Erica McCall took over in the second half and nearly led the 13th-ranked Stanford women's basketball team to its biggest victory of the season. The Cardinal will have to settle for second best a second straight year.
McCall scored 18 of her 22 points and grabbed five of her team-best six rebounds in the second half, helping Stanford overcome a 17-point deficit to take a lead, only to fall to visiting No. 9 Arizona State, 63-61, in overtime Sunday.
"Erica showed so much heart," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She gave us everything. We have never said to get the ball to Bird but this is you're going to see more of."
McCall was 11-of-14 from the field, attacking the basket with ruthless determination. She gave Stanford its final lead at 61-59 with 1:05 left in overtime, hitting a layup in stride after taking a picture-perfect bounce pass from freshman Marta Sniezek, who was in the game because Lili Thompson fouled out.
"We came out in the second half, executed and built energy," McCall said. "It came down to the wire. We played good defense. Brunner just made a tough shot."
That would be Arizona State junior Sophie Brunner, who scored the game's final four points, including the game winner at the buzzer.
"I'm proud of the fight and how we battled back, especially in the fourth quarter," VanDerveer said. "We needed to execute a little better at the end. Unfortunately we dug ourselves a hole."
The Sun Devils outrebounded Stanford (20-6, 10-4 Pac-12) by a 47-30 margin, including a 20-11 advantage on the offensive boards. Brunner, who had 12 total, grabbed six on the offensive end and that proved to be the biggest difference.
"We need to rebound better," VanDerveer said. "They are physical and we have to be more physical. I was disappointed with how we started, with the fouls and not being aggressive. We didn't do a good job on the O-boards."
Arizona State remained in a first-place tie with Oregon State and Stanford fell into fourth place, behind UCLA. The Cardinal still plays the Beavers, at home, but doesn't get a second chance at the Bruins.
"We have four losses with four games to play," VanDerveer said. "It's not inconceivable but it's not looking good. I still think this was a big step for us. There's not shame in losing to ASU. We can build on things."
Both Sniezek and Kailee Johnson continue to improve, and Sniezek made several big plays in overtime to keep the Cardinal close.
"Kailee's stuff is subtle," VanDerveer said. "She sets screens and plays defenses. Marta gave us a good game."
Karlie Samuelson added 14 points for Stanford, hitting a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in regulation that gave the Cardinal its first lead of the contest. She also connected on a 3-pointer that put Stanford early in the overtime.
The Cardinal went on a 13-2 run to open the final period and Bri Roberson hit two 3-pointers to pull Stanford to 53-52 with 1:32 remaining in regulation.
Lili Thompson had a steal with under a minute left but, following a timeout, Kelsey Moos stole the inbound pass, which led to the Sun Devils making one of two foul shots.
After Samuelson put Stanford ahead, Brunner missed a short jumper on the other end but grabbed her own rebound and was fouled. She made one of two free throws to tie it and Stanford missed a pair of short jumpers, forcing overtime.
Stanford was 3 for 13 from the field in the second quarter and was held to six points, as many as it scored in the second quarter of the game in Tempe, in which the Cardinal scored a program-worst 31 points.
Arizona State connected on three of its final four 3-pointers of the first half and opened a 38-25 halftime advantage.
Stanford travels to Colorado for a Friday night game on Friday.