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,
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
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
“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
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
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.