10:00 PM ET, January 13, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Tara VanDerveer is having a hard time deciding which she prefers -- a blowout or a nail-biter.At least Stanford's latest win allowed the longtime coach to evaluate her team's youth.Brooke Smith scored 14 of her 21 points in the first half and the Cardinal (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) beat rival California for the ninth straight time, 88-53 on Thursday night."I don't think it is easy," VanDerveer said. "It was made to look easy. People worked very hard."Candice Wiggins added 18 points and four assists and made 7-of-8 free throws as Stanford won its 31st straight Pac-10 home game, needing little time to take control with its up-tempo, high-energy style. VanDerveer used her bench liberally, and by halftime all 13 available players had been in the game and 10 had scored."We just kept building on some made baskets and good defensive plays," Smith said.Wiggins had eight points during a 16-0 second-half run, and Susan King Borchardt scored four during the spurt. Borchardt, who missed the Cardinal's first nine games with an injured left foot, finished with 10 points in her first start of the season. Before this year, she'd started all 75 games in which she played.The Cardinal (14-2, 6-1 Pac-10) improved to 33-2 on their home court dating to the 2002-03 season. They haven't lost in Maples Pavilion during conference play since a 62-59 loss to Southern California on March 1, 2001."I think there was a tornado in Maples," Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said. "They came out the first half and really set us back. Stanford just jumped on us."Eziamaka Okafor had a career-high 14 points and also grabbed five rebounds for Stanford.Renee Wright came off the bench to score 16 points to lead the overmatched Golden Bears, who have beaten Stanford only once in the past 25 meetings and trailed by as many as 42 points this time. Cal came in averaging 68.1 points per game, and this was the Bears' third-lowest scoring output of the season."I think initially we were shellshocked," Wright said. "After a media timeout and coach talking to us, we got back into it."Leigh Gregory added 14 points for Cal and Jessica Lawson 12 points and five rebounds before going to the floor injured with 4:27 left after getting tangled up with a teammate. Lawson was having X-rays and Horstmeyer initially thought it was an injured collarbone.Stanford, coming off a successful sweep of the Arizona schools on the road, held Cal (8-8, 2-5) without a field goal for 9 minutes, 34 seconds during the first half -- with Gregory ending the drought on a basket at the 8:18 mark.And the Cardinal will get a much bigger test Saturday, when 14th-ranked Boston College comes to town.After Cal went ahead 4-2, Stanford used a 13-0 run to build a big lead. The Cardinal made seven of their first nine shots, and the students began chanting "It's all over!" only seven minutes into the game.Stanford shot 60 percent in the first half on the way to a 49-17 lead at the break, matching its second fewest points allowed in a half all season. Cal had more turnovers (18) at halftime than points.The Cardinal senior class won its 100th game.
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