Nov. 7, 2012
No. 4/4 Stanford Cardinal (0-0)
- vs. -
Fresno State Bulldogs (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 - 7 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,329) - Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Stanford leads 20-6
Last Meeting: Dec. 4, 2011 (Stanford 93, Fresno State 59) - Fresno, Calif.
Radio: 90.1 KZSU (P-x-P: Preston Chin)
Game Notes vs. Fresno State
STANFORD, Calif. - After seven months of waiting, Stanford fans will finally get to see their beloved Cardinal women's basketball team officially back in action this Friday night as Stanford hosts Fresno State for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Maples Pavilion.
Returning 11 players from last year's Final Four roster, including four starters, has the Cardinal ranked fourth in both national polls to open the year and expected to once again contend for a national title. Stanford is one of just three programs to have reached five straight Final Fours and will go for a record sixth straight in 2012-13.
Another added bonus for the Cardinal and its fans is the debut season of the Pac-12 Networks. This season the Pac-12 Networks will broadcast 61 women's basketball games live, and the Cardinal is one of the top beneficiaries of the new package, making 13 network appearances.
Stanford will have a total of 19 regular-season games carried on national or regional television, beginning with Nov. 15's game at Hawai'i, which will be shown on Time Warner Oceania. The Cardinal thrice appears on the ESPN Family of Networks, hosting Connecticut Dec. 29 on ESPNU, California on Jan. 13 on ESPN2 and at UCLA Feb. 17 on ESPNU.
"One thing that I feel will be very much in our favor is that we have the best television package of any conference," said Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball Tara VanDerveer. "People will be watching, they'll see our great players. They'll see Chiney, Amber, Taylor, Toni, they'll see these players. The competition is great in the conference."
VanDerveer, who boasts a record of 709-149 entering her 27th season at the Cardinal helm, and an 861-200 record in her 34th year overall, is flanked by a talented coaching staff that once again features Associate Head Coach Amy Tucker in her 28th season, and assistant coaches Kate Paye and Trina Patterson in their sixth and second years with the program, respectively.
Stanford completed its offseason preparation with a pair of exhibition games last weekend, defeating Corban University 117-33, and Vanguard by a score of 82-47.
Sophomore sharpshooter Bonnie Samuelson enjoyed a solid pair of games, averaging a team-best 22.5 points and going 12-for-24 (50.0 percent) on her 3-point attempts over the weekend. Samuelson hit seven triples and scored 27 points in Thursday's 117-33 win over Corban then hit five more in the 82-47 win over Vanguard Saturday. As a team, the Cardinal shot 45.0 percent (27-for-60) from behind the arc over the exhibitions, as Sara James (8-for-16, 50.0 percent) and Taylor Greenfield (6-for-13, 46.2 percent) provided depth to Stanford's long-range game. Preseason Associated Press All-American Chiney Ogwumike averaged 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds and fellow starter Joslyn Tinkle averaged 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds over the two games. Sophomore point guard Amber Orrange averaged 7.0 assists and 5.0 steals over the two wins.
"I think our team has worked very hard this preseason," VanDerveer said. "I've been impressed with the improvement especially of our sophomores. There's such a great opportunity between your freshman year and your sophomore year and I think our sophomores really took advantage of that. Amber, Taylor, those two, Bonnie, Erica, Jasmine and Alex coming back, it's really exciting to see some players out there who missed a lot due to injuries."
This year's Cardinal squad returns four starters from 2011-12's NCAA Final Four lineup that went 35-2 overall and 18-0 in the Pac-12, highlighted by a junior class featuring 2012-13 Associated Press Preseason All-American and Wade Trophy candidate Chiney Ogwumike (15.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 58.3 FG pct., 45 blocks in 2011-12) and All-Pac-12 guard Toni Kokenis (9.5 ppg, 3.57 apg, Pac-12-best 2.24 assist-to-turnover ratio). Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle (8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 39.7 3-pt FG pct., team-leading 47 blocks) and sophomore guard Amber Orrange (4.8 ppg, 3.03 apg, 1.97 assist-to-turnover ratio), a Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention last year, round out the returning starters.
That group will be bolstered by a pack of returners headlined by sophomores Taylor Greenfield (3.6 ppg, 42 3-pt FGs, 36.5 3-pt. FG pct.), a Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention, sharpshooter Bonnie Samuelson (4.6 ppg, team-leading 51 3-pt FGs, 37.3 3-pt FG pct.) and guard Jasmine Camp, who started four of the team's first eight games, highlighted by a 14-point, three-assist effort at Connecticut on Nov. 21 before a foot injury prematurely ended her season.
Also returning from injuries will be redshirt junior forward Mikaela Ruef, who saw action in just three games before a foot injury curtailed her season, and redshirt freshman guard Alex Green, who is returning from an Achilles' injury suffered last November.
Junior guard Sara James (1.5 ppg, 10 3-pt FGs) and sophomore forward Erica Payne (1.1 ppg, 50.0 FG pct.) will challenge for spots in the lineup this fall while the three-woman freshman class of forward Alyson Beebe (Santa Maria, Calif. / Saint Joseph), forward/center Tess Picknell (Medford, Ore. / South Medford) and guard Kiran Lakhian (Plano, Texas / Plano West) begin their careers on The Farm.
As is the norm, the Cardinal faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2012-13 beginning with Friday's opener. The campaign includes matchups with eight NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, including national champion Baylor and fellow national semifinalist Connecticut. Stanford will face two NCAA Tournament teams at the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic from Nov. 16-18, taking on Baylor Nov. 16 and UT Martin Nov. 18, and will travel to SEC powers South Carolina (Dec. 19) and Tennessee (Dec. 22) before the Christmas holiday. The non-conference schedule, which also includes a trip to Gonzaga (Dec. 2), concludes Dec. 29 at Maples Pavilion with a highly-anticipated meeting between the Cardinal and the Connecticut Huskies on ESPNU.
The Cardinal, 12-time defending conference champion and winner of 78 straight games against Pac-12 competition, opens conference play Jan. 4 at Colorado.
The regular season will conclude at the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament, held March 7-10 at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash.
Stanford will also be an NCAA Tournament First and Second Round host site in 2013, with the opening weekend set for March 23-26. The 2013 Final Four is set to be held in New Orleans, La.