10:00 PM ET, January 2, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Tara VanDerveer hopes this isn't Stanford's last visit to Fresno. Only next time, the stakes could be a lot higher.Jayne Appel scored 15 points, Brooke Smith added 13 and No. 12 Stanford routed Fresno State 80-52 Tuesday night for its eighth consecutive victory on the same court that will host the NCAA West Regional in March.Jillian Harmon had 13 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season for the Cardinal, who scored the game's first 16 points. Kristen Newlin added nine points for Stanford (10-3), which outrebounded Fresno State 50-32.VanDerveer discussed the possibility of returning to the Save Mart Center with her team during warm-ups. Stanford has reached the regional final three straight years."This is a place we want to come back to, so let's experience some success on this court and hope we come back," VanDerveer said. "We'd love to come back here."Jenny Thigpen had 15 points for Fresno State (7-6), which was hoping for its third home victory of the season over a ranked opponent. The Bulldogs previously defeated No. 18 Brigham Young and No. 23 Texas Tech.Stanford bolted to a 16-0 lead to start the game as Fresno State missed its first nine shots.The 6-foot-4 freshman Appel was especially effective against the smaller Bulldogs, scoring 10 points in the first half.While Newlin and Smith dominated inside, getting several easy putbacks, Fresno State struggled to find any offense."We knew they play really well here, so we wanted to jump on them right away," VanDerveer said. "They have a great crowd -- very enthusiastic -- and if it was close, anything could happen."The Bulldogs did not score until Chantella Perera drove the lane for a layup with 14:20 left.Stanford didn't need major contributions from stars Candice Wiggins and Smith. Wiggins finished with seven points, four assists and three steals in 24 minutes. Smith got her first basket on a hook shot with 5:53 left, putting the Cardinal ahead 35-13.The Cardinal, coming off a 77-71 victory over No. 13 Arizona State on Saturday, shot 49.2 percent from the field compared to 27.6 percent for the Bulldogs."We wanted to take what we did in the second half against Arizona State and apply it to the first half against Fresno," Harmon said. "We ran the floor real well. I think that was the key."Stanford enjoyed an 18-2 edge in fast-break points fueled by 20 assists.Tierre Wilson had 10 points and five assists for the Bulldogs, who have lost their last four meetings to Stanford."They made it really tough for us to do anything we wanted to do," Fresno State coach Adrian Wiggins said. "We tried to come out and do some things, and they didn't quite work."The Cardinal led 45-20 at halftime and was ahead by as many as 36 points in the second half before Fresno State made a late surge against Stanford's reserves.
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