October 31, 2007

No sophomore jinx for Jayne

CSTV analyst Lara Boyko says, "Of all the jinxes and curses in college sports, there's one that women's basketball players who are the reigning Freshman of the Year from each conference need to be wary of -- the Sophomore Jinx."

Here's her take on the expectations and history that Jayne carries with her into the 2007-08 season:
Out on the Farm in Northern California, Jayne Appel made her presence in the Pac-10 known immediately during the 2006-07 season. She finished third on the club in scoring (13.2 ppg), and rebounding (7.5 repg), led the team with 61 blocks - which established a single-season school record.

"I was excited and honor that I could get that recognition during my freshman year, but to be honest I have to give all the credit to my teammates," said Appel. "I definitely wanted to be a big player in the conference, but it wasn't like I set out to win Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. I hope that there is not a Sports Illustrated-like curse associated with it. If that's the case, it should go to the overall Freshman of the Year, Tina Charles, who is a good friend of mine."

Stanford may lead the way in the Pac-10 with four of the last 10 Freshmen of the Year suiting up in cardinal and white, but with four of the last 10 Freshmen of the Year from the previous season going on to become the Player of the Year and six of the last 10 Freshman of the Year from the previous season being named to the All- Pac-10 team during their sophomore year, big things are expected for this presence in the paint.

"She had an outstanding freshman year, is very talented, a big, strong player who played with two other great post players," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "Now she is in there by herself and she needs to stay on the court. From eliminating silly fouls she will pick up, finishing better, shooting a higher percentage from the field and the free-throw line, scoring more, rebounding more and I think her defense will be key for us."

Fortunately if the pressure of living up to a tremendous freshman year starts to wear on her, Appel has the resource of the 2004-05 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year on the court to help her out.

"I haven't had a chance to sit down with her, but you don't need to tell her that kind of stuff as she stays motivated and hungry," said Candice Wiggins, who is a former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year. "She was disappointed by last year's loss, but she knows people are going to know who she is and won't be able to surprise people. I may have to reiterate that with her this year, but that's probably the biggest difference."

October 30, 2007

No surprises in polls of Pac-10 media members

The Pac-10 conducted two preseason polls of media members who cover the Pac-10. The results are no surprise:
  • The top three teams will be Stanford (179 votes, 17 first place), Arizona State (154, 1 first place), California (150, 0 first place).
  • The All Pac-10 team will be Jayne Appel, Devanei Hampton, Briann January, Ashley Walker and Candice Wiggins.

October 26, 2007

Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Guide

The Pac-10 has published the 2007-08 Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Guide, accompanied by their outlook for the teams this season. Their outlook for Stanford is:
The seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford Cardinal are back for another shot at a Conference title and beyond.

SR G Candice Wiggins, who can single-handedly turn a game around, leads the way as a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and certainly the league's most decorated returning player.

Wiggins fought through a couple of injuries last season to still score 16.9 ppg, ranking sixth in the Pac-10.

Last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year SO F/C Jayne Appel should play a larger role on this year's team, as she takes over in the paint.

SO G JJ Hones, who went down with an ACL tear mid-season, returns to what could be a point guard by committee, joining capable sophomore guards Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Melanie Murphy.

JR F Jillian Harmon is a steady threat on the wing, with a career average of 8.1 ppg.

There is no rest for the weary as Stanford takes on tough non-conference opponents in 2007-08, starting first with contests against Connecticut and Old Dominion at the Paradise Jam in November.

The team will also take on NCAA Tournament participants Baylor and New Mexico, as well as defending national champion Tennessee.

October 24, 2007

Candice is one of the best point guards

Jeff Lippman, CSTV writer, says, "As the point guard of a team goes, so goes that team, so let's find out which teams will have great seasons by naming the game's best point guards."

He thinks Candice is one of the best, and has this to say about her:
While Wiggins was only second on the Cardinal in assists last season and she might not be your everyday prototypical point guard, there is no question that she is Stanford's floor general and leader. The senior has been an All-American since she arrived in Palo Alto three years ago and this season should be her best to date. An injury-filled 2006-07 caused her numbers to drop slightly on her career average but as she's now completely healthy, the Cardinal are prepared to ride her example all the way to another Pac-10 title and maybe this year a Final Four.
Here's his complete article.

