10:00 PM ET, December 1, 2005
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -- Coach Tara VanDerveer hardly considers Sunday's date with Tennessee (No. 1 ESPN/USA Today, No. 2 AP) as a game that will define Stanford's season.Every member of the Cardinal had a chance to prepare in the team's final tuneup for the Lady Vols.Candice Wiggins borrowed shoes from the opponent and still managed to have a big game, getting 16 points and eight rebounds to lead Stanford (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) past Pacific 109-58 on Thursday night."I hope this is a confidence builder," VanDerveer said. "It was a chance for our young players to get game experience. ... One game isn't going to make or break your season. We know what we have to do. We know they're a great team."Brooke Smith added 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks for the Cardinal, who scored their most points since a 111-59 victory over Howard in the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.Wiggins, who taped her shoes in an attempt to keep from showing off the Tigers' team colors and reveal that she'd forgotten her own footwear, also had five steals and four assists as Stanford earned its eighth straight victory over Pacific dating to Nov. 29, 1983."We saw it as preparation for Tennessee," Smith said. "Everybody got a lot of game experience."Kelsey Lavender led Pacific with 17 points and six rebounds, but the cold-shooting Tigers (1-5) lost their fifth straight game since a season-opening victory over Texas Southern and watched Stanford reach 100 points for the first time since a 100-75 victory over UCLA on Jan. 20 this year.Senior guard Krista Rappahahn made her first career start and finished with 15 points for the Cardinal (4-1), who are picked to win the Pac-10 for the fifth straight year after going 32-3 last season and advancing to the final eight of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.Wiggins is the reigning conference player of the year and freshman of the year and is still adjusting to her new supporting cast after Stanford lost five seniors from last year's tournament team.The Cardinal built a 20-point lead on a layin by Cissy Pierce with 11:22 left in the first half, then Wiggins swished a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to make it 31-8. Stanford led 59-34 at the break behind 51.3 percent shooting and opened the second half with a 23-6 spurt.Pacific went 8-for-35 in the final 20 minutes and shot 30.9 percent for the game.Last season, Stanford beat Pacific 82-26, allowing its third-lowest scoring total ever while forcing 27 turnovers and getting 18 steals. But this is a completely different Cardinal squad, and VanDerveer is still experimenting with her rotation to figure out who works best together. She subbed often to evaluate different combinations."We got it back to 20, and that's good compared to last year when we just gave up," Lavender said. "Everything is a step up. We can't give up easy shots."Kristen Newlin grabbed 12 rebounds for the Cardinal, who are preparing for their clash at Maples Pavilion with the Lady Vols, who posted a 102-61 win over Texas (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) on Thursday night. Stanford will need a near-perfect game to protect its 23-game home winning streak dating to Dec. 27, 2003. Tennessee has won the last nine meetings."We know it's going to be all about the little things -- boxing out and taking care of the ball," Wiggins said. "But I think we're really prepared for them. We're going to have to play a good game."The Tigers started the game 1-for-8 and struggled against Stanford's full-court pressure and a defense that switches between man-to-man and zone.Stanford leads the overall series 16-3.
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