Cal recovers to defeat No. 18 Stanford 63-53 in Battle of the Bay finale
— Cal Basketball (@CalWBBall) February 22, 2015
PALO ALTO, Calif. – With just a few days to recover from a disappointing home loss on their home court on a day honoring their seniors, Cal (20-7, 12-4 Pac-12) reversed a late season two-game losing streak to take down No. 18 Stanford (20-8, 12-4) in Palo Alto, 63-53, in front of 5,209 fans early Sunday. The afternoon matchup was also senior day for the Cardinal.
“This is a big one for us, because Stanford is so good and our conference is so good,” said Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said about the victory.
A Cardinal First Half
For the first half of the Battle of the Bay finale it seemed as if Stanford was going to come away with a sweep of the series. After succumbing to a barrage of three-pointers and falling behind by 9, the Cardinal began hitting their shots at 12:39 led by freshman Brittany McPhee.
At the half Stanford had a slim lead, 29-27. McPhee scored 17 points and four rebounds before the break.
There were only two ties and two lead changes in the first half and Stanford ruled the paint. The Cardinal scored 18 points in the paint in the first half to Cal’s eight.
Bears Turn the Tables
Even with the heroics of young McPhee, the Cardinal could not overcome Cal’s second half effort, especially the relentless defense of the Bears.
— Kai Felton (@coachkai) February 23, 2015
Senior forward Reshanda Gray started the ball rolling for Cal in the second half with two layups, putting the teams in a tie, and the Bears were on their way. Their tenacious defense caused the Cardinal to commit four shot-clock violations six minutes into the half.
After trading baskets with each other for much of the period, Cal began to pull away in the last three minutes. There were six ties and eight lead changes in the second half.
Overall, Cal outrebounded Stanford 35-31. Both teams shot about 39 percent from the field.
Three Cal players ended the game in double figures. Gray finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Mercedes Jefflo contributed 15 points while senior point guard Brittany Boyd tallied a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
McPhee led Stanford with 24 points and six rebounds. Senior point guard Amber Orrange added 11 points and five rebounds.
End of a Pac-12 Streak
The loss put Stanford out of contention for at least a share of the Pac-12 regular season title, something that has not happened for 15 years.
“Well, that was a good 15 years. That was fun,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer about the end of the run.
While Gottlieb praised Stanford’s program she also was not surprised that her team ended the Cardinal streak in hostile territory.
“This is Cal freaking basketball,” said Gottlieb near the end of her postgame presser. “We haven’t hit our ceiling yet.”
The victory marked win No. 99 for the fourth-year coach at Cal. It was only the second loss for Stanford in the last 15 games between the two teams.
Both teams head north to face Oregon and Oregon State to end their regular season. League-leading No. 7 Oregon State (25-2, 15-1) clinched at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title earlier Sunday with a win over Utah. The Beavers have also earned the top seed in next month’s Pac-12 tournament in Seattle.
No. 12 Arizona State (24-4, 13-3) won a later game at USC and is still in contention for a share of the league regular season title.
- The Cal senior class (Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray, Justine Hartman, Brittany Shine) is the only current senior class in the Pac-12 to earn two wins at Maples Pavilion.
- It was Cal’s first win over Stanford at Maples Pavilion since the historic 67-55 win on Jan. 13, 2013 that ended Stanford’s 81-game conference winning streak.
- The two teams combined for just one free throw attempt – a miss by Stanford – in the first half.
- Cal earned 10 points from its bench after getting zero over the last two games.
- Boyd earned her team-leading ninth double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
- With her 17 points, Gray has 1,671 in her career and is 95 points shy of cracking Cal’s all-time top five.