By C. Coward
PALO ALTO, Calif. – No. 4 Stanford (20-1, 9-0) won the first game in the Battle of the Bay series, dominating No. 21 Cal, 70-64 and holding off a late Golden Bears rally in front of 4,228 fans at Maples Pavilion Thursday night. The Cardinal nearly squandered a 30-point lead.
“We played really well for about 30 minutes out of 40, but the games are 40 minutes long,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. “I think the end of this game had to get everyone’s attention on our team, and we need to get ready to go against them Sunday.”
The Cardinal managed to shut down Cal’s leading scorer, Reshanda Gray who finished scoreless and with just two rebounds, well below her season average of 17.3 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per contest.
After a back and forth matchup during the first 10 minutes, Stanford pulled away to lead 43-25 going into the break.
As the second half began, the Cardinal seemed well on their way to a rout, leading by 30 at 13:35 when the score was 59-29. However, Cal “would not give up” said junior guard Brittany Boyd who finished with 25 points plus five rebounds. With 37 seconds to go, the Bears were within 10 but it was too much too late and Stanford prevailed.
“We were still motivated,” said Boyd. “One thing about this team is we have heart. We won’t give up. I’m proud of every single player in that locker room.”
Cal senior forward Chiney Ogwumike led her team with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Karlie Samuelson added 14 while Taylor Greenfield contributed 10.
“We always talk about keeping our poise. That’s the one thing that may have helped their run, that we may have stayed a little too calm and too poised at times,” said Ogwumike of Cal’s comeback. “We need to kick into another gear.”
For Cal, Afure Jemerigbe helpd out Boyd and scored 18 points. Gennifer Brandon had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Boyd also had three assists plus two steals which moved her to No. 4 in the California all-time record book with 242 career thefts.
The series finishes up at Cal on Sunday, 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET. It will be televised on ESPN2.