5:00 PM ET, December 16, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Candice Wiggins was simply brilliant on both ends. So good, in fact, that coach Tara VanDerveer can't envision her star player ever leaving Stanford."Candice is not a senior," VanDerveer said in a serious tone.Wiggins scored 21 of her 35 points in the first half, had four steals and four rebounds, three assists and two blocks, and Stanford (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) dealt 10th-ranked Baylor its first defeat of the season with a physical 87-63 victory Sunday.Wiggins shot 11-for-22, was two points off her career high, made 9 of 12 free throws and reached 2,000 points for her career when she sunk a 10-foot jumper with 5:54 remaining. Stanford won its fifth straight since its only loss, 81-77 to second-ranked Connecticut in two overtimes Nov. 15."What can you say about Candice?" VanDerveer said. "She scores, she defends, she does it all for us. She's just a tremendous leader. I love every day of coaching her. I just hope our team realizes how really special she is and you've got to step up and give a little bit more to her."Freshman Kayla Pedersen added a season-best 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and fellow freshman Jeanette Pohlen had 10 assists for the Cardinal (8-1), who moved VanDerveer within three victories of becoming the seventh Division I coach to reach the 700-win mark. The 22nd-year Cardinal coach will have four chances to do it before the year ends.Stanford looked sharp in its return from a two-week break for finals, shooting 49 percent despite a slow start and outrebounding the Bears 44-35."I think my defense has come a long way," said Wiggins, who spent part of the summer with the national team. "It's something I've been working hard at. The coaches say you have to work every possession. I'm really conscious this year of that. It's a mind-set, an attitude."Jhasmin Player scored 18 points and Jessica Morrow 16 for Baylor (7-1) in only the second meeting between the prominent programs, and the first since a 63-59 Stanford win on Dec. 2, 1983.One play late in the first half summed up Wiggins' day: She made a tough catch on a high baseball pass from Pohlen on the left wing, split two defenders and made the tough layin and was fouled, then converted the three-point play.She even banked in a tough 3 from well behind the line and under pressure just as the halftime buzzer sounded, but the shot was ruled too late -- and Wiggins covered her mouth in disbelief as the teams headed off the court for halftime."Especially being a senior, also adding to the sense of urgency is more a sense of ownership of the team and taking a responsibility," Wiggins said.Wiggins scored eight straight points during one second-half stretch, then dished to Pedersen the next time down for another basket.At the 11:16 mark, Baylor's Angela Tisdale slammed Wiggins into the padded base of the basket but avoided a flagrant foul call. Wiggins sunk both free throws and Stanford's 22-7 run put the Cardinal up 67-43. When two two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year called it a day with 2:56 left, she jumped up and down rooting on her teammates."She could do whatever she wanted today," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "She did what she wanted on the defensive end. She created a lot of havoc and we didn't have anyone who could keep up with her."Baylor got sloppy with the ball in the closing 10 minutes of the first half, and Stanford jumped in the passing lanes to create steals and transition opportunities on offense. The Cardinal also did a good job getting to the free-throw line and led 45-32 at halftime.Tisdale, Baylor's leading scorer with a 15.7 average, was held to seven points on 2-of-8 shooting and struggled to take care of the ball as Baylor faced a Pac-10 opponent for the third time this season.The Bears came in ranked second in the country for margin of victory at 35.7 points and were averaging a third-best 83.2 points per game. They were coming off an 80-45 home victory against Oregon on Wednesday night.Stanford was Baylor's highest-ranked opponent since the Bears faced No. 4 LSU on Jan. 30, 2006.Stanford played only its third home game this season in front of a small student section at Maples Pavilion because of the holidays.This matchup featured two of the nation's top shot blockers in 6-foot-3 Danielle Wilson of Baylor now with 27 and 6-4 Stanford sophomore Jayne Appel (21), the reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. They bumped in the paint all game fighting for position.Wilson swatted Pedersen early and has blocked at least one shot in 39 of 42 career games.Stanford started 0-for-4 and missed five of its first six shots -- two by Wiggins before she hit a 3 at 17:01.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||24-66 (.364)||33-67 (.493)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-15 (.400)||6-18 (.333)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-14 (.643)||15-22 (.682)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|