10:00 PM ET, February 11, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Brooke Smith seems to raise her level of play against California. She insists it's not personal."It's not a Cal thing," Smith said after scoring 20 points in Stanford's 91-50 victory over the Bears on Friday night. "I try to play with confidence in every game. When shots are falling, it makes the basket look bigger."Smith, who grew up less than 20 miles from the Cal campus, made her first six shots and finished 10-of-12 from the field. She scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting the last time the teams met."Brooke is a thorn in our side," Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said. "She opened it up for them."Freshman Candice Wiggins, who leads the team in scoring, added 24 points to lead No. 4 Stanford (22-2, 13-1 Pac-10 Conference) to its 13th straight victory over California, and its 12th straight on the Bears' homecourt. Stanford has won 25 of 26 in the series."What can you say about Candice?" Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She makes a lot happen for us."Kristin Iwanaga scored 11 points for the Bears (9-14, 3-11), who were coming off an upset victory over Arizona but lost for the ninth time in 10 games.A report published Friday in the San Francisco Chronicle indicated Horstmeyer is under pressure to produce results or her job could be at risk.Horstmeyer, who led mid-major Santa Clara to six conference titles and four NCAA tournament appearances in 12 years, has yet to lead the Bears to a winning season in her five years on the job. The loss to Stanford's was Cal's worst in eight years. She did not comment on the story.Stanford has won its games during the winning streak by an average of 21.6 points. Nationally-ranked Boston College came the closest at 76-66. The Cardinal defeated Cal by 35 points the last time they met."Stanford has not been known as a defensive team but defense is the reason they are able to beat teams by so many points," Horstmeyer said. "They are consistent no matter who they play. They make it difficult to find an open shot and they force you to rush."Stanford has outshot its opponents in every game. The Cardinal limited Cal to a season-worst .233, also the lowest percentage against Stanford in a conference game."The defense feeds the offense," Smith said. "When we are playing good defense, it picks up the pace and the intensity."VanDerveer says it could be one of the best defensive teams of her 19 years at Stanford."People understand if they want to play, they have to play defense," she said. "In order to be a great team you have to play defense. We're a versatile defense and I think we're becoming one of our best defensive teams."The Cardinal extended their lead by scoring the first 10 points of the second half, including consecutive 3s by Suminski and Wiggins."We were scoring but we weren't stopping them," Cal's Kiki Williams said. "When we went dry, they kept going. Their defense is a lot better than it's ever been. It was tough."Stanford later scored 21 consecutive points to pull ahead 91-46 in the closing minutes.Williams made her first three 3-pointers as Cal took an early lead. The Bears were within 23-21 when Stanford outscored them 20-5 to take a 45-26 halftime advantage.Stanford has led at halftime in all 24 games, 14 times by double figures.
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