With nine victories in its past 10 games, the Stanford women's basketball team hits the road for three important games that could decide where the Cardinal finishes in the Pacific-10 Conference race.
"Our next three games are on the road, and we'll find out a lot about this team," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
VanDerveer continued to see good things from her 11th-ranked Cardinal as it improved to 10-3 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-10 with a sweep of Arizona State and Arizona last weekend at Maples Pavilion.
On Thursday, seven Stanford players scored in double figures as the Cardinal shot 61.2 percent from the floor in routing ASU, 113-61. Two nights later, Stanford ruined Arizona's unbeaten road record with an 87-64 humbling before a sellout crowd of 7,500 in Maples.
"This team is improving, listening, working together," VanDerveer said of the Cardinal, which will play at California on Friday and then face UCLA (Jan. 28) and first-place Southern Cal (Jan. 30) on the road next week. "And the most exciting thing is, even though it's doing things, I know how much better it can be."
For sure, Stanford looked pretty good against the Arizona schools. Junior Rachel Hemmer led the way both games, scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds against ASU and following that up with a 24-point, nine-rebound performance against Arizona.
Freshman point guard Jamila Wideman also stood out in the two games, especially against Arizona with a career-high 19 points. With the Wildcats concentrating their efforts on Hemmer and 6-foot-5 Anita Kaplan inside, Wideman found herself open on the perimeter and able to penetrate with the confidence of a veteran.
Wideman was nine of 13 from the floor on Saturday, drawing rave reviews from VanDerveer.
"They doubled on Rachel and Anita a lot, so we needed to hit from the outside," VanDerveer said. "Jamila really stepped up. She's a player who listens on the floor. She can really keep her poise."
Stanford gave fourth-ranked UCLA a scare before losing to the Bruins, 188.200 to 187.275, in a women's meet last Friday in Burnham Pavilion.
The 15th-ranked Cardinal was led by junior Jene Elzie, who captured all-around honors (38.525). Sophomore Hillary Anderson was Stanford's other winner, capturing the beam (9.700).
Led by Jay Jackson's first-place finish at 134 pounds, Stanford had perhaps its best showing of the season in placing six wrestlers in either first or second place at the UC Davis Aggie Open. Lance Johnson won at 142 pounds.
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