Three Days Old

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - With the season only three days old, already we've seen some top matches across the country.

None can be bigger than what will take place in New Jersey Sunday night when the Pac-10's No. 7 Stanford Cardinal and the national runners-up, No. 3 Rutgers tangle at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, AKA the RAC.

Stanford is coming off a game in which they scored 100 points at Yale Friday. A game in which star guard Candice Wiggins only scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds. You can bet she'll be more involved with the game plan tonight.

For Rutgers, this will mark the first regular season contest since their Final Four loss to Tennessee last year in Cleveland. The Scarlet Knights returned everyone from that team and are one of the deepest teams in the nation. They will need to play like it's the middle of the season against the group of Cardinal who have a lot to prove.

The battle of the game should be inside between Stanford sophomore 6-foot-4 center Jayne Appel and Rutgers' own 6-foot-4 center, junior Kia Vaughn. Both players are Wade Trophy candidates this season and Appel scored 20 points and grabbed six boards to lead Stanford past the Bulldogs.

If Vaughn is able to stabalize Appel down low, look for Stanford to counter with freshman center, also 6-foot-4, Kayla Pedersen. Pedersen scored 15 points and grabbed nine boards in her collegiate debut. The Scarlet Knights won't have another presence who can match her size and skill other than Vaughn.

The key for the Scarlet Knights and Stanford will be finding scoring from places other than the All-Americans. We all know that Wiggins, Vaughn, Appel, Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson will score, now the other players around them must score as well.

Look for players like Epiphanny Prince, who can really light it up and may end up leading the Knights in scoring this season, and Stanford freshman Jeannette Pohlen to provide a spark from players who aren't listed on every watch list.

No. 8 North Carolina, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 4 Maryland and No. 6 Oklahoma all played today, with the Sun Devils and Heels and Terps and Sooners meeting. Add this other Top 10 battle and that makes the first weekend of the season action packed and very exciting.

Tonight's Starters:

G-Epiphanny Prince
G-Matee Ajavon
C-Kia Vaughn
F-Heather Zurich
F-Essence Carson

G-Candice Wiggins
G-Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
C-Jayne Appel
F-Jillian Harmon
F-Kayla Pedersen


Go West Coast!

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