Sometimes, a team just has to win ugly.
Karlie Samuelson scored 15 points, Erica McCall recorded her 13th double-double of the season and No. 15 Stanford survived an excruciating exhibition of women's basketball, beating visiting California, 53-46, on a night when both teams combined to shoot 31.4 percent.
Stanford and California first took to the court for an intercollegiate game 120 years ago this April. The Cardinal won that contest, 2-1.
Tuesday night's game, the third in five days for both teams, may have been just as exciting.
"It wasn't pretty but it was gritty," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We were offensively challenged, but the defense stepped up and came through for us. This is one of the most-committed defensive teams we've had."
Stanford (18-5, 8-3 Pac-12) entered the game ranked second in the nation in field goal percentage defense and held the Golden Bears (11-11, 2-9) to their lowest shooting percentage of the season (28.6).
The teams play again Friday at Cal, with a scheduled 7 p.m. tip-off.
"If we played on Mars Friday I think we would shoot better than 28.6 percent," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "When you hold them to 53 it should be enough to win us the game. We should be able to score 54."
It was Cal's lowest point total since netting 39 at Kansas almost two years ago. Stanford scored its fewest points in a win on the season.
"It was not one of the prettiest Battle of the Bay games," Gottlieb said. "It won't go down in anyone's Hall of Fame."
McCall, who scored 13 points and had 13 rebounds, recorded the fifth double-double in her past eight games. Kaylee Johnson grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and has 48 over her past three games.
Lili Thompson scored six of her 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Cardinal went 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line during the period. The Bears were held to 2-of-11 from the field and 8-of-13 from the free-throw line during the same span.
"It's frustrating when you're making unforced errors, throwing the ball away," said Samuelson, who also added six boards and team highs in assists (4) and steals (2). "We need to start off more aggressive and we need to take the open shots we get."
Cal led early as the Cardinal made just two of its first 17 shots before stabilizing things and taking a 25-24 advantage into halftime thanks to a Briana Roberson 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining to play in the second quarter.
"At halftime we talked about how that's as bad as we can play and we're still ahead," VanDerveer said. "Plays were there, shots were there, drives were there. You don't pass up a good shot to take a bad shot."