Jan. 9, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Chiney Ogwumike did her best to keep Stanford from having another long winning streak snapped.
Ogwumike scored 26 points and Amber Orrange added 15 to help the fifth-ranked Cardinal pull away from No. 7 California for their 81st straight win against a conference opponent, 62-53 over the Golden Bears on Tuesday night.
After having their 82-game home winning streak snapped late last month against Connecticut, the Cardinal (14-1, 3-0 Pac-12) showed they are still the top team in the conference.
"The Connecticut game was a big low," Ogwumike said. "I'm just really proud of how we bounced back. We're discovering ourselves. I think we've had a tough preseason and a tough start to conference. ... Our toughness is something we'll discover along the way but today I think we were tough."
Ogwumike provided the bulk of the scoring and helped hold the Bears (12-2, 2-1) to 30 percent shooting at the other end to win for the 10th straight time in this rivalry. Stanford's last loss to Cal - or any conference team - came nearly four years ago, on Jan. 18, 2009, on this court to the Bears.
Layshia Clarendon scored 17 points on 6-for-20 shooting to lead the Bears, whose only losses this season are to Stanford and at No. 4 Duke. Cal hasn't beaten a top five team since a win over No. 2 Rutgers on Nov. 22, 2008.
"We had a rough shooting night," coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "You can't expect to beat a team as good as Stanford if you go 2 for 21 from 3. I think we really battled through that, especially in the first half. In the second half ultimately it deflated us a little bit and allowed Stanford to get better looks than we wanted them to."
This is the first of two straight meetings between the Bay Area rivals who figure to be competing for the conference title. The return game is Sunday at Stanford and then the teams couldn't meet again until March in the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle.
Both teams figure to be sharper then after four days off, compared to this game that came two days after both wrapped up road trips.
"The way I look at it was this was just the first half because we play them again Sunday," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Let's see if we can knock down some 3s and play better on Sunday. I think it probably will be a better game for both teams. We'll be rested."
The game was tight as could be for most of the night with the lead never getting bigger than four points for either team for a span of more than 22 minutes starting midway through the first half.
The Bears overcame their poor shooting with relentless rebounding, using 21 offensive boards to score 22 second-chance points. But that wasn't enough to pull away because of another spectacular night from Ogwumike, who scored on jumpers, drives and putbacks to get the Cardinal close.
Stanford finally started to pull away with six straight points just past the midway point of the second half with Joslyn Tinkle getting out in transition for an easy layup that gave the Cardinal a 52-46 lead with 6 minutes left.
Ogwumike then came up with the biggest play of the night after a held ball gave the Cardinal the ball at halfcourt with 2 seconds on the shot clock. Tinkle threw up the inbound pass off the backboard and Ogwumike converted the layup as the shot-clock expired. She drew a foul on the play but missed the free throw, keeping the lead at eight points.
"There was a short shot clock," Ogwumike said. "I told Joslyn just throw it up there and I'll try to get it. I tried to get it. We had 2 seconds to put it up. Luck of the Irish, I guess."
That was too much for Cal to overcome and the Bears lost for the 23rd time in the past 26 home games against Stanford.
"When we got down six, we got a little bit rattled and they broke it open from there," Clarendon said. "You can't do that against a team like that."
Cal had the edge early and used an 8-2 run midway through the first half to take a six-point lead that was the biggest of the night for either team until the final 5 minutes.
But Ogwumike kept the Cardinal close with 14 points in the first half. Cal took a 31-29 lead at the break after Brittany Boyd stole the ball from Orrange just past halfcourt and converted a layup just before the buzzer.