Wiggins gets scoring record, Stanford another Pac-10 title

Cardinal senior breaks all-time Pac-10 scoring mark; Stanford women get their eighth straight crown

It was a special moment for Candice Wiggins, for the Stanford women's basketball team, the Stanford Nation, and for the conference and the sport.

Wiggins played her final regular-season game on Sunday as the seventh-ranked Cardinal wrapped up its eighth straight Pac-10 title with its 74-52 victory over host Washington State.

Cal, which started the day tied with Stanford, was upset by host Washington, 74-66, to fall out of its first-place tie.

In the locker room afterward, Wiggins' teammates began a rhythmic clap in her honor. Not just for setting the Pac-10's all-time scoring record, or for being such a great player. It was their way of showing their senior leader some appreciation for her friendship, and her leadership.

"For four years I've watched her being a scoring machine," Stanford senior Cissy Pierce said. "This was a good day for Candice, and a good day for the class of oh-eight; 4-for-4 in Pac-10 titles."

The locker room celebration was another example of what Wiggins refers to every time she says this is a special group. And they're not done yet. They've stashed all those regular-season clich├ęs into the back of the closet for another year.

It's tournament time.

Stanford (16-2, 27-3) begins its preparations for the Pac-10 tournament in San Jose, which begins Friday. The Cardinal won't play until Saturday and will meet one of the survivors of Thursday's first-round game between Arizona and Oregon State at 5 p.m.

The conference tournament determines the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, although the top three contenders -- Stanford, California and Arizona State -- already have secured their berths.

Stanford still may be playing for a No. 2 seed, and Cal could get a 2 or 3 seed depending on its success next weekend.

"Any basketball player will tell you tournament time is the best time of the year," Pierce said. "Every practice could be your last; every game could be your last. There's the pressure of do-or-die. It's great."

For both Wiggins and Pierce, it's the last go-around. After stubbing a toe in last year's second round game against Florida, they both want their final season to continue into April.

"The seniors always told me that the last year is different," Pierce said. "When they say that, I would just roll my eyes. But it really is different when you're a senior. There's no next year to look forward to."

There's just the next game, the next week. And until further notice, Stanford remains the queen of the castle as the Pac-10's No. 1 seed.

"That's a great situation to be in," Pierce said. "California and Arizona State are both great teams and there's an opportunity for a third showdown with either of them."

Wiggins scored 24 points, the lone Cardinal in double figures, and surpassed Lisa Leslie with a driving layup in the final minute of the first half. She was fouled and turned it into a three-point play to give Stanford a 35-14 lead at the time.

The game was interrupted for a brief ceremony honoring Wiggins' Pac-10 record; she's at 2,424 and counting. The small crowd inside cavernous Friel Court gave her an enthusiastic acknowledgement. Wiggins was presented with a game ball, which she gave to teammates on the bench. Then it was back to business.


Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Stanford might still be playing for a 1 seed. UCONN, Tennessee, UNC, Rutgers, LSU, Maryland and Stanford are all in the mix for the top seeds, and UCONN and UNC are probably the only two locks. If Rutgers drops another to UCONN this week and fails to win the Big East Tournament, they probably won't get a top seed. LSU and Maryland could each drop out of the running with an early exit in their respective tournaments, and TN could actually lose their top seed to LSU if LSU beats them again. I don't think both teams will receive top seeds. So it would take other teams stumbling, but I think Stanford could definitely still grab the last 1 seed if the cards play out right.

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