Dec. 25, 2012
No. 1/1 Stanford Cardinal (11-0)
- vs. -
No. 2/2 Connecticut Huskies (10-0)
Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 - 1 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion (7,329) - Stanford, Calif.
Series History: Connecticut leads 7-6
Last Meeting: November 21, 2011 (Connecticut 68, Stanford 58) - Hartford, Conn.
TV: ESPNU (PxP: Dave O'Brien, Analysts: Doris Burke, Rebecca Lobo)
Radio: 90.1 KZSU (P-x-P: Ed Siegel and Joe Lami)
Game Notes vs. Connecticut
STANFORD, Calif. - For the third time in the past four years Stanford and Connecticut will face off as the top two teams in the country, as the squads tip off at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Maples Pavilion. Saturday's sold-out battle will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke and Rebecca Lobo on the call. The contest will also be webcast on ESPN3 and available on 90.1 KZSU with Ed Siegel and Joe Lami calling the action.
Last Time Out
Stanford finished off a 2-0 trip to SEC Country with a 73-60 win at No. 10.11 Tennessee this past Saturday, claiming just its second win in Knoxville over the Lady Volunteers and first since December 15, 1996. Chiney Ogwumike was dominant in posting her eighth straight double-double, scoring 21 points and establishing career highs of 19 rebounds and five assists. Sophomore sharpshooter Bonnie Samuelson came off the bench to score 11 points and go 3-for-3 from behind the arc, while Amber Orrange (14 points, six assists), Toni Kokenis (11 points, two steals) and Joslyn Tinkle (10 points, three rebounds) rounded out the Cardinal's five double-digit scorers. Mikaela Ruef also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a pair of shots as Stanford extended its season-opening winning streak to 11 games, the second-best start in program history.
No. 2/2 Connecticut (10-0) went into the holiday break with a pair of big wins over Oakland (97-25) and Hartford (102-45) last week. Overall the Huskies have captured four wins over Top-25 teams this season, and with Geno Auriemma in his 28th year at the helm Connecticut is led by the foursome of Breanna Stewart (16.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (16.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Stefanie Dolson (11.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Bria Hartley (10.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
Saturday's game will be the 14th meeting between the two storied programs, with Connecticut holding a 7-6 edge.
Stanford In The National Polls
Stanford earned 24 of 40 first-place votes to remain at No. 1 in the Dec. 24 Associated Press Poll, and 26 of 31 to remain at No. 1 in the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll. Monday's poll also means that Stanford will be the AP's No. 1 team for six weeks, matching the program's longest tenure at the top first set during the first six weeks of the 1996-97 season.
In The Pac-12 Statistics
Through Dec. 22, Stanford ranked in the top three of 13 statistical categories amongst Pac-12 schools: scoring defense (51.6 ppg - second), scoring margin (+24.1 - first), field-goal percentage (50.6 - first), field-goal percentage defense (31.4 - first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.20 - first), defensive rebounds (31.7 drpg - first), scoring offense (75.7 ppg - second), 3-point field-goal percentage (34.8 - second), free-throw percentage (74.2 - second), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (25.5 - second), rebounding defense (31.6 rpg - third), rebound margin (+12.9 - third) and blocked shots (5.55 bpg - third). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike leads the conference in scoring (21.8 ppg), is second in rebounding (12.8 rpg) and field-goal percentage (61.9). Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle is second in the conference with 2.18 blocks per game and is seventh with a 53.7 shooting percentage. Amber Orrange is second in the Pac-12 with a 1.74 assist-to-turnover ratio and third with 5.36 assists per game. Taylor Greenfield's 47.2 3-point field-goal percentage leads the Pac-12 while Bonnie Samuelson is fifth at 38.5 percent, and Toni Kokenis' 96.2 free-throw percentage also leads the Pac-12.
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.
1 vs. 2 History*
Saturday's matchup between No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 Connecticut marks the 51st meeting between the top two teams in the Associated Press Poll since the poll's inception for the 1976-77 season. The No. 1 team holds a 31-19 edge and has won the past nine meetings. The last time the No. 2 team came out on top in this matchup was Feb. 25, 2006 when No. 2 North Carolina defeated No. 1 Duke, 77-65 in Chapel Hill.
* - Special thanks to Mel Greenberg and Doug Feinberg for this information.
