By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Chiney Ogwumike could only do so much. Amber Orrange was helpful for a while and Toni Kokenis tried her hardest as well.
The lack of depth from Stanford's bench was the sore spot Sunday, as the fifth-ranked Cardinal dropped its first Pac-12 Conference contest in over four years, losing to visiting California, 67-55, and dropping into a third-place tie with the Golden Bears in the conference standings.
The Cardinal had its 81-game winning streak against conference opponents halted in the process.
The seventh-ranked Golden Bears (3-1, 13-2) exposed Stanford's one-dimensional offense and took advantage of their quickness against the Cardinal (3-1, 14-2) defense to put a claim on the Pac-12 title.
Stanford could not answer Cal's speed and athleticism, which created problems all over the court. Only Ogwumike and Orrange could match their level.
"They are aggressive and if there's one thing we're not is aggressive enough offensively, defensively and on the glass," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We didn't compete at their level."
UCLA, which visits Stanford for an 8 p.m. Pac-12 contest on Friday night, is also an athletic team and will cause the Cardinal match-up problems.
The Bruins and USC share first place in the Pac-12. Stanford and the Women of Troy meet Sunday at 4 p.m.
"It's intrinsic motivation," Ogwumike said. "If we decide individually to be motivated . . . it;s in our hands."
Ogwumike led Stanford with 18 points and nine rebounds. Orange scored all nine of her points in the first half. Kokenis finished with 12 points, Joslyn Tinkle scored her four points in the second half. Everybody else was shut down.
"It's hard any time you're down and trying to swing the momentum your way," Ogwumike said. "You just have to keep fighting."
That left VanDerveer trying to find some combination that worked. The Golden Bears had a surprising number of players contribute off the bench, while Stanford continues to search for consistent help.
"We need more help," VanDerveer said. "We need different people stepping up for us."
Cal clearly outworked the Cardinal in the first half, hustling to loose balls, creating scoring opportunities, getting to the foul line and dominating the boards.
"Nothing this year has come easy," Ogwumike said. "This is a character building year. We'll see whose willing to step up."
At one point Stanford had been whistled for nine fouls to Cal's four during the early going, an example of the Cardinal being a step behind.
The Golden Bears were leading 26-22 with just under four minutes remaining in the first half despite shooting a miserable .235 from the field. The reason? They took 15 more shots thanks to 14 offensive rebounds and 10 Stanford turnovers.
Cal had an 11-4 advantage on second-chance points and 8-3 on points off turnovers.
The fact Stanford was down just 39-31 at halftime was because of Ogwumike and Orrange, who combined for 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting.