Dec. 21, 2012
No. 1/1 Stanford Cardinal (10-0)
- at -
No. 10/11 Tennessee (7-2)
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 - 1 p.m. PT
Thompson-Boling Arena (24,535) - Knoxville, Tenn.
Series History: Tennessee leads 22-7
Last Meeting: December 20, 2011 (Stanford 97, Tennessee 80) - Stanford, Calif.
TV: SportsSouth (PxP: Bob Kesling, Analyst: Debbie Antonelli)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU (P-x-P: Preston Chin)
Game Notes vs. Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Two of the top programs in collegiate women's basketball history meet Saturday in their annual battle as No. 1/1 Stanford visits No. 10/11 Tennessee for a 1 p.m. PT contest. The 30th meeting between the schools, and the 25th straight year in which they have met, will be televised on SportSouth and at with Bob Kesling on the call and Debbie Antonelli as analyst. The contest will also be available on 90.1 KZSU with Preston Chin on the call.
Last Time Out
Stanford outlasted a scrappy No. 21/17 South Carolina squad Wednesday night but kept its composure to defeat the Gamecocks 53-49 in Columbia. Toni Kokenis matched her season-high with 15 points and helped seal the win by going 6-for-6 from the line over the game's final minute. Chiney Ogwumike posted her seventh straight double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds to go with four blocks. Mikaela Ruef grabbed six rebounds and scored a clutch go-ahead bucket with 53 seconds remaining that gave the Cardinal the lead for good, while Joslyn Tinkle grabbed seven boards and made a career-high seven blocks to pace the Stanford defense.
Tennessee (7-2) comes into Saturday's contest off of a 76-53 loss at No. 3/3 Baylor Tuesday night which snapped the Lady Vols' seven-game winning streak. The Lady Vols, led by first-year head coach Holly Warlick, are led by the play of Meighan Simmons (17.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Bashaara Graves (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg).
Saturday's game will be the 30th meeting between the two storied programs, with Tennessee holding a 22-7 edge. It also marks the 25th straight year that the Cardinal and Lady Vols have met.
Stanford In The National Polls
Stanford checked in at No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' Polls for the fifth straight week. The Cardinal earned 22 of 40 first-place votes in the AP Poll and 25 of 31 in the Coaches Poll.
In The Pac-12 Statistics
Through Dec. 20, Stanford ranked in the top three of 13 statistical categories amongst Pac-12 schools: scoring defense (50.9 ppg - first), scoring margin (+25.1 - first), field-goal percentage (50.9 - first), field-goal percentage defense (31.3 - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.17 - first), defensive rebounds (32.1 drpg - first), scoring offense (76.0 ppg - second), 3-point field-goal percentage (35.5 - second), free-throw percentage (73.0 - second), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (25.9 - second), rebounding defense (30.7 rpg - second), rebound margin (+14.2 - third) and blocked shots (5.50 bpg - third). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the conference in scoring (21.9 ppg), is second in rebounding (12.2 rpg) and field-goal percentage (63.8). Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle leads teh conference with 2.40 blocks per game and is ninth with a 54.5 shooting percentage. Amber Orrange is second in the Pac-12 with a 1.67 assist-to-turnover ratio and third with 5.30 assists per game. Taylor Greenfield's 48.6 3-point field-goal percentage and Toni Kokenis' 95.8 free-throw percentage each lead the Pac-12.
A Storied Series Continues Saturday
Stanford and Tennessee, two of the most storied programs in the game, meet for the 30th time Saturday, and the 13th time in Knoxville. After defeating Tennessee 97-80 at Maples Pavilion last year, Stanford, with a win Saturday, would achieve back-to-back wins over Tennessee for just the second time in the series. The last time the Cardinal captured two straight from the Lady Vols was Dec. 16, 1995 (a 90-72 home win) and Dec. 15, 1996 (an 82-65 win in Knoxville). Despite the Lady Vols holding a 22-7 edge in the series, the Cardinal has managed to earn a split of the past six meetings after having dropped 11 straight to Tennessee from 1997-2006.
Looking For That Elusive Win In Knoxville
Saturday's contest will be the 13th time that Stanford and Tennessee have met in Knoxville. The Cardinal aims for just its second win over the Lady Vols in Knoxville. Stanford's lone win in Knoxville came on Dec. 15, 1996 when the Cardinal defeated the Lady Vols 82-65.
Stanford Off To Second-Best Start In Program History
Wednesday's win at South Carolina upped Stanford's record to 10-0, just the third time overall and first time since 1991-92 that the Cardinal has opened a season with 10 wins. In 1991-92 the 10-game streak to open the campaign ended there, with a 74-65 loss at California on Jan. 10. Stanford's best start to a season came in 1989-90, when the Cardinal opened the campaign with 20 straight wins en route to a 32-1 overall mark and the program's first national title. It should also be noted that the previous two times in which Stanford opened a season 10-0 (1989-90 and 1991-92) it went on to win the national title.
