Sports

Stanford defense will be put to the test in Pac-10 hoops

 

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Stanford's tough-minded defense will be put to the test Thursday night when 17th-ranked Washington visits Maples Pavilion for a 7 p.m. Pac-10 men's basketball contest.

The Cardinal (2-1, 9-5) will also put its unbeaten home record on the line against the conference's highest scoring team and one of the one top scoring teams in the country, averaging 88.9 points a game. The Huskies are beating their opponents by an average of 20.8 points a game.

"Any team that explosive is dangerous," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "They are good at finding ways to score. It's not like you can point to one thing and say we need to stop that. They score in multiple ways."

Washington (4-0, 12-3) is the first nationally-ranked opponent of the season for Stanford, which last beat a Top 25 team in March of 2009, a 74-64 win over then No. 21 Arizona State.

The Huskies also lead the Pac-10 in rebounding (40.8), 3-point field goals (141) and 3-point field goal percentage (.408).

"For us we're just trying to get better each time we take the floor," Dawkins said. "For the most part we've defended fairly well. Seeing the new players come together defensively is exciting."

The Cardinal, first in the conference in scoring defense (60.0), is coming off a strange weekend in the desert. After earning a road win at Arizona State, 55-41, last Thursday, Stanford's game at Arizona was postponed a day over concern for the tragic shooting in Tucson. The Wildcats won, 67-57, on Sunday.

"It was a major tragedy," Dawkins said. "What happened was senseless. There was not even a second thought to postponing the game. We pulled everybody together and talked about how to handle the situation and I think the young men responded in a mature manner."

Junior Jeremy Green was 7-of-24 from the field (29 percent) in the two games, though he still managed to score a combined 22 points and remains the Cardinal leading scorer with a 15.9 average.

Green seems to perform well against the Huskies, though, and he's tough on his home court. He averages 10.1 points in six career games against Washington and has 10 3-pointers.

Junior Jack Trotter has also found some success against the Huskies, with 26 points and 19 rebounds against them in four meetings, his most versus any Pac-10 team.

Women's water polo

Stanford finds itself ranked first in the nation in the CWPA preseason Top 20 poll, and the favorite to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title.

The Cardinal edged USC in the national poll, accumulating 98 points to 97 for the Women of Troy. In the MPSF poll, Stanford received six out of eight possible first-place votes for a total of 47 points, ahead of 43 for USC and 35 for Hawai'i.

Stanford made its sixth appearance in the NCAA national title game in 2010, falling 10-9 to USC in San Diego. The Cardinal finished the year 26-3 overall, and captured the MPSF regular season title with a perfect 7-0 record in conference play.

The 2011 Stanford squad, led once again by head coach John Tanner in his 14th season on The Farm, features the return of 2010 All-Americans Amber Oland in net and two-meter standouts Annika Dries and Melissa Seidemann.

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