond the arc, Wiggins hit her 211th and 212th career three-pointers against Connecticut on Nov. 22, becoming Stanford's new all-time leader and breaking the previous record of 210 held by Vanessa Nygaard. Her 286th career three-pointer on March 31 against Maryland broke the Pac-10 career mark of 285 previously held by Arizona's Lisa Griffith (1997-2000). Currently, Wiggins has made 293 threes in her career. Additionally, on Dec. 18 at New Mexico, Wiggins passed Sebnem Kimyacioglu's all-time mark of 549 career three-point attempts, and currently holds the top mark with 749. At the charity stripe, Wiggins is the Stanford all-time leader with her 563 career free throws, having surpassed Val Whiting's previous tally of 481 on Jan. 31 against USC. She also currently sits fourth on the all-time free-throw percentage list with an 82.3% success rate, just two percentage points behind Kelley Suminski's top mark of 84.3%. Finally, on the defensive end, Wiggins' 277 career steals through March 31 leaves her second on Stanford's all-time list, just three away from tying Sonja Henning's leading tally of 280. On the single-season side of things, Wiggins this season has set new benchmarks in points (773, breaking Starbird's 1997 mark of 753), and free throws made (184, breaking her own 2005 mark of 162).
When Last We Met
If Stanford and Tennessee's last meeting was any indication, then Tuesday's national title game should be one for the books. In that Dec. 22 meeting at Maples Pavilion, Stanford overcame an 11-point first-half deficit in a contest that featured five lead chances over the second half and overtime, to come away with the 73-69 win. While Candice Wiggins scored 22 points and Jayne Appel posted a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds, the clutch effort was turned in by Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who scored nine of Stanford's 10 points in the extra session, including drilling a pair of key three-pointers, as well as making the game-icing free throws with five seconds left.
Aiming To Go 3-For-3
Sunday's 82-73 victory over Connecticut propelled Stanford into Tuesday's national title game, the third such appearance overall for the program. The Cardinal is 2-0 in the national title game, having claimed its previous two national titles with victories of 88-81 over Auburn in 1990, and 78-62 over Western Kentucky in 1992.
A Link To The Championship Past
First-year assistant coaches Bobbie Kelsey and Kate Paye returned to their Stanford roots prior to this season, as both were freshmen on the Cardinal's 1992 national champion squad. Reuniting with head coach Tara VanDerveer and associate head coach Amy Tucker, Kelsey and Paye bring with them a championship mentality and yet another embodiment of Stanford's pride and championship tradition. The duo's experience and insight has been a major factor in Stanford's 35-3 mark this season.
Appel Hits A Grand
Sophomore Jayne Appel became the 28th Stanford player to ever score 1,000 career points after scoring 15 points in Sunday's national semifinal against Connecticut. The performance brings Appel's overall tally to 1,006 points, making her the first member of Stanford's "1,000-Point Club" since Brooke Smith cracked the list in 2006.
A Week To Remember
Senior guard Candice Wiggins would love nothing more than to cap off one of the most eventful weeks of her career with a national title Tuesday. Over the last seven days, Wiggins started the week with a 41-point effort against Maryland to not only become the first player to record a pair of 40-point performances in a single NCAA Tournament, but also to lift Stanford into her first-ever Final Four, and the program's 11th. The week continued with the announcement of Wiggins as the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year, as well as to the State Farm/WBCA All-America Team. Finally, the whirlwind seven days ended with Wiggins posting 25 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday's national-semifinal victory over Connecticut, giving her the opportunity to end her illustrious Stanford career with a much-coveted national title.
Dishing Out More Than She Receives
Center Jayne Appel bashed, banged, and bullied her way to her 12th double-double of the season Sunday night, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win over Connecticut. The sophomore shot 6-for-11 from the floor while battling in the paint all night long with the Husky combination of Tina Charles and Brittany Hunter, who she out-rebounded 10-8. Appel, who scored her 1,000th career point in the game, also showed off her passing moves, dishing out four assists on the night.
