Jan. 9, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) – Brooke Smith talked to coach Tara VanDerveer earlier in the day about looking more for her shot.
And Smith just plain put on a show with that signature hook of hers.
She made her first six field-goal attempts on the way to a season-high 28 points, leading No. 10 Stanford to its 10th straight win with a 69-54 victory over South Carolina on Monday night.
“Brooke really put us on her back and carried us basically the whole night,” VanDerveer said. “She didn’t come out. She played really hard and rebounded. She was doubled a lot. She read the defense really well. She had two or three people on her and did a great job.”
Candice Wiggins had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists in the Cardinal’s first game back in the top 10 since starting the season ranked fourth before losing to BYU on Nov. 13 in their second game.
Smith shot 14-for-17, tying her career high for shots made, and grabbed seven rebounds as the Cardinal (12-3) extended their longest winning streak since getting 23 in a row two years ago.
“I’m just trying to shoot when I’m open and make moves when I’m open,” Smith said.
Stacy Booker had 17 points with five 3-pointers and seven rebounds in South Carolina’s second straight loss following a five-game winning streak. The Gamecocks (10-6) lost their SEC opener to Kentucky on Thursday.
“I knew it was important,” Wiggins said of this game. “I kept reminding our team that you have to be able to make statements. We needed to come out strong.”
Kristen Newlin scored six straight points and Stanford built a 50-35 lead with 14:45 to play. She finished with eight points, while freshman Jayne Appel came off the bench to add seven points, seven boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals. Fellow freshman JJ Hones had five assists.
Booker cut Stanford’s lead to 59-50 on a 3-pointer with 7:20 left, then hit another long jumper the next time down the floor to make it 59-53 before Smith’s basket on the other end started an 8-0 Stanford spurt.
“Her hook shot is unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Booker said.
Stanford, unbeaten so far at 5-0 in Pac-10 play, shot 46 percent in the start of a challenging stretch featuring three games in six days that includes a road trip to Washington and Washington State. It’s the second time this season the Cardinal have three games in six days.
They outrebounded South Carolina 47-36, with four players grabbing seven or more rebounds for the third straight game.
The Gamecocks forced the Cardinal into 15 turnovers in the first meeting between the schools, but had no answer for Smith and Wiggins. Smith noticed early she was being guarded by only one defender, and went hard to the basket at every chance.
“We could not stop Brooke Smith, that was the bottom line,” South Carolina coach Susan Walvius said. “We’re huge and typically very good defending interior teams. Stanford is tough to guard.”