Cal can’t handle No. 2 Stanford in Pac-12 tourneyBy BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Mar 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES (AP)—California couldn’t solve the Ogwumike sisters, making the Golden Bears like every other Pac-12 team in recent years. Still, they’re headed to the same place as No. 2 Stanford—the NCAA tournament.
Layshia Clarendon scored 20 points and freshman Brittany Boyd added 13 in a 77-62 loss for the senior-less Bears (24-9) in just their second appearance in the Pac-12 tournament final on Saturday.
They were the only team to force overtime against Stanford in the regular season, but couldn’t get untracked against the dominance of Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike in the Battle of the Bay south edition. The sisters both had double-doubles.
“It’s not the end for us,” freshman Reshanda Gray said. “We’ve still got the dance. We’re going to go dancing, so we’ve just got to finish strong.”
Gray was called for a flagrant foul on Chiney moments into the game.
“Gray always likes to get in deep position, and she had her hands and she was trying to post up,” Chiney said. “I think she just kind of confused my face for my arm or something. But just got a few elbows to the face in different places, but it happens.”
Stanford opened both halves with big runs, and Cal spent the rest of the game playing catch-up.
“They made a lot of shots early,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We talked about getting stops because I thought when we could get stops, we could play the way we wanted to play. But we just didn’t get enough stops early.”
Ogwumike scored 29 points, including her first 3-pointers of the season and her younger sister Chiney Ogwumike added 17 as Stanford (31-1) won its school-record 28th straight game.
Cal tried a full press, but it had little effect, with Nnemkadi racing through it for a layup that made it 64-48.
Stanford had a 13-4 run to open the second half that stretched its lead to 15 points.
“Any time you put yourself in a hole, it’s hard to dig yourself out,” Clarendon said. “Even if you play even, you’ve already put yourself down. So that was a tough start.”
The Bears were quickly looking ahead to where they’ll land in the NCAAs.
“If we bring this type of intensity and focus against whoever we’re matched up with, I think we can do some special things because Stanford poses problems for us that we have to deal with that makes us better,” Gottlieb said.
“I absolutely feel like the way we competed today should make us even more dangerous in that tournament next weekend than we were coming into this.”
Stanford raced out to a 13-point lead at the start of the game before Boyd hit three 3-pointers that helped the Bears cut their deficit to four points. From there, Stanford narrowly outscored the Bears to end the half ahead 37-31.