Feb. 23, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. - In what may go down in history as one of the biggest and best Pac-10 games ever, No. 8 California fell to No. 7 Stanford, 60-58, Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion in Battle of the Bay Part 2. A Pac-10 women's basketball record crowd of 10,525 fans witnessed the game between the top two teams in the conference.
Cal began the day with a one-game lead over Stanford for first-place in the Pac-10. The Golden Bears fell to 23-4 overall and 14-2 in the Pac-10, while the Cardinal improved to 25-3 overall and are tied with the Bears at 14-2 in the conference. If both teams win both games at Washington State and Washington next weekend, they will share the regular-season Pac-10 crown. The Bears' previous best Pac-10 finish was third in 2006-07 and a tie for third in 1991-92.
Cal excelled in the post today, with juniors Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker each posting double-doubles. Hampton led all scorers with 19 points and added 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season, fourth consecutive and 24th of her career. Walker tallied 17 points and 14 rebounds to earn her Pac-10-leading 12th double-double of the season and 32nd of her career.
The game featured eight lead changes and seven ties and was decided in the final minutes. Cal trailed 53-52 with 5:47 left in the game before junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson hit two free throws and made a layup to give the Bears a 56-53 edge with 4:29 on the clock.
The Cardinal rattled off five unanswered points, capped by a steal and layup by Candice Wiggins, to put Stanford ahead, 58-56 with 2:48 to go in the game. Wiggins, who began the game as the Pac-10's leading scorer at 19.4 ppg, was held to only 13 points, but she scored the basket that put her team up for good and extended the Cardinal's lead to 60-56 with a jumper with 1:06 remaining in the contest. Wiggins also was 4-of-19 from the floor, as sophomore guard Natasha Vital, who had 10 points, played stellar defense on her.
Walker brought Cal to within 60-58 with 47 ticks on the clock. The Bears had several chances to tie the game but couldn't capitalize on the Cardinal missing three front ends of 1-and-1 foul shooting opportunities in the final minute of the game.
Stanford led 12-6 with 16:21 left in the first half by hitting four three-pointers. Hampton converted a jumper to ignite a 13-0 Cal run that put the Bears ahead, 19-13 with 9:47 left until halftime. Hampton had six points and Walker had four during that critical stretch.
Kayla Pedersen sank a three-pointer with 2:46 to go in the half to briefly give Stanford back the lead at 25-24. Walker then had one of her six offensive boards, was fouled and made both free throws to give Cal back the lead until Wiggins converted two free throws with three seconds left to send both teams into the locker room tied at 32-32.
Cal held a 39-36 lead with 16 minutes remaining in the game, courtesy of a jumper by Hampton and a layup by Walker.
A 10-0 spurt by Stanford, capped by a three-pointer by JJ Hones, gave the Cardinal a 46-39 edge with under 11 minutes to play. Hones and Jayne Appel led Stanford with 16 points, and Pedersen added 10 points.
The Cardinal was never able to extend its margin, as the Bears were energized by the historic crowd. With Stanford up 53-46 with 8:26 to go, Cal posted its own 10-0 run to grab a three-point lead.
Cal even had a chance to win the game with one second to play, but Gray-Lawson's three-pointer hit the front rim.
Behind Walker and Hampton's dominance on the boards, Cal held a 49-39 edge on the glass, but it wasn't enough to help the Bears extend their home winning streak to 17.
The Bears conclude the Pac-10 season at Washington State Friday, Feb. 29, and at Washington Sunday, March 2, at 1 p.m.