BERKELEY, Calif. – In the first game of the 2017 “Battle of the Bay” series, No. 10 Stanford (23-4, 13-2 Pac-12) rallied to overtake California in the last two minutes of the game for a 72-66 victory at Haas Pavilion.
The matchup was a closely fought affair with Cal leading for much of the contest. The Bears won the tip, scored first and came back from a four-point deficit after the first quarter to end up in a tie with Stanford at halftime, 31 all.
The third quarter was ten minutes of back and forth between the teams but Cal managed to eke out a one-point advantage to go into the fourth quarter leading Stanford 48-47. However, the Cardinal finished better down the stretch buoyed by a 15-5 run over the last 3:50 of the game. The run enabled the Cardinal to outscore the Bears 25-18 in the last quarter.
“We couldn’t close it out down the stretch,” said Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb postgame.
“We’ll get an opportunity to play them on Sunday and hope to get some corrections,” continued Gottlieb about her team’s chances on Sunday.
Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer was impressed by Cal.
“I thought they played extremely hard,” she said. “I give them a lot or credit for working that hard.”
Alanna Smith came off the bench to lead the Cardinal with 27 points, a career-high, plus six rebounds.
“Today was Alanna’s game,” said VanDerveer. “She was the difference-maker for us. They didn’t have an answer for her.”
In her last four games, Smith has averaged 16 points per contest, above her season average of 6.6 points per game.
Overall, VanDerveer was pleased with her team’s late-game effort and the ability of her players to stay focused in order to come from behind and earn the win: “I’m really proud of how we played.”
Karlie Samuelson was also in double figures for the Cardinal with 17 points and four rebounds. Erica McCall had a double-double, her 11th of the season, of 11 points plus 14 rebounds.
Cal had a balanced effort with five players in double figures led by Mikayla Cowling’s 14 plus six assists. Penina Davidson scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Mi’Cole Cayton added 11 points while Kristine Anigwe and Asha Thomas had 10 points each. Anigwe also grabbed five rebounds.
Before the game Gottlieb honored her Pac-12 colleague VanDerveer for recently earning her 1,000th career win. Gottlieb presented VanDerveer with a framed photo of the San Francisco Bay Area.
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“I was very touched by the gift I was given by the Cal program,” said VanDerveer. “I knew they weren’t going to give us a game.”
Cal also honored the program’s seniors, Courtney Range and KC Waters. Cal football legend and former NFL player Marshawn Lynch was courtside for the game.
Stanford remains in a tie for first place with Washington and Oregon State in the Pac-12. The Huskies and Beavers are both 12-2 in the conference and play Friday. Cal is in eighth place in the conference.
Stanford now leads the overall series between the two teams, 66-19. The programs meet again on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT at Stanford. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
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