STANFORD -- When Natasha Lacy played at TCU before transferring to her hometown team of UTEP, Stanford's Candice Wiggins showed up on campus while visiting a friend and watched Lacy scrimmage.
Now, two years later, Lacy vs. Wiggins will be one of the most intriguing matchups when their teams meet tonight in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on the second-seeded Cardinal's home floor at Maples Pavilion. Two talented senior guards who keep in touch on occasion, each trying to make it through at least one more game. Lacy even sent Wiggins an Internet greeting Saturday with her best wishes.
"It's her last home game, and it could be my last game period," said Lacy, who had 19 points, seven steals, six assists and five rebounds in a 92-60 first-round rout of Western Kentucky. "There's a lot at stake, and none of us wants our season to end. That was so long ago. I hope my game has evolved, and she probably has some moves I haven't seen. I look forward to matching up with her."
Matching up with Jayne Appel might be another matter for Lacy and Co. Stanford's 6-foot-4-inch center scored 29 of her career-high 33 points in the first half of the Cardinal's 85-47 first-round win over Cleveland State.
Stanford (31-3) is riding a 19-game winning streak heading into the game with the seventh-seeded Miners (28-3) for a berth to the Spokane Regional. The Cardinal wants to avoid its fate from a year ago, when it was upset by Florida State on its home floor. The first game today features No. 3 seed Cal (27-6) against sixth-seeded George Washington (26-6) in the Greensboro Regional.
Wiggins, the Pac-10's career scoring leader, will take the floor at Maples for the final time -- and that figures to be emotional for everybody on the Farm who has come to adore her.
"I don't think it's hit me yet, and maybe it won't hit me until (today), when I'm actually playing. But it's so crazy to think about four years," Wiggins said.
Cal is close to home and should have the crowd on its side, too. The Golden Bears won their first NCAA game in 15 years and just the second in program history Saturday when they beat San Diego.
But backup center Rama N'diaye was lost to what appears to be a serious knee injury in the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today.
The Bears must regroup and prepare for a George Washington team that features physical inside players who could provide a tough matchup for Devanei Hampton and former Davis High star Ashley Walker. Hampton scored 22 points in Cal's opener, and Walker had 21 points and 12 rebounds.