By Asia Zhang
Suffering just one non-conference defeat for the first time in five years after breaking their record 11-game winning streak in a close game (68-75) against the No. 14 Utah Utes (18-1, Pac-12 7-1) last Sunday, No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (17-2, 7-1) looks for the re-ignition of the fiery Cardinal spirit against California (13-6, 4-4) this Thursday at Berkeley at 8 p.m.
With a 17-2 season record, Stanford has been off to its best start since the 2013-14 season (22-1) that saw the Cardinal produce an impressive 20-game winning streak, the longest since their 28-game streak from between Jan. 2013 and Nov. 2014.
With a 69-20 all-time record against Cal, Stanford looks for redemption after losing to the Golden Bears last February, ending the Cardinal’s eight-game winning streak against Berkeley. Stanford has won 19 of the last 22 games in the series.
Hungry for fresh meat after laying carnage on Colorado last Sunday (80-60), the Golden Bears earned their first Pac-12 road win of the season with a season high of 11 made three-pointers, including a streak of eight in a row spanning the second and third quarters.
Cal performed phenomenally with four players scoring in the double digits, led by senior Kristine Anigwe and her 16 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Asha Thomas also added 15 points for the Bears, going 3-3 from beyond the arc and 5-7 from the floor. Sophomore Kianna Smith matched her career high, sinking four triple buckets on five attempts. Junior Jaelyn Brown contributed 14 points and two steals. Finally, grad transfer Recee Caldwell rounded out Cal’s three-point leaders, shooting 3-4 from beyond the arc.
The Cardinal are coming off of a tough lost to Utah on Sunday. Stanford opened the door for the Utes to lead by 17-2 after the Cardinal women missed 11 of their first 12 shots to start the game. Utah junior Kiana Moore topped the run off with a triple with 1:06 left in the quarter.
The Cardinal showed their prowess in the second quarter with senior Alanna Smith and junior DiJonai Carrington pioneering a 15-6 run to give the Cardinal a 29-26 lead. Stanford scored on seven of eight possessions. In the fourth quarter, however, Utah’s Erika Bean stalked up the score with back-to-back layups, fueling an 11-0 run that put Utah ahead, 58-50. The Cardinal then proceeded to go four minutes scoreless, missing seven consecutive shots.
Free throws from Lexie Hull tied up the game for the final time at 68 with 2:04 remaining. In spite of this effort, Bean, scoring a whopping total of 23 points, drained a three-pointer, ultimately bringing Utah to 75-68 over Stanford.
Hosting Stanford at 8 p.m. on Thursday night in the highly anticipated “Battle of the Bay,” the Cal Bears and Cardinal will play twice in a three-day span, beginning with Thursday’s matchup at Haas Pavilion before returning to Maples Pavilion on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Contact Asia Zhang at asiaz ‘at’ stanford.edu.