March 6, 2010
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 15 points in the final regular season home game of her carer as the California Golden Bears fell 63-48 to the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal. Freshman DeNesha Stallworth had the third double double of her career with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cardinal (28-1, 18-0 Pac-10) played without All-American center Jayne Appel, who was sidelined with a sprained right ankle that requires a walking boot after she got hurt in practice during the week. It's unclear how long she might be out.
Stanford missed Appel's presence in the paint and never looked in sync while winning a 19th straight game since the team's lone loss at top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 23.
Kayla Pedersen added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal, who already secured their 10th straight Pac-10 regular-season title and will be the top seed heading into next weekend's conference tournament in Los Angeles. Stanford is trying for a third straight trip to the Final Four.
Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 15 points in what might have been her final home game at Haas Pavilion for Cal (17-12, 11-7). The Golden Bears host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games March 20 and 22 but are not automatic locks to make the tournament. It will come down to the Pac-10 Conference tournament, which starts on Thursday, March 11 in Los Angeles.
Joslyn Tinkle's 3-pointer with 13:33 remaining was the first all game for Stanford after the Cardinal missed their initial eight attempts from long range. Neither team looked particularly sharp in this long-standing Bay Area rivalry.
Stanford has won 35 of the last 38 meetings with the Bears, including 79-58 at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 2.
Gray-Lawson and Ogwumike are the Pac-10's top two scorers, but Ogwumike ruled in this one. Ogwumike shot 10 for 15, while Gray-Lawson went 4 of 13. She received a rousing standing ovation when she left the game in the waning seconds. DeNesha Stallworth added 12 points and 13 boards for the Bears.
The Cardinal led 26-19 at the break. Stanford missed all six of its 3-point tries and shot 40 percent, to 25.8 percent by Cal - including 1 for 6 from long range. Stanford wound up 2 of 13 on 3-pointers to 1 of 9 by the Bears.
Cal had gone 11-3 in its previous 14 games after losing its first three Pac-10 games but now has dropped two in a row after the Bears had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 57-50 loss at Arizona State last Saturday.
Cal went 6 minutes, 11 seconds without scoring midway through the first half, while Stanford used a 10-0 run during that stretch but couldn't do enough to pull away.
The Cardinal began the game 2 for 8 with two turnovers in the opening four minutes.
It was also an emotional game for Cal's three graduating seniors, Alexis Gray-Lawson, Natasha Vital, and Lauren Greif. It might have been the last time any of them take the court at Haas Pavilion, capping three very successful careers.
"Lex, Lauren and Natasha, they have been here for so long and have done so much," said head coach Joanne Boyle after the game. "You want, with them playing one of their last games, for it to be different for them (to win their final game). With them, this program was built in that gym by them. They have done so much over the years."
Alexis Gray-Lawson, who earlier this week was named the 2010 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award winner (an honor given to the best guard in the country 5 foot 8 and under), was asked after the game to reflect about her senior day experience. She used the opportunity instead to explain one of the main reasons for her success over the years.
"I don't think people give enough credit to my teammates," she explained. "My teammates make me the way I am, my coaches make me the way I am. I don't think Coach Boyle gets enough credit for helping raise us. She has made me the woman I am and I am very appreciative of that. It was definitely something to take in when everyone including Stanford fans stood up to cheer for me (as she left the floor for possibly the final time)."
With the loss and USC's 62-52 victory over Arizona State, Cal finished the regular season in fourth place in the Pac-10 and earns a four-seed in the Pac-10 tournament. Cal will open the tournament by taking on the No. 5 seed Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday, March 12 at 11:00 a.m. at the Galen Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The winner of that game will advance to play the winner of the #1 vs #8/9 game (Stanford vs yet undetermined competitor) in the semifinals on Saturday, March 13 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the Pac-10 Tournament are available through the CalBears.com website.