October 23, 2007

Coaches pick Stanford to win Pac-10

Rebecca Harlow reports in The Stanford Daily:
Stanford women’s hoops picked to win Pac-10

With senior point guard Candice Wiggins back for one more year, the Stanford women’s basketball team has been picked by a poll of coaches to win the Pacific-10 Conference, announced yesterday. The Cardinal received eight of nine potential first-place votes — coaches cannot vote for their own teams — and Arizona State and California each garnered one.

Picking Stanford to win is no stretch — the Cardinal has won every conference title since 2001. Last year, the team went 17-1 in conference and finished the season 29-5 overall. A fifth seed in the NCAA Tournament, the team was upset by Florida State in the second round.

Three-time All-American and two-time conference Player of the Year Wiggins will lead this year’s team alongside last year’s Pac-10 Freshman of the Year center Jayne Appel. Both played this summer for the U.S. at the Pan-American Games and Wiggins also led the U.S. Under-21 team to a world championship.

The Sun Devils and Golden Bears are second and third in the poll, respectively. Southern California and UCLA round out the top five.

The Cardinal’s 2007-2008 season will kick off with an exhibition game at home against Chico State on Nov. 3, and Pac-10 play will begin Dec. 28 with Washington State visiting Maples.
Here is the Pac-10 Release.

October 20, 2007

More preseason predictions


Sports Page Magazine puts Stanford at #7 in their Women's College Basketball Top 25 Preview, with Candice, Jayne and Jillian being key ingredients.





Christopher Thompson, writing for Full Court Press, predicts that Stanford should Rule the Pac-10, and has interesting analyses of each of the Pac-10 teams.

October 19, 2007

Stanford, Cal will battle for Pac-10 supremacy this season

Grant Tunkel, of CSTV, reporting on the Stanford/Cal rivalry that dates back to the 19th century, says:

"This year's edition of the rivalry may be the fiercest yet. It will be Wiggins' final opportunity to experience it, as she is set to graduate at the end of the season. And Cal's juniors will be together for the first time in two years, giving the team an added degree of cohesiveness."

... and much more ...

October 18, 2007

Superwoman Ready To Fly Once More

Tara says,
"It is a team game, but she is so dominant - physically and how tough she is mentally - that on any team a great player can set the tone for everyone else. Her personal health and ability to lead our team will determine how far we will go."

Candice says,
"It's not like I am the only hope as we have a great team. When I watch our team play pick-up or run on the track, I realize how good we are and I like it. I am prepared to lead and do whatever it takes. Maybe the things I didn't do last year I will do this year, but I am not hesitant at all. I'm ready and confident in my last year."

CSTV analyst Lara Boyko says,
"Depending if she is at home or on the road, she dons a satin cape/uniform colored either white or cardinal. With the help of a swoosh on her shoes, she flies around a basketball court and makes impossible shots look like child's play."

"Who is this huntress of the wood court out in the West who can foil opponents with the same ease as finding her teammates on the floor?"

"Believe it or not, it's not Superwoman."

"Instead it's the next best thing in the world of women's college basketball on the West Coast - Stanford's Candice Wiggins."

... and more ...

October 16, 2007

Preseason Predictions

By Jeff Lippman, CSTV:
  • Stanford is #6
  • Cal is #7
  • Arizona State is #12
  • Candice is First Team All-American
  • Jayne is Honorable Mention All-American, one of just four sophomores

By Richard Kent, Black Athlete Sports Network:
  • Stanford is #6, with credit to Candice, Jayne and Jillian.
  • No other PAC-10 team is in top 10.

October 13, 2007

Enforcement of bench rules could result in technicals this season

Aren't you glad that Tara is the epitome of bench decorum? That no one has ever had the occasion to shout, "SIT DOWN TARA!"?

The Associated Press reports:
Cursing or venturing onto the court could draw college basketball coaches a quick technical foul this season.

The NCAA is making bench decorum a point of emphasis for 2007-08 and warns coaches to expect a whistle without warning for a variety of unsportsmanlike actions.

Officials who consistently enforce the rules will be given preferential consideration for conference and NCAA tournament assignments.

"The bench decorum rules, which include staying in the prescribed coaching box, have been interpreted in various ways for some time," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, said Thursday. "This initiative for strengthened, consistent enforcement has significant ramifications. Coaches and game officials who do not strictly adhere to the rules will be penalized."

The actions that can draw a technical include disrespectfully addressing an official or attempting to influence an official's decision, using abusive or profane language, taunting an opponent, inciting undesirable crowd reactions and coming onto the court without permission of an official to attend to an injured player.

