Alanna Smith leads No. 10 Stanford women past Cal, 72-54
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Alanna Smith has had a pretty good week.
Three days after scoring a career-high 27 points in No. 10 Stanford’s victory over California in Berkley, the Australian sophomore had 17 points and eight rebounds to help the Cardinal beat the Bears 72-54 on Sunday.
”She does a good job whether she scores or not,” Cardinal teammate Karlie Samuelson said. ”But when she scores, he likes to score and she likes to keep scoring.”
This time around she was the team leader in points and rebounds.
”She was a key to the series,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. ”I heard a ton about her. But if you focus on one or two, you can get burned by three or four. She hurt us more on the block and around the basket today.”
Brittany McPhee added 16 points for the Cardinal (24-4, 14-2 Pac-12). They have won 11 of their last 12 heading into a Friday night showdown at Oregon State.
Samuelson added 11 points to help Stanford beat Cal for the fifth straight time.
”She stays with it even if she misses a couple,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said about Samuelson. ”She knows the team depends on her. All the seniors set a great example. They all give us great things.”
Kristine Anigwe scored 12 points to lead the Bears (17-11, 5-11), and Mikayla Cowling added 10. Cal has lost four in a row since sweeping Southern California and UCLA.
The game was close until late in the third quarter. Stanford’s largest lead until then was seven.
Samuelson hit two consecutive 3-pointers late in the third quarter to give the Cardinal a 54-42 advantage. Cowling hit a short jumper to bring Cal within 10 heading into the final period.
”They went on a couple of runs we couldn’t answer,” Gottlieb said.
Stanford outscored the Bears 7-2 over the final three minutes of the first half to take a 37-32 lead into the intermission.
SENIOR DAY SHOWCASE
Stanford seniors Samuelson, Erica McCall and Briana Roberson were honored after the game.
”It’s surreal to play with this team,” Roberson said. ”When things get tough, people will be there to hype you up. There’s always somebody to talk to.”
McCall will leave Stanford among the all-time leaders in points, rebounds and blocked shots. Samuelson will leave as one of the top 3-pointer shooters. Roberson ”is one of the most underrated point guards and defender around,” VanDerveer said.
BEAR WITH IT
California brought a 17-0 record into conference play and has struggled ever since. The Bears do own a big win over UCLA and still feel like they have a chance to make the NCAA tournament.
”The last couple of weeks we’ve had the mindset that we have to get a couple more,” Gottlieb said. ”If we can get a couple, that will get us in. We’ll go up to Oregon like they’re tournament games. We have to get it done. We know we can play with anybody. We want to be the team that can beat those teams.”
California, despite its overall winning record, will finish somewhere between seventh and 12th and play a Thursday game at the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle. The Bears will need to win that game, and perhaps another, for a clear shot at an NCAA tournament bid.
Stanford cannot finish any worse than third no matter what else happens. By winning the regular-season title and doing well in the tournament, though, may earn the Cardinal one of the top seeds for the NCAA tournament.
California plays at Oregon on Friday night and Oregon State on Sunday to finish the regular season.
Stanford plays at Oregon State Friday night in a game that will likely determine the regular-season champion.