In what appeared at halftime to be a game heading toward disaster for the No. 21 California Golden Bears (14-6, 6-3 Pac-12), the underdogs instead gave the No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball team (20-1, 9-0) its closest game in three weeks when it closed the lead to five points with about 20 seconds to play. The Cardinal came out on top in the end, beating its rivals 70-64.
Stanford went into the half with a comfortable 43-25 lead, capped off by a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by freshman Karlie Samuelson. Samuelson was the second-leading scorer for the Card with 14 points. Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike led all Cardinal scorers with 23 points and 12 rebounds, snagging her 16th double-double of the season. Junior guard Taylor Greenfield had 10 points to round off Stanford’s double-digit scoring performances.
For Cal, junior point guard Brittany Boyd led all scorers with 25 points and two steals, while senior guard Afure Jemerigbe tallied 18 points. It wasn’t enough, however, as Cal’s leading scorer Reshanda Gray (17.3 points per game) didn’t score a single point and didn’t even play half the game.
Cal struggled at the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second in shooting efficiency and transition defense. However, the Bears seemed to shake off the evident frustration and pull it together enough to outscore the Card in the second half 39-27.
Stanford will travel to Cal on Sunday to take on the Golden Bears in the second half of the Battle of the Bay doubleheader and will need to make the necessary adjustments to play consistently dominant basketball if it is to challenge Cal on the Bears’ home court. Tipoff at Haas Pavilion is set for 1 p.m.