STANFORD (CBS / AP) — Coach Tara VanDerveer had plenty to feel happy about after watching her Stanford team earn a gritty overtime win, in front of an energetic crowd against a big rival.
She also had one big gripe: No one outside of Maples Pavilion got the opportunity to see it.
Chiney Ogwumike scored three of her career-high 27 points in overtime and added a career-high 18 rebounds to help No. 4 Stanford wrap up a perfect first half of the Pac-12 season with a 74-71 victory over California on Saturday.
“The saddest thing for me is the fact it wasn’t on television,” VanDerveer said. “Here you have a packed house in Maples. We haven’t been on a Pac-12 broadcast yet. That would have been a great TV game to showcase the best players and the best teams. That’s the only thing I’ll say I’m not excited about.”
The lack of exposure for Pac-12 teams will come to an end next season when the conference launches its own network in part to show games like this.
But the crowd of 6,075 got plenty of excitement in person.
The Golden Bears (15-6, 6-3) scored the final nine points of regulation and came up with a key late stop to force overtime and then Stanford (18-1, 9-0) hung on in the extra session for the win.
“I told our players when I walked in the locker room that I’ve never been more happy to be their coach,” first-year Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “The only thing that could have made me happier was if they were jumping up and down and celebrating with a win.”
Toni Kokenis added 16 points, including two key free throws in overtime, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 12 to move past Val Whiting into fourth place on the all-time scoring list for the Cardinal despite shooting 6-for-18.
Her little sister, Chiney, made up for that off night to help Stanford win its 15th straight game to take a three-game lead over Cal and Arizona State at the midpoint of the conference season.
“This is something we’ll see in the tournament,” Nnemkadi Ogwumike said. “Teams can pick their poison but they’ll be poisoned by something else. I have faith in my teammates.”
Chiney Ogwumike scored a layup on Stanford’s opening possession of overtime and the Cardinal didn’t make another basket the rest of the way.
“The mindset was we have to throw the first punch,” she said. “We have to assert ourselves first.”
Cal missed eight of its nine field goal attempts in overtime, including two 3-pointers by Layshia Clarendon that could have tied it on the final possession.
“The first one felt good, it looked, good. It just grazed the front of the rim,” Clarendon said. “It hurts a little bit.”
Brittany Boyd scored a career-high 19 points and Clarendon added 17 to become the 22nd Cal player to reach the 1,000 milestone, finishing the day with 1,016.
Cal fell to 1-4 this season against ranked opponents, with the only win coming in Hawaii in November against former coach Joanne Boyle’s Virginia team. The losses have been by a combined nine points.
“We want to put ourselves in the company of the elite programs in the country,” Gottlieb said. “I think we’ve done that. Now we need that next step: knock down free throws when we need to, take advantage of what they’re giving us, get critical stops. That’s all part of the process.”
Stanford extended its home winning streak to 74 games and has won 66 in a row against Pac-12 opponents. Cal was the last team to snap either of those streaks, beating the Cardinal 72-57 at Maples Pavilion on Feb. 4, 2007, and 57-54 in Berkeley on Jan. 18, 2009. Those are two rare wins for the Bears in this series as they have lost 39 of the past 42 meetings.
The Bears fought back repeatedly in this game. They scored nine straight to cut the deficit to five points. But Chiney Ogwumike blocked Reshanda Gray at one end and Bonnie Samuelson hit two 3-pointers for Stanford to extend the lead to nine points.
Cal then rallied with Clarendon’s 3-pointer with 36.5 seconds left cutting Stanford’s lead to 69-67. After Taylor Greenfield missed a front-end of a one-on-one for Stanford, Clarendon hit two free throws to tie it with 27.6 seconds remaining.
Stanford had two chances to win it at the end of regulation by Nnemkadi Ogwumike missed a jumper and Kokenis’ tip attempt rolled off the rim at the buzzer, sending the Cardinal to overtime at home for the first time since beating Tennessee 73-69 on Dec. 22, 2007.
“We’ll really benefit from this type of environment and intensity,” VanDerveer said. “This was a tournament environment. I was really proud of my team.”
Former Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh got a loud ovation when introduced to the crowd at halftime. Harbaugh is fresh off leading the San Francisco 49ers to a trip to the NFC title game, which ended last Sunday with a 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants.
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