BERKELEY — And the streak goes on.
The No. 2 Stanford women’s basketball team extended its historic conference-winning streak to 75 games by whipping Cal 86-61 at Haas Pavilion on Sunday night in the highly anticipated Battle of the Bay rematch.
“This was probably our biggest Pac-12 [Conference] win,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
For seven minutes, the game lived up to its billing. Both teams flew up and down the court, trading baskets in front of an electric crowd frothing for an upset.
But the Cardinal (28-1, 18-0 Pac-12) sucked the air out of the building midway through the first by sinking three straight 3-point shots. First it was Bonnie Samuelson dialing from downtown to put Stanford ahead 18-11 with 12:14 left in the half. Toni Kokenis hit one on the next trip up the floor before Samuelson bookended the run with another trey.
By the end of the half, the Bears (22-8, 13-5) were looking down the barrel of a 19-point deficit.
“They have some of the best players in the country and they’re also incredibly well-coached. Period,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.
The question leading into any Stanford game is whether national Player of the Year candidate Nnemkadi Ogwumike and sister, Chiney Ogwumike, can be contained. Both had stellar performances — Nnemkadi had 22 points and nine rebounds, while Chiney put up 12 and 12 — but the supporting cast, Kokenis (23 points), forward Joslyn Tinkle (16 points) and Samuelson (3-for-3 from beyond the arc), were the difference makers.
“To give [Kokenis] 23 points and then Bonnie coming in and shooting the lights out of the ball, it makes it a little bit harder to stop Stanford,” Bears guard Eliza Pierre said.
But the Bears hurt themselves, too, by allowing 21 points off turnovers, while shooting 47.6 percent from the free-throw line (10-of-21) and 10 percent from beyond the arc (1-of-10).
“You can’t have these kind of mistakes and hope to compete with the No. 2 team in the country,” Gottlieb said.