Stanford In 1 vs. 2 Games
Stanford and Connecticut clash Saturday as the top two teams in the Associated Press Poll, making for Stanford the ninth time it has been part of a 1 vs. 2 matchup. The Cardinal owns a record of 1-7 in its previous eight 1 vs. 2 games, with its only win coming Nov. 17, 1996 when it defeated No. 2 Alabama 74-65 at Maples Pavilion. Saturday's battle with Connecticut will be the second 1 vs. 2 matchup at Maples Pavilion and the fourth time that the Cardinal and Huskies have met as the nation's top two teams. The three previous meetings came over the span of 367 days from April 5, 2009 to April 6, 2010. The Huskies defeated the Cardinal at the 2009 and 2010 Final Fours, as well as in a regular-season contest at the XL Center on Dec. 23, 2009.
Stanford in 1 vs. 2 Games (1-7 All-Time) Dec. 6, 1992 - No. 2 Tennessee d. No. 1 Stanford 74-73 - Honolulu, Hawaii
Dec. 21, 1992 - No. 1 Tennessee d. No. 2 Stanford 84-79 - Knoxville, Tenn.
Dec. 1, 1994 - No. 1 Tennessee d. No. 2 Stanford 105-69 - Knoxville, Tenn.
Nov. 17, 1996 - No. 1 Stanford d. No. 2 Alabama 74-65 - Stanford, Calif.
April 5, 2009 - No. 1 Connecticut d. No. 2 Stanford 83-64 - St. Louis, Mo.
Dec. 23, 2009 - No. 1 Connecticut d. No. 2 Stanford 80-68 - Hartford, Conn.
April 6, 2010 - No. 1 Connecticut d. No. 2 Stanford 53-47 - San Antonio, Texas
April 1, 2012 - No. 1 Baylor d. No. 2 Stanford 59-47 - Denver, Colo.
Stanford Extends Nation's Longest Active Home Winning Streak
Stanford extended its national-best active home winning streak to 82 on Dec. 15 with a 78-43 win over Pacific. Stanford, which began the streak back on Nov. 28, 2007 with a 96-61 victory over San Francisco, returns to Maples Pavilion Dec. 29 against No. 2/2 Connecticut.
Stanford's 82-Game Home Winning Streak On The Line
Stanford's 82-game home winning streak, the nation's longest active run, is on the line in Saturday's Stanford-Connecticut contest. The Cardinal's last home loss occurred March 18, 2007 when Florida State upset Stanford 68-61 in a second-round NCAA Tournament contest. Stanford would defeat San Francisco 96-61 on Nov. 28, 2007 to open the current streak, and over the 82 wins has defeated 36 teams from 15 different conferences as well as a pair of Division I Independents in CSU Bakersfield and Seattle University. Outside of 45 Pac-12/Pac-10 wins during the streak, the next two conferences that Stanford has defeated the most over the current streak are the Big West (7-0) and Big East (5-0).
Saturday's meeting will be the ninth over the past nine seasons between the Cardinal and Huskies, with the Huskies holding a 5-3 edge over the past eight contests and 7-6 in the overall series, which dates back to 1988-89. The teams met for the first time on Dec. 29, 1988, a 72-53 Stanford win, and the Cardinal would win the next two meetings in 1992-93 and 1993-94. The team met twice more in the 90s (both Connecticut wins) before going seven seasons between encounters. Out of the 13 previous meetings between the two schools, five have come in the NCAA Tournament, with Connecticut holding a 2-3 edge in those contests.
Ogwumike Tames SEC Country, Captures Pac-12 Player Of The Week Honor
Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike continued her national player of the year-worthy campaign with a pair of dominant performances at South Carolina and Tennessee last week. The Cypress, Texas native was named Pac-12 Player of the Week Monday for the third time this season after scoring 21 points in each victory and averaging 17.0 rebounds and shooting 48.6 percent over the two games. Wednesday against the No. 21/18 Gamecocks, Ogwumike went for 21 points with 15 rebounds and four blocks in Stanford's 53-49 win, then followed up with 21 points and career highs of 19 rebounds and five assists in Saturday's 73-60 win over the No. 10/11 Lady Volunteers. Saturday's win marked only Stanford's second over Tennessee in Knoxville, and Ogwumike's 19 rebounds set a record for an opponent against the Lady Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena. Heading into Saturday's game against Connecticut, Ogwumike has posted eight straight double-doubles and scored 20-plus points in five straight games.
