Sports

'Bird' soars to new heights in Stanford's win over Wildcats

 

Erica McCall scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds and the 13th-ranked Stanford women's basketball team ran away from visiting Arizona, 77-47, in a Pac-12 Conference game on Friday night.

Bonnie Samuelson added 14 points as the Cardinal (5-0, 13-4) won its seventh straight to set up an earl-season showdown with visiting No. 14 Arizona State (5-0, 16-1). The Sun Devils took care of host Cal, 67-52.

Brian Roberson, Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson each added 12 points for Stanford, which led from start to finish.

Roberson was 4 of 4 from the foul line and has made her last 18 in a row, dating to 3:37 of the first half against Prairie View.

She's tied with Bonnie Samuelson, who made her first 20 free throws, for the team lead. Both players are 35 of 39 for a .897 success rate.

Brittany McPhee, who made her lone foul shot, is shooting free throws at a .833 (20 for 24) clip. As a team, the Cardinal is at .698.

The Cardinal opened a double-digit lead less than six minutes into the contest on a jumper from Amber Orrange and the Wildcats never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

After Arizona scored the first points of the second half, Stanford went on a 14-0 run and the rest was history.

McCall had her best game yet. She was 6 of 8 from the floor and blocked three shots. She began wearing glasses last week and it appears to have helped.

"They gave me a sense of confidence," said McCall, who wears glasses off the court and has trouble with contact lens. "It was nice to see better."

McCall, given the nickname 'Bird' by Chiney Ogwumike last year, originally experimented with the glasses during the summer.

"I wasn't loving them," she said. "Then, two games ago, I just started wearing them again."

McCall said her family and team were consistently supportive when she got down on herself and that helped.

"My family kept telling me to keep the faith," McCall said. "I got a text message from one of the coaches that said 'I believe in you.' It was an exciting game and I can't wait to call my family and thank them for all the support."

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer saw this kind of performance coming.

"She had a great week of practice and she stepped up big for us inside," VanDerveer said. "I told her it has been my experience that if you practice well, you'll play well. She's ben concentrating and working hard."

McCall's ability to work for rebounds will come in handy when Arizona State visits on Monday afternoon. She and Kaylee Johnson, who had a season-low two rebounds in 10 minutes, are the only players who have reached double figures in rebounding this season.

"They are playing really well," VanDerveer said of the Sun Devils. "You have to take care of the ball against them. They play aggressive defensively and you have to be able to run your offense and you have to rebound."

Roberson matched her career-high for points and rebounds (3) and set career bests in assists (5) and minutes played (28).

"We were able to rest some people and other people gained valuable experience," VanDerveer said. "We can build on what we did."

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