Stanford vs. Cal -- Round III

SAN JOSE, Calif -- Good evening and welcome to the Championship Game of the Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament also known as the Battle of the Bay III!

Considering that as of now, this is the last year that the Pac-10 women's tournament will be held here in the HP Pavilion, it's a fitting tribute that the two local Pac-10 schools and the No. 1 and No. 2 tournament seeds will be playing for the title tonight.

Top seed and No. 4 ranked Stanford (29-3, 16-2 Pac-10) comes in as the Pac-10 regular season champions, four-time conference tournament champions and are favored to win tonight. In addition to win giving the Cardinal the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament from the Pac-10, it will also give Stanford a perfect 3-0 record against Cal this season.

Why is Stanford so hot? Here's why:

Candice Wiggins
She's one of the elite in women's college basketball and has the numbers to prove it. First, she leads the Pac-10 in career points Cardinal in points (18.9 ppg), assists (97) and steals (68), so she knows how to share the ball nicely with the other kids. Probably every coach in the Pac-10 except one is happy that this is her last Pac-10 game.

Jayne Appel
Only a sophomore and one of the go-to players for the Cardinal. Appel was the 2007 Freshman of the Year and is not anywhere close to have a slump during her second season. With team-bests in blocks (75), rebounds (8.6 rpg) and other notable stats of 83 assists and 14.5 ppg (second behind Wiggins), Appel is not as sweet as she looks during game time.

Kayla Pedersen
Pederson is just the latest member of the Stanford program to earn 2008 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors and as the team's third best scorer (12.8 ppg), the torch is being passed to her to uphold Cardinal Law in the Pac-10 for the next three years.

After these three, you have your pick of talented players from the Stanford roster. Whether it's sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, senior Cissy Pierce, Sophomore JJ Hones or junior Jillian Harmon, Stanford has a deep bench that can be deadly for opponents.

The No. 8 ranked Golden Bears (26-5, 15-3 Pac-10) are not too shabby either. After all, they have their own roster full of talent that has nothing to lose tonight. Instead, Cal has an opportunity to claim a conference tournament title to help ease the pain of losing their share of the conference title when they dropped their final regular season game at Washington, 66-74.

Here's a look at what has made Cal so hot this season:

Devanei Hampton
At 6-foot-3, she is the anchor of the action in the paint for Cal and quite a force to be wreckon with. Hampton averages 14 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game. She is the 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year and is finding her way to award watch lists left and right.

Ashley Walker
As the team's leader in points (15.4 per game), rebounds (9.3) and blocks (45), she will be counted on to perform tonight. She's not the tallest of Cal's trees in the middle at 6-foot-1 but she has a big time game that frustrates opponents.

Alexis Gray-Lawson
She's only 5-foot-8, but as the team's third-best scorer (11.8 ppg) she is a main contributor to this team's success.

Rounding out the starting five are sophomores Natasha Vital (8 ppg) and Lauren Greif (6.1 ppg) who don't get banged around down low, but do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to bringing the ball down the court and feeding the posts down low.

With tonight's game involving both local Pac-10 schools that are ranked in the Top 10, we should see some good hoops and have a good crowd in attendance.

Stay tuned, we start at 7:30 pm PT.

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