Defending Stanford all-everything senior guard Candice Wiggins is tough any day of the week.
But on the road, when the two-time Pac-10 player of the year will be playing her last game at Maples Pavilion? Let's just say Arizona State guard Briann January is going to have her work cut out.
"She's so tough mentally and physically," said January, who will draw the defensive assignment against Wiggins today when the second- and third-place teams in the Pac-10 square off. "There's not much you can do to try and get in her head. You just try and disrupt her game. Everybody has their breaking point."
And playing in front of an emotionally charged Maples Pavilion crowd on senior day?
"It doesn't help," ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne quipped. "If I had a preference, 'No, thank you.'"
Wiggins leads the league in scoring (19.2 per game), is second behind January in free-throw percentage, ranks in the top 10 in assists and steals, has made the All-Pac-10 team her first three years, and has been a second-team AP All-American each season.
"What impresses me the most about her is her steadiness," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said this week. "She comes to practice every day working really hard. She's really steady in the games. She averages 20 and she gets 20. It's not like she gets 10 in one game and 40 in another, she's very consistent."
Wiggins is within shouting distance of WNBA star Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 career scoring record set when she was at USC.
"She's just determined to be successful," January said. "When you put together the physical and natural ability, it's so hard to stop."
While it will be all about Wiggins today, ASU still has a job to do if it wants to keep pace in the league standings.
"I'm excited, we have to get these back," January said. "Last time we didn't finish them out."
ASU led Stanford by 14 points in the first half the last time the teams met. But the Cardinal fought back, took the lead for good with eight minutes remaining and pulled out a 60-56 victory in Tempe. Wiggins had 18 points, and former Mesa Red Mountain standout Kayla Pedersen scored 11 of her 12 points in the second half to lead the Stanford comeback.
ASU women at No. 6 Stanford
When: 2 p.m. today Where: Maples Pavilion, Palo Alto, Calif.
TV: FSN Arizona Radio: KDUS (1060 AM)
Records: ASU 16-8, 10-3 Pac-10; Stanford 23-3, 12-2.
ASU women at. No. 6 Stanford
Scouting report: The Sun Devils have their work cut out for them to pull off a much-needed split in the Bay Area. ASU is coming off a tough, 10-point loss to California on Thursday to fall 2 1/2 games back of the first-place Bears. The Sun Devils can’t afford to fall another game behind Stanford, which remains a game out of first after routing Arizona on Thursday for its 11th straight victory. Stanford is outscoring, outshooting and outrebounding its opponents by a large margin with an imposing inside game and all-around star guard Candice Wiggins. Mesa Red Mountain product Kayla Pedersen has been an up-and-coming star for Stanford and got 18 points against Arizona on Thursday. ASU needs to shoot better and improve its rebounding if it doesn’t want to return home more than two games out of second with four games to play in the regular season. The Sun Devils played well in the first half against the Bears but will need 40 intense minutes to get past Stanford.