Cal and Stanford ready for Battle of the Bay, rivalry has over a century of roots

Cal postgame huddle after defeating UCLA Sunday in Berkeley.
Cal postgame huddle after defeating UCLA Sunday in Berkeley.

Battle of the Bay, Part 1

  • No. 21 California (14-5, 6-2) at No. 4/ Stanford (19-1, 8-0)
  • Thursday, January 30, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT, Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
  • Last: Cal 67, Stanford 55 (Jan. 13, 2013 in Palo Alto)
  • TV: Pac-12 Networks (Krista Blunk pxp, Mary Murphy analyst, Ros Gold-Onwude sideline)
  • Part 2: Sunday, February 2, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, 1 p.m. PT, ESPN2 (Brenda VanLengen and LaChina Robinson)

The History || The Series || The Matchup FAQs || Cal and Stanford Athletes in the Community

The History

While No. 4 Stanford and No. 21 Cal are beginning a new home-and-home series called the Battle of the Bay this year, the competitive history of the teams dates back over 100 years.

In just a few months after Senda Berenson introduced basketball to her physical education students at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. in 1893, Cal had its first loose-knot squad that played against women’s clubs and prep schools in the Bay area. Stanford established a formal team in 1895 and Cal followed a year later.

The first intercollegiate women’s basketball game took place between Stanford and Cal on April 4, 1896. Stanford won the contest, 2-1. This happened over a decade before men began to play intercollegiately at Cal according to California Golden Blogs.

That first game garnered significant press coverage. An article from the New York Sun hailed the game as an introduction of a new era of womanhood:

“The new girl made her debut in the arena of intercollegiate sport in California last week, and opened up no end of entrancing possibilities for the future gaiety of nations, while putting up as pretty and smart an exhibition of athletics as has been seen on the Pacific slope. The women students of the University of California met the women students of Stanford University in a game of basketball in San Francisco for the championship of the coast. There have been games of basketball between girl teams before, but this was new in bringing together representative teams from two universities.”

Unfortunately, athletic administrators and faculty were not keen on women playing any type of sports at Stanford and banned women’s participation in intercollegiate sports in 1899. Women’s basketball on the intercollegiate level re-emerged for the 1974-75 season at Stanford with Gay Coburn as the coach. The team competed in the Northern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NCIAC) and had an 8-3 record that season including a 49-38 victory over Cal on February 12, 1975.

In the modern era, Cal’s intercollegiate program began a year earlier for the 1973-74 season with Debbie Gebhardt as the coach. They played in the NCIAC and had a 5-5 record their first season.

The Series

Last season, the Cardinal and Bears also played each other within a week, a situation dictated by television and league scheduling. The Pac-12 sets series dates. Stanford leads the series, 61-18.

“Last season and this season they decided to have the rivalry games played twice in a week,” said Miquel Jacobs, assistant athletic communications director at Cal, “(with USC-UCLA making an exception by playing their first game before everyone else began conference play). As of now I don’t know if they will continue the practice.”

Stanford leads the all-time series 61-18 and holds a 26-11 advantage in Berkeley. The teams split the 2012-13 season series with Stanford claiming a 62-53 win in Berkeley and Cal taking a 67-55 win at Maples Pavilion to end Stanford’s 81-game conference winning streak. Three of Cal’s last four wins over Stanford have come at Maples (2000-01, 2006-07 and 2012-13).

Cal’s last two-game season sweep over the Cardinal came in the 1981-82 season when the Bears took an 80-69 win in Palo Alto and a 96-65 win in Berkeley. Those two victories came in the middle of a program-best six-game winning streak over the Cardinal stretching from 1980-81 to 1984-85.

The Matchup FAQs: Battle of the Bay, Part 1

Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb is the only active coach in the Pac-12 to lead her team to a road victory at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion – a feat she achieved last season with a 67-55 win on Jan. 13, 2013, that ended Stanford’s 81-game conference winning streak

The Bears are coming off a dominating 69-53 win over UCLA this past Sunday. Reshanda Gray scored 32 points, on 12-of-18 shooting, and pulled down 15 rebounds as Cal beat UCLA 69-53. Brittany Boyd added 18 points, five rebounds and six assists as the Bears knocked off UCLA for the third consecutive season in Berkeley.

The Cardinal rolled to an 86-59 victory over USC Monday night at Maples Pavilion, getting a balanced effort which included five players scoring in double figures. Chiney Ogwumike led with 30 points and 12 rebounds, her 10th 30-point game of the season. Mikaela Ruef posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, Amber Orrange and Lili Thompson each scored 12 points and freshman Karlie Samuelson added 10.

The series begins the first of two games in four days between the Bay Area rivals. Stanford alumna Rosalyn Gold-Onwude will be reporting from the sidelines for the Pac-12 Network.

We A.R.E. Pride flyer handed out Monday night before the USC vs. Stanford game.

Stanford has a definitive edge over Cal. They lead the Pac-12 in the top three of 10 categories: scoring defense (59.5 – first), scoring margin (+20.8 – first), rebounding margin (+8.4 – first), field-goal percentage (49.2 – first), 3-point field-goal percentage (41.1 – first), field-goal percentage defense (34.4 – first), assists (20.00 apg – first), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.61 – first), scoring offense (80.3 – second), and rebounding defense (34.8 – second).

Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 in scoring (27.1 ppg) and field-goal percentage (64.2), and is second in rebounding (12.2 rpg) and blocked shots (1.80 bpg).

Cal and Stanford Athletes in the Community

The teams may be feisty rivals, but student-athletes on the squads have a great deal of respect for their opponents on and off the court. This week, before Stanford beat USC Monday night, fans who entered the game received flyers about a collaborative effort between women’s basketball players Mikayla Lyles (Cal) and Toni Kokenis (Stanford). Their effort, called We A.R.E.Pride, seeks to “proivde the students, campuses and Bay Area communities with a safe space for dialogue surrounding” LGBT inclusion in sports. Lyles blogged about the event for espnW.

This week Lyles and Kokenis hosted two panels: one at Berkeley and the other at Stanford, to discuss LGBT issues in intercollegiate sports.

The panels featured:

  • Pat Griffin, founding director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Sports Project
  • Wade Davis, executive director of “You Can Play”
  • Helen Carroll, sports project for director for National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • Nevin Caple, Co-founder of “Br{ache the Silence”

Participants in the panel discussion and other activities received free t-shirts, game tickets and had the opportunity to watch the premier of videos and documentaries about LGBT inclusion and homophobia in sports.

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