Sports

Five players reach double figures in Stanford's hoops win

 

Erica McCall has been thinking about Stanford's next game since she found out about it. The Bakersfield native has more than a passing interest in it. There are household bragging rights at stake.

McCall and Alanna Smith each scored 12 points and Kaylee Johnson recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds as the 15th-ranked Cardinal women's basketball team downed visiting Cornell, 93-38, in a nonconference game Saturday.


Kiran Lakhain
Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson each added 11 points for Stanford (8-2), which won its fifth in six games.

On Tuesday afternoon, McCall will be playing against her single biggest influence when Cal State Bakersfield visits for a 2 p.m. contest. The Roadrunners (2-10) are coached by her father, Greg McCall.

"It's been in the back of my head the last couple months," McCall said. "He's pretty excited about it. It's important to him. He's basically coached me my whole life."

Her father coached her through high school and helped her through the recruiting process. He's always around when she needs him and they speak often. He can explain things in a way she easily understands.

They last spoke Friday night and that was after McCall ran into the Cal State Bakersfield wrestling team at a local eatery following the Roadrunners Pac-12 win over Stanford on Thursday.

"They told me to tell my dad they chopped down the tree," McCall said. "It's up to us to get that ax back from them."

Stanford waited for Tuesday's game to honor McCall for helping the United States win the gold medal at last summer's World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. Her father will make the presentation during a brief pre-game ceremony.

The Roadrunners, who ended an eight-game losing streak with a 57-52 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday, also feature a former high school rival of McCall's in senior Alyssa Shannon.

"Her team always beat my team," McCall said. "If we're lucky enough to get the win, I'll finally have some bragging rights."

McCall talks proudly of her dad's team and is an avid fan. That will change Tuesday.

"He's playing four Pac-12 teams and he played South Carolina," McCall said. "I'm proud of the team for the way they played. I'll root for them the rest of the season. This game, this one is ours."

Stanford goes to Bakersfield next year.

"They are a scrappy team," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I know there will be some bragging rights in Bakersfield on the line for Bird and her dad."

Stanford raced to a big lead against Cornell and was never threatened. No one played more than 19 minutes as 12 different players scored and 14 different players grabbed at least one rebound.

Johnson responded to being taken out of the starting lineup last week with another strong game. In addition to recording her first double-double of the year (and the sixth of her career), she matched for season high for points and blocked shots (3), and set a career high for assists (3).

"At her best, she's super aggressive and super focused," VanDerveer said. "She's a warrior. We need her to play a lot of minutes."

Johnson produced 10 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes in Wednesday night's victory over No. 14 Tennessee.

"I was definitely struggling," Johnson said. "I'm not sure what was going on. I just had to work hard in practice and stick with it. I want to keep my focus, keep improving and crash the boards hard."

Johnson has recorded double figures in rebounding in 21 of her 41 career games.

Samuelson made all three 3-pointers she attempted and walk-on Kiran Lakhian nailed 3-of-4 from long range and more than doubled her career points production. She scored for the first time since Nov. 30, 2012.

Lakhain played her freshman season but was out of competitive basketball the past two years. She tried playing recreation ball but it wasn't the same. She continued playing in pick-up games with Stanford players and returned to action this season.

"You're going against the best in practice every day," Lakhain said. "Day to day is always competitive."

Lakhain, Briana Roberson and Brittany McPhee each added nine points and combined to shoot 53 percent from the field, grabbing six rebounds and recording four assists.

"Kiran works hard at practice and deserves some time," VanDerveer said. "We're not surprised. She makes those shots all day long at practice."

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