Facing Cal for the second time in just four days, the Stanford women’s basketball team had an easier time securing a victory on Feb. 2.
Unlike the Jan. 30 game, when the Cardinal almost blew a 30-point lead at home before eking out a 70-64 win, this time Stanford left Berkeley with a 79-64 victory on its resume. Cal scored the same number of points each time, but Stanford widened the margin to 15 points rather than just 6.
One difference is that the officials in the second game were quicker to blow their whistles. Cal drew those whistles 27 times, compared with Stanford’s 16.
During the first half, for example, Stanford didn’t have its first foul until the 8:38 mark, at which point Cal already had seven. When the whistle finally sounded against Stanford, the Cal crowd cheered.
Team makes 80 percent of free throws
Then at the free throw line, Stanford was 24 for 30, or 80 percent. Cal was only 12 for 21, or 57.1 percent. This 12-point difference went a long way toward clinching the win for Stanford. The 24 FTs were a season high.
Freshman guard Karlie Samuelson was 7-for-7 at the charity stripe. She made six FTs as time began to run out and Cal deliberately fouled her. Overall, Karlie was the team’s second-highest scorer with 16 points. She also contributed two rebounds, one assist and one steal in her 31 minutes.
To no one’s surprise, senior forward Chiney Ogwumike paced the team with 29 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 38 minutes. Her performance in the two Cal games led to her being named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the seventh time this season.
Mikaela pulls in 11 rebounds
Redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef contributed team highs in rebounds with 11 and in assists with five in just under 40 minutes, a career high. It was the 12th time this season that she was in double figures for rebounds. It was her third straight game with at least 10 rebounds and her fourth over the last five. She came close to a double-double with 9 points.
Also scoring double figures was junior point guard Amber Orrange with 13. She had five rebounds, three assists and one steal in 38 minutes.
Overall, Stanford shot 55.3 percent to Cal’s 37.7 percent. The Cardinal led Cal in rebounds, 33-30; assists, 17-10; and blocks, 3-0.
Stanford had 10 turnovers to Cal’s 11, but scored 14 points off turnovers, while Cal managed only 8. Cal had five steals to Stanford’s two.
Cal had six 3-pointers, while Stanford had three – one each by Karlie, freshman guard Lili Thompson and junior forward Bonnie Samuelson.
The game stayed fairly close in the early minutes as the lead went back and forth, but Stanford gradually moved ahead to stay.
Head coach Tara VanDerveer deployed 12 of the 15 available players, but four played for only the final two minutes or less. Medically retired senior guard Toni Kokenis joined her teammates on the cross-bay trip.
Kids get in free
Haas Pavilion was loud with a reported attendance of 5,715. Stanford fans were concentrated behind and near the bench but were scattered throughout the venue.
Because anyone in 12th grade or younger got in free, the crowd included a sizable number of youngsters, many of them waving yellow tube balloons.
Adding volume were both the Cal band, which marched in playing the fight song before the game, and the Stanford band, which was perched in an upper corner. The Dollies and Tree were there, too.
The win upped Stanford’s season record to 21-1 and its Pac-12 record to 10-0 to sit firmly atop the conference. The win helped boost Stanford’s national ranking to No. 3 from No. 4.
Also worth noting for the day is that the Bay Area reveled in its first rain in a long time. It wasn’t much, but it was welcome as California confronts a serious drought.
Moreover, the game was over in time for people to watch the Seattle Seahawks blow out the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl.
Stanford heads north to play Washington State at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 and Washington at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 9.