Stockton, Calif. - The teams with the best records in California square off Saturday as the 7-1 Pacific women's basketball team takes on the 8-0 Stanford Cardinal at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto at 7 p.m. It will be the second time in three years the Tigers have faced the team ranked No. 1, as Stanford sits atop the AP and coaches polls.
"We certainly know Stanford presents a lot of challenges, but we're excited about the opportunity," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "To go on the road and face great talent and coaching is fun. As competitors, that's what it's all about. We know the toughness it's going to take to compete and I'm looking forward to seeing how our veteran team responds."
The Tigers are off to their best start in 30 years, despite having their seven-game win streak snapped last Friday at Florida. All five Tigers starters scored in double-figures in the contest at Florida, but a first-half run by the Gators enabled Florida to fend off a late charge by Pacific for an 89-82 win. It was the first time the Tigers have had five players score in double-figures in a loss since Dec. 4, 2007 at Colorado State.
Pacific scored 53 points in the second half against the Gators, two points away from the team's highest scoring half in the last 15 years. Kendall Kenyon, Ashley Wakefield and Gena Johnson each scored 12 points in the second half alone against the Gators. Kenyon tallied a game-high 18 points with 13 rebounds, while Wakefield and Kendall Rodriguez each posted 15 points in the contest. Johnson and Erica McKenzie each finished with 14 points in the game.
The Tigers were returning a trip as part of a home and home series with Florida. Last season, the Tigers beat the Gators, 78-73, at the Spanos Center. The Gators ended last season in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
Stanford looks for its ninth-straight win to open the season for a fifth time in program history. The Cardinal and Tigers have played one common opponent: Stanford defeated Fresno State by 11 points, while Pacific owns a 10-point win over the Bulldogs.
Pacific is taking on the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 for the second time in program history. Two seasons ago, on Dec. 29, 2010, Pacific faced No. 1 Connecticut in a sold out game in the Spanos Center, falling 85-42. Last season, the Tigers visited Storrs to face UConn, which was then ranked No. 4. The Tigers will be looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since 2003 (No. 18 UC Santa Barbara) and their first win over a Top 10 team ever. The highest-ranked opponent the Tigers have defeated was No. 12 Hawai'i on March 8, 1990.
Following the contest, the Tigers will close out a stretch of four-straight road games, facing Saint Mary's on December 20.