Sports

Cal ends Stanford's run of consecutive Pac-12 hoops titles

 

Brittany McPhee scored a career-high 24 points, but it went for naught as the No. 18 Stanford women's basketball team dropped a 63-53 decision to visiting California and was officially eliminated from title contention in the Pac-12 Conference.

Amber Orrange added 11 points for the Cardinal (12-4, 20-8), which plays at Oregon State on Thursday.

"We had a great effort from Brit and Amber but we were not as aggressive as we needed to be," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We turned the ball over too much. We're not going to win by turning the ball over that way."

VanDerveer said McPhee likely earned herself a start.

"She backed it up," VanDerveer said. "She was not a one-game wonder. I like her energy. I like how hard she plays. I think we're just scratching the surface of how good she can be. It's exciting to see her development. I'd say she's earning a lot more playing time."

Orrange gave Stanford its final lead of the contest with a 3-pointer with 12:12 remaining to play. The game was tied at 45 following a lay-up from Orrange, but it was all California, which relied on an active zone defense to shorten the time clock, the rest of the way.

"They were focused on defense," VanDerveer said. "They have athletic kids. We did get some good looks but by them scoring, they kept their spirits up."

Stanford had its consecutive streak of regular-season titles end at 14. The Beavers, who have already clinched at least a share of the title, are up by three games with two to play.

"That's a good 15 years," VanDerveer said. "That was fun. We have to focus on the Pac-12 tournament. It's the only way to guarantee ourselves a spot in the NCAA tournament."

The Cardinal still clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming conference tournament in Seattle.

McPhee, who became the eighth different Cardinal to lead a game in scoring, entered play Sunday with more rebounds (18) than points (17) in conference action. She took care of that right away, looking more like the high school Player of the Year in Washington.

"I was trying to go as hard as I could," McPhee said. "It felt good."

Stanford suffered three home losses in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.

The Bears were ahead 18-9 with 12:39 remaining in the first half, but were then limited to nine points the rest of the half as Stanford stormed ahead thanks to McPhee's career day. She scored 15 of her points in the first half.

Erica McCall hit a lay-up with 17 seconds left to put the Cardinal ahead, 29-27, at the intermission.

Comments

1 person likes this
Posted by Chatham H. Forbes Sr.
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2015 at 6:48 pm

This was a close contest running down to trading the lead at the end. Then a succession of fouls, some deliberate, some puzzling (to be polite), stretched the lead for Cal. The Cal girls hit a lot of perimeter shots to establish their early lead. Stanford scored mainly with drives inside by McPhee and Orrange. Bonnie Samuelson was knocked out of the game taking a charge, later returned, but was guarded closely to prevent her getting loose for a barrage of three's. Taylor Greenfield, notably, played hard and effectively. Freshman Brittany McPhee was truly excellent, She has all the skills, moves, and drive to be Stanford's next big star. A genuinely exciting game to watch. Both ways, the Pac 12 should train game officials to call a contest more competently. Too often a block is called a foul, or a charge is called a blocking foul, and far too often legitimate footwork is called "steps," or steps are not called. Today, too many phantom steps were called.


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