Cardinal Romp in Battle of Top 10s
Jan. 26, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- The most-hyped women's basketball game ever between California and Stanford played out the same way as most of the previous meetings between the Bay Area rivals: a Cardinal blowout.
Candice Wiggins scored 28 points, JJ Hones made a career-high four 3-pointers and seventh-ranked Stanford showed it won't give up its seven-year reign as Pac-10 champions easily, beating No. 8/8 California 72-52 Saturday.
The Golden Bears (17-3, 8-1 Pac-10) came into the contest with a two-game conference lead and a chance to seize control of the race at the midway point of the season. Instead, the Cardinal (17-3, 7-2) avenged a home loss to Cal from a year ago and gave themselves a chance to win an eighth straight regular season conference title.
Cal appeared overwhelmed by the big stage surrounding this game, struggling to find any rhythm offensively and proving once again to be no match for Stanford. The Cardinal have won 15 of 16 games in the rivalry, only losing at home last year. Most of the games have been lopsided like this one was. The only difference was this year's meeting was supposed to be close.
With a talented junior class led by reigning conference Player of the Year Devanei Hampton, Ashley Walker and Alexis Gray-Lawson, Cal had reached its highest ranking ever in the AP poll by winning its last nine games.
But Stanford took control from the start, building an 18-point first-half lead and coasting to the finish. The Bears scored the first eight points of the second half, getting a pair of 3-pointers by Gray-Lawson, to cut Stanford's lead to eight. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Hones and Wiggins sparked a 10-2 run that put the Cardinal back up by 16. The lead never got below 10 again.
Jayne Appel had a strong all-around game for Stanford, with nine points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and strong post defense against Hampton. Cal's star center finished with three points on 1-for-8 shooting.
Hones, who tore ligaments in her left knee in last year's loss to Cal, finished with 12 points. Freshman Kayla Pedersen added 11 as Stanford won its fourth game this season against a Top 10 team.
Wiggins struggled from the field, shooting 6-for-15, but made all 14 of her free throws as she was continually able to draw fouls on her drives to the basket. Wiggins now has 2,204 career points, 11 away from tying Kate Starbird's school record of 2,215.
Gray-Lawson, who missed last year's win at Maples Pavilion with a knee injury, and Rama N'diaye led Cal with 12 points apiece. Walker added 10.
Cal missed a chance to win consecutive games against its biggest rival for the first time since winning eight straight meetings from 1981-86. Tara VanDerveer arrived at Stanford in 1986 and the rivalry has been decidedly one-sided ever since. The Cardinal have won 30 of the past 32 meetings, with 26 of the victories coming by double-digits.
The Bears shot just 6-for-27 in the opening half as their dynamic inside duo of Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker combined to miss 10 of their 12 shots against Stanford's stout defense. Cal coach Joanne Boyle frequently urged her players to push the tempo to try to create some easy baskets, but nothing was working for the Bears.
Stanford went more than 7 minutes without a field goal at one stretch, but maintained a six-point lead because of the ability to get to the foul line and Cal's poor shooting.
A 3-pointer by Hones sparked a 13-2 run late in the half that gave Stanford an 18-point lead. Wiggins ended the spurt with a fastbreak layup and a pair of free throws. The Cardinal went into the break with a 32-16 lead.