February 21, 2015

Sparking the comeback over Cal

Things didn’t look so good for the Stanford women’s basketball team as it faced a 17-28 deficit with 3:56 to go in the first half against Cal at Haas Pavilion on Feb. 18.

That’s when head coach Tara VanDerveer sent in freshman guard Brittany McPhee. She immediately scored 6 points to cut the deficit to 23-32 when the halftime buzzer sounded.

And that was just the start of a Stanford rally that didn’t just lead to a 59-47 victory. The second half saw defensive and offensive efforts that led to no field goals for Cal during the final 12:59 of the game, leaving Cal with a shooting average of 11.1 percent in the half and 27.3 percent for the game. Only free throws added to Cal’s score as the Bears made a total 13 of 18 for the game, or 72.2 percent.

Meantime, Stanford made seven of nine free throws, or 77.8 percent. The Cardinal shot 48.3 percent in the second half and 45.3 percent for the game.

Brittany wound up playing 22 minutes and scored 9 points to go with six rebounds, one block and one steal, the result of hustle on both ends of the court.

Amber pours in 19 points

Senior guard Amber Orrange had a game-high 19 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and one steal in 35 minutes.

Right behind her was sophomore guard Lili Thompson, who had 18 points plus seven rebounds and two assists in just under 40 minutes.

Freshman forward Kaylee Johnson led the team with eight rebounds. She also recorded 5 points, two blocks and a steal in 23 minutes.

Senior forward Bonnie Samuelson, who had lit up Maples with eight 3’s against UCLA in the previous game, had just one plus a basket and free throw for 6 points, but she also had six rebounds, one assist and one steal in 39 minutes. Lili with two and Amber with one accounted for the other 3’s.

Stanford out-rebounds Cal

As a team, the Cardinal out-rebounded Cal 43-27. However, Stanford had 18 turnovers compared with Cal’s 10. The refs called 15 fouls against Stanford and 12 against Cal.

The game had started with Stanford pulling ahead, but Cal began encroaching on the lead, tying the game at 17-17 with just under seven minutes to go in the first half and surging ahead after that.

In her Stories of the Season on this Fast Break Club website, Marian Cortesi has posted a graph that visually reflects the changes in scoring momentum throughout the game.

Starters for the game were Kaylee, Bonnie, Lili, Amber and sophomore guard Karlie Samuelson. All 15 players were available, and 10 got into the game. Cal used only seven players.

Official attendance was 5,039, mostly Cal fans with a few enclaves of red-clad Stanford boosters concentrated mostly behind and across from the Stanford bench. With the loud music, loud band and loud fans, earplugs are definitely in order at Haas.

The Stanford band was late in arriving, filling an upper corner about five minutes after the game started. The Tree cavorted next to the Stanford bench, but the Dollies were stationed at the far end of the court near the Cal basket.

Stanford moves up in Pac-12 standings

The win temporarily moved Stanford into second place in the Pac-12 conference, while Cal dropped to fourth behind Arizona State. Oregon State remained on top.

Cal and Stanford will go at it again in the second round of the Battle of the Bay at 1 p.m. Feb. 22. Fans are urged to wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Because it’s the last regular home game of the season, it’s also Senior Day for Amber, Bonnie, forwards Taylor Greenfield and Erica Payne, and guards Jasmine Camp and Alex Green. They’ll be honored during a Behind the Bench after the game.

There’s a chance that Stanford could host the two first rounds of the NCAA tournament, provided it receives a four seed or higher.

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