Stanford's guards will take center stage vs IowaMar 21, 2010 - 10:45 PM By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer
STANFORD, Calif.(AP) -- Stanford boasts one of the most imposing front lines in women's basketball: 6-foot-4 All-America center Jayne Appel, 6-2 Pac-10 Player of the Year Nnemkadi Ogwumike and 6-4 second-leading scorer Kayla Pedersen.
They combine to score nearly 50 points per game. The immense focus on those three often leaves the guards as background players for the top-seeded Cardinal (32-1). And the backcourt has no problems with a formula that has worked all season.
Stanford is riding a 23-game winning streak heading into their home matchup with Iowa on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
"We don't really take offense to it," point guard Jeanette Pohlen said Sunday, when she and her teammates relaxed in the locker room before practice. "We're going to go to our posts. They're going to deliver for us. They always do. That's what we want to do most of the time."
Yet Stanford's guards know they will have to come to play from the opening tip vs. Iowa - the Hawkeyes are just too dangerous from the perimeter if they get on a roll. A trip to the Sacramento Regional next weekend is on the line, and Stanford is set on reaching a third straight Final Four and a possible rematch with undefeated defending champion Connecticut.
"We're going to have to make stops early. We don't want them hanging around," guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude said. "A key to the game obviously is going to be stopping the 3."
Eighth-seeded Iowa (20-13) knocked down 10 3-pointers in a 70-63 victory Saturday over Rutgers and former Hawkeyes coach C. Vivian Stringer. Iowa needed every one of those big shots to move on for the first time since beating Virginia in 2002 in coach Lisa Bluder's second season.
Kamille Wahlin and Jaime Printy each had three 3-pointers against Rutgers, while Kelly Krei and Kachine Alexander had two 3s apiece. The Hawkeyes counted on their accurate shooting on a night they also committed 18 turnovers and shot 36 percent in an unimpressive first half. Iowa was 10-for-23 from long distance.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer can use Oregon perimeter threat Taylor Lilley as an example when it comes to how the Cardinal will defend Iowa.
"You have to guard people. They have very good shooters but we're fortunate to have played Oregon," VanDerveer said. "They also have great shooters and we're used to being out on very efficient shooters. ... They (Iowa) like up tempo, we like up tempo, and we both like to score. You could see a high score."
Stanford still receives reminders of the last time it lost at home in Maples Pavilion.
In 2007, the second-seeded Cardinal were shocked right out of the NCAA tournament by Florida State. There also was the 1998 tournament when top-seeded Stanford lost here to 16th-seeded Harvard - still the only No. 1 team in the men's or women's field to ever to lose to a 16 seed.
Bluder mentioned the upsets to her players Sunday morning, "so we know it is something we can do and to believe in ourselves," Printy said.
Iowa wasn't the only one discussing it.
"It has been brought up," Pohlen said. "Losing in the second round at home is not a good feeling. We want to move on in the tournament. We don't want to lose because we don't want to lose, even if it wasn't at home."
VanDerveer was most pleased with Pohlen in a first-round rout of UC Riverside on Saturday night. Pohlen has taken it upon herself to make sure she and her teammates make good decisions on both ends of the floor.
"The story line of the game was Jeanette Pohlen," VanDerveer said of Pohlen's 16-point performance, including four 3-pointers in the 79-47 victory.
Iowa knows it will have a tough time matching up with the taller, more physical Cardinal at every position - even if the primary focus is on Appel, Ogwumike and Pedersen.
"We know what Stanford brings and it's going to take a perfect game for us to stick with them," Wahlin said.
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