December 14, 2017

Up next: At home with UNLV and Western Illinois

Updated Dec 15: The Cardinal and UNLV have played each other before, but not since 1993.

The Cardinal return to Maples after finals week for a welcome run of five home games, beginning with a pair against teams they've never played before — the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 and Western Illinois on Monday evening at 7:00.

It's almost Christmas, and Stanford Athletics is collecting toys for tots at both games. Bring a new unwrapped toy, for kids 8th grade and below, to help brighten a child's Christmas — you can get a free general admission ticket for each donation.

There will be a chalk talk before each game. There will also be a Behind-the-Bench session after the game on Saturday and several of the players will be signing autographs.

Neither game will be televised. The media coverage for both is:

  UNLV Lady Rebels

UNLV plays in the Mountain West Conference, where they stand fifth in the league with a 5-3 record. In the NCAA rankings, their RPI is 151 and their schedule strength rank is 173.

The Lady Rebels just played their best game of the season — a 52-50 victory over Gonzaga in Spokane.

The Lady Rebels have a balanced offense with four players who score in double digits: Junior forward/center Katie Powell (14.9 ppg), senior guard Brooke Johnson (14.1 ppg), redshirt junior guard Nikki Wheatley (13.1 ppg) and junior forward Jordyn Bell (10.3 ppg).

Johnson is the only one who shoots much from beyond the arc — she averages just under two 3-pointers per game. Powell and Johnson are the leading rebounders — they each grab not quite ten per game.

UNLV is still coached by Kathy Olivier, now in her tenth year as head coach at her alma mater.

This is UNLV's roster and season statistics.

  Western Illinois Leathernecks

The University of Western Illinois is located in Macomb, Illinois, which is about 200 miles southwest of Chicago. It is a member of the Summit League along with seven other mid-western schools.

Its women's basketball team stands at the top of the league with a 9-2 record. They're ranked No. 19 in the Mid-Majors Top 25 by College Insider. In the NCAA rankings, their RPI is 137 and their schedule strength rank is 261.

The Leathernecks are led by junior guard Taylor Higgenbotham (17.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.4 apg) and senior point guard Emily Clemens (15.8 ppg, 8.5 apg, 3.9 spg).

The Leathernecks' strongest assets are their ball-distribution and handling. They average 20.5 assists per game and rank tenth in the nation in that category. Their assist-turnover ratio is 1.50, which ranks ninth. Emily Clemens' 8.5 per game ranks third nationally.

The Leathernecks rank fifth in the nation in steals, with an average of 14.5 per game. Clemens is the head thief with 3.9 steals per game, sixth-best in the nation.

The Leathernecks are prolific 3-point shooters. Taylor Higginbotham takes 42% of her shots from beyond the arc. Three other players each take more than 60%. As a team, the Leathernecks make 10.8 3-pointers per game, which ranks fifth in the nation.

This is Western Illinois' roster and season statistics.

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