With the No. 3 Stanford women's basketball team set to begin its quest for its first NCAA title since 1992 today against Rutgers, here's a snapshot of the Cardinal to get you ready for the season.
- Jayne Appel, who averaged 13.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and was a stabilizing force in the middle for the Cardinal.
- Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who started all 37 games during last year's run to the NCAA title game and was one of the Cardinal's top defenders.
- JJ Hones, who provided a spark off the bench, but was dismissed from the team after being charged with operating a golf cart while under the influence.
- Nneka Ogwumike, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, who averaged 18.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
- Jeanette Pohlen, the Cardinal's top 3-point shooter, who averaged 9.3 points per game and will lead Stanford's backcourt.
- Kayla Pedersen, who, along with fellow tri-captains Ogwumike and Pohlen, was named to the Naismith Award Preseason Watch List. Pedersen averaged 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season.
New Names to Know
- Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka's younger sister, is the top recruit in the country and a "veteran in a freshman's body," according to head coach Tara VanDerveer. See for yourself.
- Sara James, whose dedication to her craft reminds Jake Curtis of a former Stanford great, will be counted on to help replace Gold-Onwude's defensive presence.
- Toni Kokenis, another freshman guard, who will provide additional depth in the backcourt with senior Melanie Murphy sidelined until January.
Circle the Dates
Stanford's non-conference schedule is loaded with traditional powers and 2010 NCAA tournament teams, including Xavier, which visits Maples Pavilion on Dec. 28. The Musketeers may still be smarting from Pohlen's buzzer-beating layup in the Elite Eight. Here are three other games to watch:
Dec. 19, 2010 at Tennessee: Anytime the Cardinal and Lady Vols get together it's a big deal. Stanford won last year's meeting at home, 67-52.
Dec. 30, 2010 vs. Connecticut: The Huskies could arrive at Maples Pavilion riding a 90-game winning streak. Stanford will be hungry for revenge.
Jan. 20, 2011 vs. UCLA: Stanford was the unanimous pick to win its 11th consecutive Pac-10 title. The Bruins, who gave the Cardinal a scare in Stanford's 65-61 win at Pauley Pavilion last season, were picked to finish second.
- A "giddy" Tara VanDerveer will prepare her stacked squad as best she can and see what happens, according to Mechelle Voepel, who offers this interesting omen in her profile of the Cardinal: Chiney Ogwumike was born on March 21, 1992, the day Stanford started its NCAA championship run that year.
- After three straight trips to the Final Four, Kayla Pedersen and the Cardinal are ready to finish the job.
- This year's group of players might be the most versatile team VanDerveer has ever had.
- Follow C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog and the Stanford Fastbreak Club throughout the season.
- Catch every Stanford women's game on student-radio station KZSU.