No. 2 Stanford 63, California 48

Jayne Appel sat on the bench in a walking boot, sidelined by a

bum right ankle the Stanford star hopes heals in time for next

weekend’s Pac-10 tournament.

Until she returns, coach Tara VanDerveer is counting even more

on Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen. They delivered Saturday,

all right.

Ogwumike had 22 points and 14 rebounds and the second-ranked

Cardinal completed their first unbeaten run through the Pac-10

schedule since 2002 with a 63-48 victory over rival California.

The Cardinal (28-1, 18-0 Pac-10) struggled early playing without

the All-American center Appel, who came down wrong on her ankle

during a layup drill in practice Tuesday. Appel said she plans to

play in next weekend’s Pac-10 tournament.

“She will not be rushed. I’m going to have to be convinced

she’s really, really healthy,” VanDerveer said.

Stanford missed Appel’s presence in the paint and never looked

in sync while winning a 19th straight game since the team’s lone

loss at top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 23.

Pedersen added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal, who

already secured their 10th straight Pac-10 regular-season title and

will be the top seed heading into the conference tournament in Los

Angeles. Stanford is trying for a third straight trip to the Final

Four.

Appel had missed only one other regular-season game, the first

one of her freshman season. She had played in 138 straight games

since, the most by any female player at Stanford.

“When we were stretching we were talking about how we needed to

pick up the slack,” Pedersen said of her chat with Ogwumike. “We

always look to dominate any way we can.”

Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 15 points in what might have been her

final home game at Haas Pavilion for Cal (17-12, 11-7). The Golden

Bears host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games March 20

and 22, but they aren’t close to being a lock to receive a berth.

It will come down to the conference tournament. They open against

Arizona State.

“We’ve got to do something in the tournament, got to do

something in that to get to NCAAs,” coach Joanne Boyle said. “It

is what it is at this point. There’s no sugar coating it.”

Cal reached the NCAA regional semifinals last season for the

first time in Boyle’s fourth season. The Bears have been to the

NCAAs in all four of Boyle’s previous years in Berkeley.

“We’ve just got to get better on some things. Rebounding is big

for us. Me having one rebound is unacceptable,” Gray-Lawson said.

“Coach Boyle was talking downstairs we’ve never been in this

situation. For us, if you play hard and execute, great things

happen.”

Joslyn Tinkle’s 3-pointer with 13:33 remaining was the first all

game for Stanford after the Cardinal missed their initial eight

attempts from long range. Neither team looked particularly sharp in

this long-standing Bay Area rivalry.

Stanford has won 35 of the last 38 meetings with the Bears,

including 79-58 at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 2. Appel hated to sit

out the regular-season finale.

“It’s obviously disappointing. I don’t want to miss any

games,” she said. “I brought my uniform today. Most likely I was

not going to put it on. It’s a day-to-day thing. It wasn’t so

painful that I thought I had broken something.”

Gray-Lawson and Ogwumike are the Pac-10’s top two scorers, but

Ogwumike ruled in this one. Ogwumike shot 10 for 15, while

Gray-Lawson went 4 of 13. She received a rousing standing ovation

when she left the game in the waning seconds. DeNesha Stallworth

added 12 points and 13 boards for the Bears.

The Cardinal led 26-19 at the break after an underwhelming half

by both teams. Stanford missed all six of its 3-point tries and

shot 40 percent, to 25.8 percent by Cal – including 1 for 6 from

long range. Stanford wound up 2 of 13 on 3-pointers to 1 of 9 by

the Bears.

Cal had gone 11-3 in its previous 14 games after losing its

first three Pac-10 games but now has dropped two in a row after the

Bears had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 57-50 loss at

Arizona State last Saturday.

Cal went 6 minutes, 11 seconds without scoring midway through

the first half, while Stanford used a 10-0 run during that stretch

but couldn’t do enough to pull away.

The Cardinal began the game 2 for 8 with two turnovers in the

opening four minutes.

While Cal honored its seniors in a pregame ceremony, the Bears

even presented several Cardinal players with roses – including

redshirt juniors JJ Hones, Melanie Murphy and Michelle Harrison,

raising doubt they will return for a final season on The Farm.

VanDerveer said she expects two of the three to return, probably

Hones and Murphy.