Grunfeld, Card down UCLA in TWISH

When prominent Stanford athletes suffer knee injuries, storybook recoveries often follow. Remember David Wyman and Tim Smith enjoying standout fifth-year seasons on the gridiron. Picture Katy Steding gallantly leading her Cardinal women's basketball team to a national title. Dan Grunfeld wasn't nearly so lucky, however.

This Week In Stanford History pays tribute the breakout junior season the second-generation hoops maestro enjoyed six years ago, when he saw his campaign cut short by a knee injury. Grunfeld averaged a tick under 18 points per game, up from just 3.4 points per outing in 2003-04, during the 2004-05 season. Then, however, his knee crumpled while driving to hoop against Cal. Unlike the aforementioned Smith and Wyman injuries, Grunfeld's fall occurred too late in the season for a medical redshirt. He was never the same player after his ACL tear.

Since Todd Lichti ended his stellar career in 1989, the only other Stanford guard to enjoy a more prolific scoring season was Casey Jacobsen in 2001-02. Until the injury occurred, Grunfeld had led the Cardinal in scoring in 13 of the club's 22 games. His finest efforts included pouring in 29 points against Arizona, helping Stanford win after opening the season with three straight conference losses. He also tallied a game-high 25 points at UCLA, an appropriate contest to feature here at This Week in Stanford History. The outcome marked the Card's eighth straigh - but, alas, most recent – victory at Pauley Pavilion.

Jan. 20, 2005: Stanford 85, UCLA 74

The Bruins made progress in Ben Howland's second year. UCLA broke a two-year NCAA tournament drought behind the freshman nucleus of Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, and Josh Shipp, but only in spite of their efforts against the Cardinal.

Stanford shot 56 percent in the second half, scoring the biggest upset during their run of wins in Westwood that had begun in 1998.

"I don't know what it is, but I want to keep it going," Rob Little said of the streak after scoring 12 points.

The hosts were 6 ½-point favorites. The Bruins (10-5) were a year away from beginning their own run of three consecutive Final Four berths. Their opponents entered the action with just an 8-7 record, a mark that featured a loss at Santa Clara and a nationally-televised whitewashing at Michigan State. The Pac-10 sensed the Cardinal, with Mike Montgomery collecting NBA paychecks, was finally primed for a letdown.

But with Rob Little and Matt Haryasz playing solid defense in the paint and Grunfeld doing his thing from the perimeter, Stanford went ahead in the game's opening minutes and never trailed thereafter. The victory proved to be pivotal in extending another streak, as Trent Johnson's first season as head coach marked the last of the program's 11 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Dijon Thompson of UCLA had averaged 18.4 points a game coming in, second in the Pac-10. He would finish the night, however, with as many turnovers (six) as points. The Cardinal forced 20 turnovers, holding firm after racing to a 22-12 lead.

Grunfeld instead provided the top highlights offensively. He mixed long-range bombs with timely efforts to the tin. The junior enjoyed a dominating second half, scoring 16 points while going 6-of-9 from the floor. In the ensuing win at USC two days later, he tallied at least 20 points for the fifth consecutive game. Small wonder he joined Chris Hernandez in earning First Team All-Conference honors at season's end.

Jan. 16, 1999: Stanford 72, UCLA 59

Pauley Pavilion was about one-quarter empty in this one, the partisans lulled to sleep in a game Stanford led almost throughout. This victory for the No. 4 Cardinal was a raucous affair, where a packed house in Westwood saw the home side whistled for 35 fouls.

"That was brutal," Mike Montgomery said at the time. "I'd never seen anything like that."

Added David Moseley: "That's probably the roughest game I've ever played in my life."

The No. 10 Bruins, led by Baron Davis, contested at every possible chance, diving for loose balls and making sure the Cardinal had to earn its fifth victory to begin the Pac-10 season. The pressure worked, somewhat, as Stanford committed a season-high 25 turnovers.

Credit a Montgomery stratagem for turning this one around, though. UCLA led 46-45 with 11:35 remaining. Dan Gudzuric was busy owning the paint, sending Tim Young to the bench with four fouls. That's when the visitors switched to a zone defense.

The results: The Bruins were limited to just six points and two field goals (in 14 attempts) over the ensuing nine minutes. Stanford, by that time, held a 64-53 edge, as much of the home crowd of 12,922 headed to the exits. That left the Cardinal supporters – Chelsea Clinton among them – celebrating and the Bruin players stewing.

"We seemed to give up," Davis was quoted as saying.

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with (sign-up)!

The Bootleg Top Stories