The rules will also apply to assistant coaches, other team personnel and players on the bench.

Officials who consistently enforce the rules will be given preferential consideration for conference and NCAA tournament assignments.

"This is something that coaches always ask for, and that's to have game officials enforce the rules that are already in place," Boeheim said.

The policy has been endorsed by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

"As coaches, we are fully accountable for our actions," said Oklahoma women's coach Sherri Coale, the president of the WBCA. "With strengthened enforcement, coaches will be more conscious of their demeanor knowing that a penalty will result from inappropriate behavior.

Stanford is one of the great eight

CSTV.com writer Jeff Lippman thinks that only eight teams have what it takes to advance through the NCAA Tournament and cut the nets down in Tampa in April. Stanford is one of them because:
Coach Tara VanDerveer knows the time is now for her Cardinal. Candice Wiggins is a senior, and she's finally completely healthy after dominating international competition all summer long with U.S. national teams. Stanford's happy-go-lucky point guard is ready to own the Pac-10 like few players ever have.

While Stanford lost center Brooke Smith, they trade finesse for power with 6-foot-4 Jayne Appel, who, entering her sophomore year, will become a force to be reckoned with on the inside. And if Appel can't handle the entire load, the Cardinal bring in freshman 6-foot-4 forward Kayla Pedersen, who has great quickness for a player with her height.

Like most of the teams on this list, Stanford combines senior leadership and young talent, but what sets the Cardinal apart is Wiggins. Although maybe not the most talented player from the teams on this list, Wiggins is certainly hands down the best leader.
Here are the other seven.

October 12, 2007

Jayne will be the inside force

In her preseason report of the Bay Area women's basketball teams, San Francisco Chronical Staff Writer Michelle Smith has this to say of the Cardinal:
Jayne Appel will be the inside force on a Stanford team that might operate on the outside a bit more.

Stanford, also opening practice Saturday, is again planted firmly among the nation's top 25 teams in preseason rankings, and the Cardinal are looking to atone for last year's unexpected second-round NCAA exit on their home floor.

Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said her team, led by three-time All-American Candice Wiggins, will be much different than last year's post-oriented team.

"This is going to be more of a perimeter team, which is what happens when you lose players like Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin," VanDerveer said. "But I'm excited about how well our returners are doing."

Wiggins, a senior, fought through injuries much of last season, but led the Cardinal in scoring at 16.9 points a game and spent the summer playing for USA Basketball, where she won gold medals for the Under-21 World Championship team and the Pan-Am Games team. She was selected as an alternate to the U.S. senior national team.

Wiggins is joined by center Jayne Appel, last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year who averaged 13.2 points a game in under 20 minutes a game. Also back is forward Jillian Harmon. Point guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude returns after missing last season with a knee injury. The Cardinal add stellar freshmen in forwards Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen, both selected to the McDonald's All-America team.

Guard JJ Hones, who sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in February is still a month away from joining practice, VanDerveer said. Freshman Ashley Cimino is rehabilitating a back injury and will not be able to start practice Saturday.

October 05, 2007

Candice is one of the best seniors

CSTV analyst Jeff Lippman thinks Candice is one of the best seniors:
The nation better watch out for Candice Wiggins, because Wiggins is coming for the nation. The Stanford point guard could have won the Pac-10 Player of the Year award when she was in second grade. The charismatic and fun-loving Wiggins took home the conference honor in her freshman and sophomore seasons, averaging 17.5 and 21.8 ppg, respectively. But Wiggins became a walking injury during her junior year and although she played a full season, could only muster 16.9 points a contest.

Well, she's healthy now and she's been crushing international competition all summer long. And though she is hungry to put her name back on the Pac-10 Player of the Year trophy, she has her sights set on two loftier goals: A Wade Trophy and the chance to cut down the nets in Tampa. Last year injuries forced her to fly under the radar, and in 2007-08, she will soar above the rest. And the best part about Wiggins is she'll do it with a radiant smile across her face.
We think she's the very best one!

Here is the complete article from cstv.com.

October 02, 2007

Tara is one of the smartest sports persons in the Bay Area

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler thinks that Tara is the 6th smartest sports person in the Bay Area. She:
... used charm, toughness and original thinking to build and maintain a dynasty, and her rivals used those tools to start catching up with her. She's the only one on this list who plays piano ...
Here is Scott's complete column.