10:00 PM ET, February 3, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Tara VanDerveer has coached her share of talented Stanford teams, but far fewer squads she considers truly special.Her backcourt combination of star freshman Candice Wiggins, fifth-year senior Susan King Borchardt and senior Kelley Suminski is perhaps the biggest reason VanDerveer feels that way now.Wiggins had 20 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals and a blocked shot, and the No. 4 Cardinal routed rival Arizona 91-74 on Thursday night for their 11th straight win."I just think that we have the ingredients," VanDerveer said. "There are teams that are talented, there are teams that win, and then there are special teams. When you don't have it, you don't talk about it. When you have it, you know it. We have some special chemistry. I can feel it."Borchardt scored a season-high 17 points, and Brooke Smith added 13 points and six rebounds in a rematch of last season's Pac-10 tournament championship game won by the Cardinal 51-46.The energetic duo of Wiggins and Borchardt clicked from the moment they first played together last fall. The Cardinal are thrilled Borchardt came back for another season -- she is married to Utah Jazz center Curtis Borchardt and considered staying with him in Salt Lake City."I have never played with anyone with that much energy and who has so much knowledge of the game," Wiggins said. "I've learned a lot from her. It's awesome to have a role model like Susan."Stanford (20-2, 11-1 Pac-10) dominated from start to finish to extend its home winning streak to 18 games and win its 34th straight conference game in Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal haven't lost a Pac-10 home game since a 62-59 defeat against Southern California on March 1, 2001.Stanford is so good it won handily despite allowing Arizona to shoot 64 percent in the second half and score 50 points after the break.Yet VanDerveer still thought things were "a little bit out of sync" because her team missed shots it usually make and was outrebounded -- the first time in 13 games the Wildcats lost when having a rebounding advantage."Maybe it's just what I'm used to seeing, and I'm used to seeing better," VanDerveer said. "It didn't matter what they were going to do; we were not going to be denied."Arizona stars Shawntinice Polk and Dee-Dee Wheeler didn't start, a disciplinary measure by coach Joan Bonvicini for violating undisclosed team rules. Polk's violation occurred last weekend, while Wheeler did something earlier Thursday and was held out the entire first half."I'm the coach. It's a lot more than just basketball. I'm trying to teach life lessons, and sometimes those lessons are difficult," Bonvicini said. "We've got to get healthy and put all this other stuff behind us."Polk checked in at the 17:14 mark of the first half and finished with a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Wheeler scored 11 points, but the Wildcats (15-7, 7-4) couldn't overcome their slow start without her. They have lost two in a row after having their four-game winning streak snapped Saturday in an overtime loss to Maryland.Arizona and Stanford shared the Pac-10 regular-season title last season, but Stanford came into this meeting having won its last 10 games by an average of 21 points.The Cardinal led by as many as 27 and beat the Wildcats for the ninth time in 11 meetings. Stanford ended Arizona's 34-game home winning streak -- which at the time was the longest in the nation -- with a 78-66 victory in Tucson last month despite Wheeler's 25 points.Stanford jumped out to an 11-2 lead, with Borchardt scoring the first five points and Smith the next six. The Cardinal shot 53.6 percent in the first half on the way to a 46-24 lead at the break. They were outrebounded 24-13 but forced 18 turnovers.Arizona committed 10 turnovers in the first 6 minutes and managed only four shots during that stretch because of its sloppy play.Stanford's short-handed roster took another hit before the game. Freshman guard Cissy Pierce, a valuable player off the bench, dislocated two fingers on her right hand during an afternoon shootaround. She is expected to miss two weeks.The Cardinal were down to nine scholarship players. They already were without Eziamaka Okafor and Jessica Elway. Okafor sustained a season-ending Achilles' tear at Washington on Thursday. Elway, the daughter of former NFL star John Elway, broke her right hand in practice Friday and had surgery Monday.Shannon Hobson returned to Arizona's lineup after missing nearly a month with a sprained knee.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press