Youngsters Don't Know Any Better?
Kayla Pedersen, Stanford's super freshman forward, came up, ahem, big once again under the national spotlight, scoring 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds in Sunday's win. The first-year star has done nothing but succeed all year, especially when it matters most, as Pedersen is averaging 12.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game through the first five rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
The "J-Crew" Steps Up
The performance of the "J-Crew" (Jayne Appel, JJ Hones, and Jillian Harmon) Sunday night stood out with its abundance of grit and hustle. As Appel pounded her way to a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, Hones scored 11 points (hitting 3-of-6 on her three-point attempts) and dished out six assists, while Harmon, who has battled a foot injury since early February that caused her to miss seven games, came off the bench and, in her usual style, hustled her way to nine points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
Going For A Decade-Best Winning Streak
Stanford captured its 23rd consecutive win Sunday with the 82-73 victory over Connecticut, matching its decade-best winning streak. The Cardinal's previous 23-game winning streak of the new millenium came in 2004-05, when Stanford reached the Elite Eight, where it fell 76-69 to Michigan State. A victory in Tuesday's national title game would would not only break that mark, but it would bring the Cardinal to within one game of the program's all-time best winning streak of 25 games, achieved in 1996-97.
Hollywood's Next Major Starlet?
Sophomore guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude has impressed with not only her play during the NCAA Tournament, but also with her personality and, in Spokane, her newfound Hollywood connections. While staying at the Davenport Towers Hotel in Spokane, Gold-Onwude and the Stanford team had the chance to meet Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., who was staying at the hotel while shooting a film. With the same fearlessness that has her adding 6.8 points per game, shooting 46.7% (7-for-15) from behind the arc, and inspiring the squad with her hustle and defense during the tournament, Gold-Onwude chatted up Gooding and demonstrated her cool by grabbing a Filet-O-Fish for the celeb, then telling Gooding when he offered to pay her back for the sandwich, "Don't sweat it Cuba, it's on me."
Wiggins Reeling In The Postseason Honors
National postseason recognition has been finding its way to Candice Wiggins, as the senior guard was named the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year, and to the State Farm/WBCA All-America Team on Saturday. The All-America honor made Wiggins just the seventh Division I player to earn the honor four times. Wiggins also became Stanford's first four-time Associated Press All-American last Tuesday. Wiggins was named to the AP's All-America First Team, and has already been named to both Sports Illustrated's and ESPN.com's All-America Teams. She is also one of 40 finalists, along with teammate Jayne Appel, for the WBCA's State Farm All-America Team. The senior from San Diego is a finalist for the prestigious Naismith Trophy, given to the top collegiate women's basketball player in the nation, the John R. Wooden Award, and the Wade Trophy, which will all be annoucned this weekend in Tampa.
Stanford's offensive fireworks in this year's tournament mark the first time since the 1997 Tournament, and just second time overall, that the Cardinal had scored at least 80 points in four games. That year, the Cardinal reached the Final Four.
Perfect At Home
March 24's 88-54 victory over UTEP in the second round of the NCAA Tournament completed Stanford's first undefeated home season since going 11-0 at Maples in 2004-05. That mark had been Stanford's last unblemished record at Maples since posting undefeated home marks in each of the three seasons from 1994-97. Stanford posted a 15-0 at home in 2007-08, and won 13 of those games by at least 20 points. Monday's win gave Stanford an average margin of victory of 28.2 points on its home court this season.
The 700 Club
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer became just the seventh member of the "700 Club" on Dec. 28, earning career win No. 700 with the 105-47 victory over Washington State. Of the seven members, VanDerveer is the second-fastest to have reached 700 wins, needing just 885 games to accomplish the feat. Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt was the fastest, reaching 700 wins in 847 total games. Following the win over the Cougars, VanDerveer was feted by the Maples Pavilion crowd, as a video tribute to her career was played and Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a commemorative basketball.
Non-Conference Season = Great Success!
