Cleveland State 47

(19-14, 10-8 Horizon)

Stanford 85

(31-3, 16-2 Pac-12)

8:30 PM ET, March 22, 2008

Maples Pavilion, Stanford, California

1 2 T
CLEV 22 2547
STAN 45 4085

Top Performers

Cleveland St: K. Klein 16 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Stanford: J. Appel 33 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

Appel rises to occasion as Stanford crushes Cleveland St. for 19th win in row

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Jayne Appel worked herself into a nervous tizzy over having to defend a shorter, quicker player.

Just imagine how Cleveland State must have felt going up against the 6-foot-4 Appel in the paint. That quickly became the far bigger issue Saturday night.

Appel dominated the Vikings in their NCAA tournament debut, scoring 29 of her career-high 33 points in the first half to help second-seeded Stanford roll to an 85-47 first-round victory.

She was determined to make sure the Cardinal protected their home court in Maples Pavilion, because Appel is reminded each time she takes the floor of Stanford's most recent NCAA disappointment.

Candice Wiggins also brought it up again before the game.

"Our team knew to get the ball inside. That was the most nervous I've been all year," Appel said. "Candice got me in the right mind-set that we have defended Maples all year and we will continue to. That's what my team needed me to do."

Appel shot 14-for-19, finished two shy of tying Stanford's NCAA tournament record and pulled down 12 rebounds in 25 minutes. The Cardinal (31-3) won their 19th straight game without relying on Pac-10 career scoring-leader Wiggins.

Wiggins wound up with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists and was whistled for her first collegiate technical foul with 12:58 remaining, prompting her home crowd to boo in protest.

She also provided that motivational pregame speech.

"I talked about how special Maples is and don't let people come in and beat us in our own gym," Wiggins said.

A year ago, Stanford was knocked off by Florida State at home on The Farm -- and that still stings to this day. It was one of three NCAA losses at Maples in the past 10 years for the Cardinal, who are trying to reach their first Final Four since 1997.

They play at home again Monday against seventh-seeded UTEP, a 92-60 winner in the late game Saturday over No. 10 seed Western Kentucky, with a chance to advance to the Spokane Regional. Stanford has been thinking about the Final Four in Tampa, Fla., all season.

"We definitely want to get out of here, and the feeling in the locker room is that we will get out of here," guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude said. "This year our goal is Tampa, and that hasn't always been the case on other teams I've been on. We have all the pieces."

Kailey Klein had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists and Robyn Hoying added 10 points and seven boards to lead upstart Cleveland State (19-14), the 15th seed playing with just nine healthy players. The Horizon League tournament champions earned an NCAA bid a year after winning only eight games.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer noticed Appel's focus in practice all week -- from the eye contact to the assertive nods. Appel received a standing ovation when she got a breather at the 8:43 mark of the first half, and VanDerveer gave her several hard claps and some nice words. The fans went wild again when Appel sat down 1:22 before halftime.

"I knew she would be ready," VanDerveer said. "Jayne really delivered for us."

Appel made her first four field-goal tries before missing, but grabbed her own rebound on that miss and made the putback 5:59 into the game for a 14-6 lead. That gave her nine straight points for Stanford. Her three-point play at 15:39 started a 14-0 run that featured 13 points by the first-team all-Pac-10 center and a free throw from Wiggins.

Before Wiggins' 3-pointer with 3:13 remaining in the first half, the rest of Stanford's players were 2-for-10 to Appel's 10-of-14. Appel outscored Cleveland State 33-32 over the first 27 minutes of the contest.

"She pretty much scored at will if we fronted her or played behind her," Cleveland State coach Kate Peterson Abiad said. "She's by far the best center we've seen all year."

Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Kayla Pedersen pulled down 12 rebounds to go with nine points and four assists for Stanford, which is making its 21st straight NCAA appearance.

The Cardinal are determined to make a deep run this March and send Wiggins -- the heart and soul of this program the past four seasons -- out in style before she is selected in next month's WNBA draft.

Stanford looked sharp coming off its fifth straight Pac-10 tournament title and eighth consecutive conference regular-season crown, shooting 52 percent in the first half on the way to a 45-22 lead at the break. The Cardinal converted 21 of 23 free throws.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of top-seeded Stanford's stunning defeat at the hands of No. 16 Harvard, the only time a 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 team in men's and women's NCAA history.

Appel made sure Stanford didn't make history by becoming the first No. 2 seed to lose to a 15th seed in the women's tournament. Stanford thought it had shown enough to earn a No. 1 seed this year after another impressive season that included a victory over then-No. 1 Tennessee in December.

Cleveland State, a small, up-tempo team that VanDerveer compared to the Phoenix Suns, started the game 3-for-24 and finished 25 percent from the floor (19-for-75) while getting outrebounded 57-31.

"When we were ahead early in the game, it was a real rush," Klein said. "Unfortunately they came back and hit some big shots while ours didn't fall."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 47 85
FG Made-Attempted 19-75 (.253) 29-60 (.483)
3P Made-Attempted 8-29 (.276) 6-23 (.261)
FT Made-Attempted 1-3 (.333) 21-23 (.913)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 12 (0/0) 7 (0/0)
Largest Lead 1 38

Game Leaders

PointsK. Klein 16J. Appel 33
ReboundsR. Hoying 7J. Appel 12
AssistsK. Klein 4J. Hones 6
StealsB. Korth 2C. Wiggins 2


» Mar 22, 2008 @STAN 85, CLEV 47Recap | Box Score