The Second City Sparkplug Scores Once, Scores Often
Junior guard Toni Kokenis, a native of the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, has continued to step up when called upon and provide steely veteran resolve in the nerviest of moments. Kokenis averaged 13.0 points over last week's wins in SEC Country, shining brightest Wednesday in Columbia, where she scored seven of her 15 points at the line highlighted by a perfect 6-for-6 showing over the final 30 seconds which helped preserve the Cardinal's four-point win in a hostile Colonial Life Arena. Three days later in Knoxville, Kokenis, the Pac-12's leader with a 96.2 free-throw percentage (25-for-26 this year), scored 11 points over a season-high 37 minutes.
Tell Me What To Do And I'll Do It
Last week's 2-0 trip to South Carolina and Tennessee featured yet another blue-collar performance from redshirt junior forward and Ohio native Mikaela Ruef. Ruef, who averaged 7.0 rebounds over the wins and blocked a pair of shots at Tennessee, continued her breakout season after a 2011-12 campaign which limited her to just three games due to foot injuries. This season, Ruef broke into the starting lineup in the third game, against then-No. 1/1 Baylor. In that first collegiate start, Ruef grabbed a then-career-best 12 rebounds to lead all players, and handled the job of being the point defender against reigning national player of the year Brittney Griner and keeping her out of the low paint. Through this season's first 11 games, Ruef is second on the team with 6.8 rebounds, 2.00 assists and 0.91 blocks per game while being a key part of a Cardinal defense that is holding opponents to just 31.4-percent shooting from the field.
Commitment To Defense
Stanford's stellar defensive performance this season continued last week at South Carolina and Tennessee, as the two teams were held to a combined 30.3 percent from the field (40-for-132). That defense extended out beyond the arc, as the Cardinal perimeter defenders helped limit the Gamecocks and Lady Volunteers to a 24.2-percent figure (8-for-33). Stanford's defenders also made a combined 17 blocks last week, highlighted by 11 Wednesday at South Carolina which featured senior forward Joslyn Tinkle blocking a career-best seven shots. On the year, the Cardinal is also holding opponents to just 51.7 points per game, a figure currently on pace to break the record opponent-low 53.9 points per game set in 2009-10. In fact, the four lowest opponent scoring averages have been set over the past four seasons, and the three lowest opponent shooting percentages have been registered over the past three seasons, with this year's figure of 31.4 percent on pace to best 2010-11's 33.6-percent figure.
After being limited by an ankle injury suffered Nov. 30, sophomore Bonnie Samuelson showed Saturday in Knoxville that she's back at full-go, coming off the bench to hit three clutch treys and score 11 points in the Cardinal's 73-60 win over No. 10/11 Tennessee. After shooting 37.3 percent from 3-point range last year, Samuelson is hitting at a 38.5-percent clip this season, giving the Cardinal another long-range threat along with Pac-12 leader Taylor Greenfield (47.2 percent).
"Point"-ing The Way
Sophomore point guard Amber Orrange passed out nine assists last week, bringing her season total to 59, and average of 5.36 per game. The Houston native also averaged 12.5 points over the wins, highlighted by a 14-point, six-assist effort in Saturday's 73-60 win at Tennessee, bringing her season scoring average up to 10.9 points per game. This year Orrange has taken firm handle on the Cardinal offense, directing teammates such as Chiney Ogwumike (21.9 ppg) and Joslyn Tinkle (13.9 ppg) to career bests in the scoring category as well as being pretty accurate herself from the field, shooting 46.8 percent.
Get That Out Of Here!
Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle has solidified her game on both ends of the court in 2012-13, not only raising her scoring average from 8.7 points a game last year to her current 13.9 points per game figure but also becoming a more dangerous defensive presence. The Missoula, Mont. native has already blocked 24 shots this year for an average of 2.18 a game, second-best in the Pac-12. Her 24 blocks were bolstered by a career-high seven last Wednesday at South Carolina, and is already more than half of her 47 blocks from last year. Back on the offensive end Tinkle's career scoring total now stands at 821, putting her well on pace to become the 34th member of Stanford's 1,000-Point Club before the end of the campaign.