Stanford Against The SEC
With Wednesday's win at South Carolina in the books, the Cardinal now owns an all-time record of 28-28 against the SEC (not including new members Missouri and Texas A&M). Take away the Cardinal's 7-22 all-time record against Tennessee and Stanford is 21-6 against the rest of the conference. The only SEC schools the Cardinal has never faced are Kentucky and Mississippi State.
Last Time They Met
Last year's battle between the Cardinal and Lady Vols was yet another entertaining chapter in the series as Stanford rolled to a 97-80 victory at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 20. Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored a career-high 42 points on 19-of-27 shooting and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Cardinal overcame an early 10-3 hole to go ahead 48-41 by halftime. The Cardinal shot 53.6 percent for the game, and Ogwumike received support from guard Toni Kokenis, who scored a career-high 26 points, and younger sister Chiney who added 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Stanford's 97 points were also the most the Cardinal has scored against Tennessee in the series.
Defense Steps Up
Despite Stanford's struggles on the offensive end Wednesday night in Columbia, which resulted in a season-low 40.4 field-goal percentage, it's defense stepped up to help lead the way to the 53-49 win. The Cardinal defense held South Carolina to just 18 field goals and a 28.6 percent figure in the contest as well as just 19 first-half points. Part of that low shooting percentage was due to the presence of posts Joslyn Tinkle and Chiney Ogwumike in the paint, as the pair combined to block 11 Gamecock shots. Tinkle, a 6-3 post, blocked a career-high seven shots in the contest, increasing her per-game average to a Pac-12-leading 2.40, while Ogwumike, the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, boasts 1.40 blocks per game.
Ogwumike Powers Through
Despite the low offensive output of both teams Wednesday night, junior forward and consensus preseason All-American and national player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike was the outlier, shooting 50.0 percent from the field (8-for-16) and posting her seventh straight double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Along with being her seventh straight double-double, the performance was also her eighth this season (out of 10 games), her fourth straight performance of at least 20 points and fifth overall this year. Defensively Ogwumike bolstered her defensive credentials by blocking a season-high four shots against South Carolina.
Doing The Dirty Work
Wednesday's victory over South Carolina was yet another demonstration of all of the intangibles and value redshirt junior forward Mikaela Ruef brings to the Cardinal. The Beavercreek, Ohio native continued her breakout season by grabbing six rebounds but it was two specific plays that made the difference. With 53 seconds remaining and the score knotted at 45-45, Ruef drove to the basket and rimmed in a short jumper through traffic to give the Cardinal a lead it would not relinquish. Later, with 10 seconds remaining and the Cardinal clinging to a 49-46 lead, Ruef drew a key charge against South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell, turning over possession to the Cardinal and helping ice the game.
The performance continued Ruef's strong comeback season from a 2011-12 season in which she missed all but three November games due to foot injuries. Through the first 10 games of the season, she is second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per game, 21 assists and eight blocks.
Ice Water Running Through Her Veins
Junior guard Oak Brook, Ill. native Toni Kokenis matched a season high Wednesday with 15 points in the 53-49 win over South Carolina. Over a season-high 35 minutes of action, Kokenis brought her steely resolve to a contest which called for it, demonstrating her reliability in the clutch by going 7-for-7 from the line including making six straight over the game's final 30 seconds to seal the Cardinal victory. On the year, the Second City Sparkplug is averaging 8.7 points per game and leading the Pac-12 with a sizzling 95.8 free-throw percentage, going 23-for-24 from the line.
Finding Ways To Contribute
Despite going scoreless in Wednesday's win at South Carolina, senior forward Joslyn Tinkle still showed the diversity of her game by making strong contributions elsewhere. The Missoula, Mont. native hit the boards hard, finishing the game with seven rebounds as Stanford won the battle of the glass by a 42-31 margin, and was a stalwart on defense for the Cardinal, blocking a career-high seven shots. Tinkle's presence in the paint and shot-blocking talent helped the Cardinal defense hold the Gamecocks to just 28.6 percent shooting from the field, preventing South Carolina from taking full advantage of the Cardinal offense scoring a season-low 53 points.
Winning The Battle Of The Glass
One thing that remained consistent throughout Wednesday night's win at South Carolina was Stanford's dominance of the boards as the Cardinal out-rebounded the Gamecocks 42-31. It marked the ninth straight time this season that Stanford has out-rebounded its foe. The only time the Cardinal failed to win the battle of the boards was in the season opener against Fresno State on Nov. 9 when the Bulldogs grabbed 44 rebounds to Stanford's 41. Since then, the Cardinal's redoubled efforts on the glass has led to a season rebounding margin of plus-14.6 and includes the Cardinal out-rebounded defending national champion Baylor 40-28 in the 71-69 win on Nov. 16.