Feb. 5's win at Santa Clara marked the conclusion of Stanford's non-conference slate during the regular season. In 12 non-conference games this year, the Cardinal posted an impressive 11-1 mark, its best since going 9-1 in regular-season non-conference play during the 2004-05 season. In this decade, the Cardinal have now suffered just one regular-season non-conference loss four times, with the lone loss in three of those years (2001-02, 2002-03, and 2004-05) coming to Tennessee.
Stanford has a tendency to rebound nicely from losses, even ones that come back-to-back. Twenty-three wins in a row following Jan. 6's loss at USC mark the start of a good recovery from the sweep in Los Angeles. Following its first loss of this season on Thanksgiving night to Connecticut, Stanford reeled off nine straight wins in response. Discounting last year's season-ending loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal responded to its previous two losses of 2006-07 with lengthy winning streaks. After losses at No. 4/4 Tennessee and No. 8/8 Georgia on Nov. 24 & 26, 2006, the Cardinal reeled off 17 wins in a row. That streak was broken by a 72-57 loss to No. 21/21 California on Feb. 4, 2007, but the Cardinal re-energized from that hiccup with 10 consecutive wins.
To Be The Best, You've Got To Beat The Best
April 6's 82-73 win over No. 1/1 Connecticut in the national semifinal marked the eighth time this season that Stanford has defeated a Top-10 team. The Cardinal has posted an 8-1 mark against the seven Top-10 teams it has met in 2007-08, having thrice defeated the Golden Bears (Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 10), split a pair of games with Connecticut (lost on Nov. 22, won April 6), then-No. 1/1 Tennessee (Dec. 22), No. 3/3 Rutgers (Nov. 11), No. 10/10 Baylor (Dec. 16), and No. 5/6 Maryland (March 31).
Retiring The Numbers
So far this season, freshmen Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen have each had the honor of seeing their respective high school retire their prep number. At Brea Olinda High, Pohlen's No. 32 jersey was retired as a testament to the career of BOHS' all-time leading scorer (2,196 points) and rebounder (1,140 rebounds), and 2007's Ms. California Basketball. In Mesa, Ariz., Pedersen's alma mater, Red Mountain High, raised her No. 14 jersey to the rafters in testament to a career which saw Pedersen be twice named Gatorade Player of the Year, lead RMHS to the 5A-DI state title in 2007, and set school career records with 2,611 points (also state 5A record), 1,444 rebounds, 434 assists, and 304 blocks.
They Proved The Voters Right Once Again
For the eighth straight year, seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was voted as the favorite to win the conference women's basketball title, according to both the preseason coaches and media poll. The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll, tallying 79 points overall, and 17 of 18 votes in the media poll, good for 179 points. Arizona State was picked as the runner-up in each poll.
Joining The Elite
On Jan. 3, Stanford senior guard Candice Wiggins joined a distinguished list of elite basketball players as she was named USA Basketball's 2007 Female Athlete of the Year. In 2007, Wiggins was part of four USA Basketball squads, and helped those four teams to a combined record of 23-0 and three gold medals in international competition. She also became the first Stanford player to earn this national honor.
The honors were already rolling in for a pair of Cardinal players before 2007-08's start, as senior guard Candice Wiggins and sophomore center Jayne Appel were named to various preseason teams and award lists. Both players were named to the Preseason All-Pac-10 Team, and to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the prestigious Wooden Award. Wiggins, a three-time Kodak and Associated Press All-American, earned preseason All-America honors from the AP, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.
Quick Glance At The Schedule
Trips to New England as well as to the Carribean and 13 opponents that participated in postseason play last year highlighted Stanford's 2007-08 schedule. Stanford will play at least 13 home games at Maples Pavilion, which should be welcome news for a Cardinal club that had won 83 of its last 90 games at home entering 2007-08 and posted an impressive 15-3 record in the arena last year. In addition to the non-conference challenges, Stanford renewed acquaintances with its Pac-10 rivals, which include three teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season, and one that reached the WNIT.