• December 8, 2021

2016 Battle of the Bay Part I: Cal travels to No. 15 Stanford, young rosters on display


California (11-10, 2-8) at No. 15/15 Stanford (17-5, 7-3)

  • Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET
  • Maples Pavilion (Stanford, Calif.)
  • TV: Pac-12 Network (Mary Murphy and Krista Blunk)
  • Streaming: Pac-12.com
  • Radio: KZSU 90.1FM (kzsu.stanford.edu)

STANFORD, Calif. — The last time Cal and Stanford met, the teams were battling for the 2015 Pac-12 Championship in Seattle. Stanford won that contest, 61-60, taking the title. However, during last year’s Battle of the Bay, the annual local series between the two programs, the teams finished in a split. Stanford won the first contest, a 59-47 victory at Cal. With their backs against the wall, Cal traveled to the South Peninsula and beat the Cardinal, 63-53, in the second matchup.

Reminiscent of last year, Cal is not ranked while Stanford is in the top 20 of the polls.

Stanford has the edge in the all-time modern series vs. Cal, 65-19, dating back to Feb. 12, 1975. Meetings between the two teams are a highlight of West Coast women’s basketball and there is a long history between them.

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 two schools played the first intercollegiate women’s basketball game on April 4, 1896 at a San Francisco armory on Page Street the day before Easter. Stanford won 2-1.  This happened over a decade before men began to play intercollegiately at Cal according to California Golden Blogs.

“I don’t think I will ever be a coach at the University of California and say ‘It’s just another game,’” says Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb about the celebrated rivalry between the two teams. “We’re playing Stanford. It’s a big game regardless of what sport it is. In women’s basketball not only are they Stanford and our Bay Area rival but also they are one of the best programs in the history of women’s college basketball. So it’s just not any other game. I don’t want our players thinking it’s just another game – every game matters — and we’re going to be ready, it’s a special game.”

For the first matchup this year, Stanford will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day with fans with a poster giveaway of top female athletes from several Cardinal teams and a meet-and-greet/autograph session on the concourse.

It has been a season of ups and downs for both squads. Cal comes into the contest with a very young roster of just eight healthy players including a starter that missed the last three games for “personal reasons.” The team has no seniors and two juniors. The starting lineup over the year has only included one upperclassman, junior forward Courtney Range (13.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game).

Sophomore guard Gabby Green (6.1 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game) missed the team’s road trip to Los Angeles two weekends ago. She was also out for home games to Washington State and Washington last weekend. Although she attended the most recent games, sitting on the bench in street clothes, there is no word on when she will return to the Cal lineup.

Additionally, the Bears started the season without returning guard Mercedes Jefflo, dismissed from the program in September, and incoming freshman Breanna Cavanaugh. After suffering a non-basketball related concussion that kept her out of action at the beginning of the season, Cavanaugh withdrew from school and later transferred to Rutgers.

Chen Yue, a celebrated freshman center from China, is also out of the lineup. She is suffering from a broken bone in her foot. Her recovery is ongoing and it is unlikely that she will return to the lineup during the regular season.

Cal finished last weekend with a split against the Pac-12 schools from Washington. The Bears defeated Washington State 74-71 on Friday with 27 points and seven rebounds from star freshman forward Kristin Anigwe, winner of seven Pac-12 Freshman of the Week accolades so far this season. Cal fell to No. 25 Washington on Sunday, 75-65. Freshman guard Asha Thomas led the Bears vs. Washington with 22 points and six assists.

Stanford is not without its own issues. The team does not have a senior starter for the first time in 13 seasons. The 2002-03 campaign was the last time the Cardinal didn’t have a senior in its first five.

Unranked Santa Clara stunned the Cardinal early in the season, handing Stanford a home defeat. After finishing the non-conference season 10-2, the Cardinal suffered embarrassing low-scoring defeats on the road at Arizona State and UCLA. The 49-31 loss at ASU included the lowest point total in a game for Stanford in program history.

However, the Cardinal recovered from its last loss, a 56-36 defeat at UCLA to beat Washington and Washington State in the past few days. Junior guard Lili Thompson had a career-high 30 points against the Cougars on Sunday helping her team stay perfect all-time against WSU (60-0). Thompson won this week’s Pac-12 Player of the Week award.

Stanford played its last few games without the services of starter Kailee Johnson (3.1 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game). The junior forward suffered a lower leg injury during a Jan. 17 game at Oregon State. Over the weekend head coach Tara VanDerveer said Johnson was “on the mend” and hoped to have her back this week.

In the most recent RPI rankings, Stanford sits at No. 6 and has played the nation’s third-toughest schedule. The Pac-12 Conference has the highest RPI in the nation compared to other leagues. Five Pac-12 teams are in the top 20 of current RPI rankings (Stanford, Oregon State at No. 7, UCLA at No. 9, Arizona State at No. 10, Washington at No. 16). Cal sits at No. 63.

Probable Starters


  • Freshman guard Asha Thomas
  • Junior forward Courtney Range
  • Sophomore forward Mikayla Cowling
  • Sophomore forward Penina Davidson
  • Freshman forward/center Kristine Anigwe


  • Junior guard Briana Roberson
  • Junior guard Lili Thompson
  • Junior guard Karlie Samuelson
  • Sophomore forward Kaylee Johnson
  • Junior forward Erica McCall

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