February 19, 2018

Not what we had hoped for

With only five players scoring, the Stanford women's basketball team couldn't overcome Cal's more balanced attack and lost 66-78 at Cal in the second round of the Battle of the Bay on Feb. 17.

Three starters shouldered most of the scoring load, 87.8 percent. Senior guard Brittany McPhee contributed 24 points in 38 minutes followed by junior forward Alanna Smith with 20 in 35 minutes and freshman guard Kiana William with 14 in 31 minutes.

The fourth starter who scored was senior forward Kaylee Johnson, who had six points in 31 minutes. The only bench player to score was sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington: two points in 17 minutes. Four other bench players got into the game but were scoreless.

Starting junior guard Marta Sniezek reverted to her reluctance to go to the basket and missed her only attempt in 31 minutes. She also missed both free throw attempts.

All eight Cal players to see action scored, cheered by the loudly partisan crowed of 4,211. Because they were scattered throughout Haas Pavilion, it was hard to guesstimate how many fans wore Cardinal red, perhaps 200. Fans also included the band (tucked into a corner), Dollies and Tree, but no cheerleaders.

Cal celebrates seniors

Because it was Cal's senior day, Kaylee and Britt received flowers before the game. So  did Cal's senior manager and its two senior players, Penina Davidson and Mikayla Cowling, who were joined at center court by their families. They were honored after the game, too, but most Stanford fans didn't stay.

In one especially moving pre-game gesture, the crowd was asked to stand for the national anthem of New Zealand, Penina's home country. As they stood at attention, her teammates on either side placed their hands on her shoulders as she sang along with the anthem.

The U.S. national anthem followed, well played by the Westlake Middle School band.

Most rebounds go to Cal

Stanford's stat line wasn't pretty. Besides the final score, perhaps the most glaring disparity came in rebounds, 47 by Cal and 32 by Stanford. Kaylee had the most with nine.

The Cardinal made five of 27 three's, or 18.5 percent. Alanna had three. Kiana and Britt each had one. Cal had seven of 20, or 35 percent, some coming as daggers in the game's final minutes.

Cal made 13 of 18 free throws, or 72.2 percent -- several when Stanford was deliberately fouling to regain possession toward the end. Stanford had 11 of 18 free throws, or 61.1 percent.

Otherwise, Stanford had 14 turnovers, Cal 16. Stanford had seven blocks to Cal's four. A painful turnover came in the final seconds of the first quarter. Britt was holding the ball for a last shot when a Bear player took it right out of her hands.

Cal led nearly all the way, coming out on top 21-16 after the first quarter, 36-34 at the half and 59-48 after the third quarter. Stanford led briefly during the first quarter and tied the game or came close several times but couldn't muster enough offense to win.

Thirteen Cardinal players were available. Sophomore guard Anna Wilson was in street clothes and wearing a boot.

Lion dancers honor Chinese New Year

In honor of Chinese New Year, the Cal VSA Lion Dance Team provided halftime entertainment. Three colorful lions propelled by two people each challenged each other as two percussionists provided sound effects.

It's uncertain how this loss to an unranked team will eventually affect Stanford's seeding in the NCAA tournament, when the top 16 teams have a chance to host the first two rounds. It did drop Stanford to 16 from 14 in the weekly AP poll.

Pac-12 standings and seeding for the conference tournament will be affected by how the top four teams -- Stanford, UCLA and the Oregon schools -- fare in their final conference games.

Stanford will wrap up its conference schedule by visiting Washington at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and Washington State at 1 p.m. Feb. 25. Both games will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.

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