All-Decade Team: Stanford Women's Basketball

No offense to the men's basketball or football programs, but of the three biggest varsity sports at Stanford (or just about any of the 35 varsity sports, honestly), women's basketball has far and away enjoyed a high level of success most consistently. Who makes our three All-Decade Teams? Read on!

First Team
G Susan King
G Candice Wiggins
F Nicole Powell
F Kayla Pederson
C Jayne Appel

Wiggins, Powell and Appel were unanimous or near-unanimous – if you're a consensus repeat All-American, you probably belong on the All-Decade team. That leaves a lot of worthy candidates for the final two slots. Candice functioned best as a pure shooting guard, so we naturally would have wanted to get another guard on the team, but Susan King and JJ Hones made that decision inevitable. Now that Nneka Ogwumike (more on her in a bit) is starting to receive her due, JJ Hones is probably the most consistently underrated player on this year's squad, but, due to injury, she has played 1.5-ish years for Stanford, averaging six points, three assists and a 2.6:1 assist-to-turnover ratio on 40 percent shooting. King, meanwhile, averaged eight points, two assists and a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio on 45 percent shooting, including 40 percent deep and 85 percent from the free throw line. King represents a deep threat that Hones doesn't, plus, of course, King played three-plus years in her time at Stanford. In a mighty tough decision, that extra year-plus is enough to tip the scales in Susan King's direction.

Our fifth player came down to Brooke Smith and Kayla Pederson. Smith averaged between 13 and 17 points each of her three seasons (remember she played a year at Duke before transferring), shot 60 percent her junior year (and 50 percent her other two years) and averaged about seven rebounds per game. Pederson, meanwhile, has averaged 11 points her first two seasons and 17 points thus far this season, which is about a wash, has shot about 45 percent, slightly worse than Brooke, but is averaging about nine boards per game, slightly better. So the stats between the two are really close. So then we look at the intangibles: Pederson's bigger, she's only going to get better for Stanford, and her squads have gone further in the NCAA Tournament than Smith's have. Plus, if Jayne Appel weren't scoring 43 points in games and grabbing all the rebounds, how much better could Pederson's stats be? It's a really tough call, but we're going with Pederson on the First Team.

Second Team
G JJ Hones
G Jeanette Pohlen
F Jillian Harmon
F Nneka Ogwumike
C Brooke Smith This squad doesn't have the raw size that Pederson and Appel bring to the First Team, but with three athletic slashers in the post, rebounding shouldn't be a problem. Then again, who needs to crash the offensive boards when Nneka's shooting the rock? She shot an insane 63 percent her freshman year, and is leading the squad this year with 19 points and 10 rebounds per game, on 64 percent shooting, all marks, by the way, better than First Teamers Pederson and Appel. With our criteria favoring players with the greatest total contribution to Stanford basketball, multi-year starters typically beat out phenomenal one-year starters, but Nneka's contribution in her 1.5 years is so great that you can't look the other way.

Jillian Harmon was a pretty unanimous Second Team choice from our Booties and we agree: she averaged at least seven points in each year of her four-year career. That leaves one slot, which Jeannette Pohlen claimed by averaging in double figures over the last year and a half, narrowly beating out Kelley Suminski and Lindsey Yamasaki.

Third Team
G Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
G Kelley Suminski
F Lindsey Yamasaki
F/C Kristen Newlin
F/C T'Nae Thiel

In marked contrast to the Second Team, there's no shortage of true centers on this squad, yet most of the scoring will probably come from the perimeter. Suminski could shoot the lights out with the best of them, and she'll need to on a team that is otherwise more defense (Newlin, Thiel) and pass- (Ros) oriented. Krista Rappahahn and Bethany Doniphan headline the Honorable Mentions, as they just miss the cut in a decision that was far tougher than the two that remain...

MVP: Candice Wiggins

Coach: Tara VanDerveer


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