No. 11 California Sneaks Past No. 9 Stanford, 57-54
Jan. 18, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -Alexis Gray-Lawson scored a career-high 37 points, converting two free throws with 1:09 to play that put her team ahead for good and scoring again with 21 seconds left to lift No. 11 California to a thrilling 57-54 victory over archrival and ninth-ranked Stanford on Sunday.
The Golden Bears (14-2, 5-0 Pac-10) won their sixth straight and beat the Cardinal in Berkeley for the first time since a 64-59 victory on Dec. 12, 1993, and the first time overall since a win Feb. 4, 2007, on Stanford's home floor to snap a 14-game skid in the series.
Stanford's Kayla Pedersen and Jillian Harmon each missed 3-pointers to tie it in the waning seconds.
Jayne Appel had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists playing all game in foul trouble for the Cardinal (13-4, 4-1), who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
The Bears rushed to the middle of the court to celebrate after the final buzzer sounded and the arena went crazy. It was a raucous environment for the nationally televised game at Haas Pavilion, where 10,126 fans came out for the first edition of the season series. The teams meet again Feb. 14 at Stanford. Last year's meeting in Berkeley drew a crowd of 10,525, the largest ever to see a Pac-10 conference game.
With Cal trailing 52-49 with 2:56 left, Gray-Lawson was fouled on a 3-point try and converted two of the three free throws that followed. Devanei Hampton made two free throws with 2:19 left to put Cal ahead 53-52 and then blocked a shot by Jayne Appel on the other end. But Stanford got the ball back and Appel scored over Hampton with 1:26 to play.
After Gray-Lawson's two free throws at 1:09, Ashley Walker blocked a shot by Harmon at the 46.1 mark and Gray-Lawson scored on the other end.
Gray-Lawson scored 12 of her points in the first 6 1/2 minutes and shot 12-for-20 with five 3-pointers in 40 minutes.
Walker, the Pac-10 scoring leader at 21.6 points per game coming in, faced double-teams most times she touched the ball and didn't attempt her first shot until scoring on a drive at the 11:27 mark of the first half. She finished with only five points to go with seven rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks.
Walker hit the floor hard with 12:24 to play after falling backward trying to draw a charge against Appel. She was down for several minutes under Stanford's hoop before being helped to the sideline with a cramp in her right calf. She returned with about 8 minutes left. Moments later, a male fan sitting courtside got thrown out for screaming at the officials with a police escort taking him away.
Pedersen added 14 points and eight rebounds for Stanford, which didn't lead for the first time until going ahead 30-29 on Appel's free throw 1:34 into the second half.
Stanford, the eight-time defending Pac-10 regular-season champion favored to win again ahead of the Bears, held a 37-31 rebounding advantage but shot 5-for-20 from 3-point range and 36.7 percent overall.
This marked the first time the teams had met while still unbeaten in conference play aside from two times they faced off to begin the Pac-10 schedule.
The Cardinal were coming off a pair of 100-point games last weekend at home, including a 112-35 victory over Washington on Jan. 8 that was a school and Pac-10 record for margin of victory. Stanford followed that with a 102-53 win over Washington State two days later.
But Stanford hardly looked in sync in the first half and began the game 8-for-27, missing seven of its first 10 3-point tries. Cal didn't shoot much better at 38.5 percent after missing its final five shots of the first half, but still led 29-26 at the break.
The Cardinal captured all three meetings last season and had won 32 of the last 34 meetings dating to Jan. 21, 1994.