Women Feast in Fresno

Many of us crafted resolutions for the New Year. By the looks of the carnage left by the Cardinal at Fresno State, Stanford Women's Basketball is embarking on a diet of field goals and rebounds. In a 28-point win at the Save Mart Center, where Fresno State had beaten two Top 25 teams this season, Stanford gobbled the glass and scored from every position.

Preacher Halford E. Luccock once said, "No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it."  Against Fresno State, Stanford's junior star Candice Wiggins saw her teammates explode around her, while she contributed her leadership, four assists, and just seven points.  The orchestra carried the Cardinal broadly and beautifully Tuesday night.

Winning the tip, followed by a three-point bomb by freshman JJ Hones, Stanford opened with a 16-0 scoring run to start the game.  Fresno State, whose fans have a tradition of standing until the first score for the home team, would not score (or sit) until five minutes and 40 seconds into the first half.  By then the message was sent:  You may have beaten ranked teams in your house before, but not tonight.  Stanford dominated the opening minutes so overwhelmingly that, at one point during the run, the TV commentator ran out of credible things to say about Fresno State, and left us with, "There is a lid over the bucket on (Fresno State's) end of the court."  Sophomore Jillian Harmon pulled down an amazing five rebounds during that run.

Fresno State eventually removed the lid over their basket, but the Bulldogs could not get any rebounds, as the next set of possessions resulted in traded baskets, scoring seven points to Stanford's five.  Stanford pulled away further still with a 10-2 run.  Both teams continued to trade baskets, with Stanford maintaining a 20- to 22- point lead, until 2:39 to play in the first half, when Stanford was able to make a few stops, allowing only three points and scoring six to close out the half.  Halftime score: Stanford 45, Fresno State 20.

Fresno State opened the second half with an 8-4 run, closing the gap to 21 points with 17:18 left to play, but the home team would not get closer the rest of the game.  A three-pointer by Wiggins would ignite an 11-2 Stanford run, widening Stanford's advantage to a whopping 30 points.  Fresno State traded four baskets with the Cardinal, until Stanford's final 9-3 run of the night, which would give the Cardinal its largest lead of 36 points, with 8:04 left in the game.

At this point, Tara VanDerveer decided to unload the bench and bring in all the dry jerseys.  Fresno State would creep back into the game, relatively speaking over the remaining eight minutes but only close to within 25 with 0:57 seconds left.  Fifth-year senior Clare Bodensteiner nailed her own three-point bomb to make the final score Stanford 80, Fresno State 52.

On a night when Candice Wiggins had four assists but only seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, the Cardinal still exploded for 80 points and destroyed their opponent by allowing Fresno State only 52.  Freshman Jayne Appel amassed 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks - her fourth straight game notching double figures in scoring.  Fifth-year senior Brooke Smith got 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.  Freshman Michelle Harrison had five points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.  Senior Kristen Newlin had nine points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes.  However, the night belonged to Harmon, who recorded her first double-double of the season and third of her Cardinal career, with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.

If the lid was over Fresno State's basket in the first half, a hula-hoop was up on the Cardinal end.  Stanford shot 52.6% on 20-of-38 field goals in the first half, an amazing display of shooting considering Wiggins was 1-of-5 in that half.  The statistic of the night however, is the 50-32 Stanford rebounding advantage.  A doctor should check the stomachs of Harmon, Appel, Newlin, Harrison, and Smith for all of the glass they ate.  Fresno State simply could not match the size, athleticism, and intensity of the Cardinal.  Stanford's defense has become one of the nation's toughest, and point production from all over the court, even deep down the bench, has corrected an early season deficiency.  The Cardinal are now acting like a well-tuned orchestra, even when their best instrument, Candice Wiggins, plays a little out of tune.

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