Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bashing Bears in Berkeley

By Wally Mersereau

Lest I forget, the game ball for Wednesday’s come-from-behind Stanford win before 5,000 fans in Haas Pavilion goes to Brittany McPhee. Not for the most points or rebounds, but for bringing a spark from the bench that started Stanford’s comeback in the first half after getting down by 13 points. Brittany’s hustling and inspired play lifted the team from a depressing downward spiral.

Stanford had led by 7 points in the first half when it’s scoring ability began to fade as the Bears got hot. The Cardinal struggled to score and then went cold, stuck at 17 points. Then entered McPhee to score the last 6 Stanford points of the first half and cut the Cal lead from 13 to 9.

Tara took note of the freshman’s performance by starting her in the second half. Brittany scored only 3 in the second, but she continued to be everywhere on the court, ending with 9 points, 6 rebounds, a steal and a block in 23 minutes.

Once Brittany showed her teammates how to score they began to do better, tying the game with 11 minutes remaining and romping on to win by 12, 59 to 47.

Amber was high scorer with 19 points in 35 minutes along with 5 rebounds. Lili was close behind with 18 points in 40 minutes plus 7 rebounds. The Samuelsons did not bring their 3-point shooting skills to Berkeley. Bonnie made only one and Karlie none. Stanford did manage to make 4 of 15 threes to Cal’s 4 of 20. Cardinal free throw shooting was a decent 7 of 9 for 77.8% compared to the Bears’ 13 of 18 for 72.2%.

The Stanford defense was excellent in the second half as it outscored the Bears 36 to 15. Cal’s occasional pressing and trapping was sometimes effective, rattling Stanford that once failed to get the ball across the half-court line in time. The Cardinal eventually figured out how to deal with this.

Kaylee played for 23 minutes, recording 5 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Erica McCall was in for 15 minutes, did not score but had 6 rebounds and a block.

Stanford held Reshanda Gray to 9 points and 9 rebounds. Brittany Boyd had 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block and 6 assists to 2 turnovers. High scorers for the Bears were Jefflo with 14 points and Green with 10. Cal shot 27.3% from the floor to Stanford’s 45.3%. Stanford out-rebounded 43 to 27.

The Battle of the Bay moves to Maples on Sunday. Stanford needs to win its remaining three games to be able to get a piece of the Pac-12 title. Both Stanford and Cal will need to beat Oregon State for this to happen.