4:00 PM ET, February 4, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. -- California's players could certainly relate to Stanford's fears when point guard JJ Hones went down with a serious knee injury in the opening minute.In December, the Golden Bears lost their own point guard, Alexis Gray-Lawson, to a season-ending knee injury that required surgery -- and nobody was quite sure if the team could be a contender without her.Cal is doing just fine, thanks to the gutsy efforts of sophomore Devanei Hampton and a pair of freshmen thrown into key roles this season.Hampton had a big second half to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds and No. 21 Cal ended a 14-game losing streak to rival Stanford, beating the Cardinal (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today; No. 8 AP) 72-57 Sunday.Stanford struggled on offense without Hones, relying too much on the 3-point shot, and had a 17-game winning streak snapped in its first Pac-10 defeat. It was the team's longest unbeaten run since getting 23 in a row two years ago. The Cardinal also took their first home loss in 52 conference games."Yeah!" Hampton yelled, jumping up and down before a free throw with 14 seconds left. The real celebration followed for Cal's first win over a top-10 opponent since beating No. 9 Colorado State 80-75 on Dec. 21, 1998."That was a great game by our kids," Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "Stanford is such a good team and I know they lost something when JJ went down. It's hard to see that. You're not put in this situation very often. ... The kids stepped up with the biggest win in our program's history."Now, Cal's resurgent program can decidedly say this is a legitimate Bay Area rivalry after the Bears (18-5, 8-4 Pac-10) spent years being embarrassed by the Cardinal. The victory was Cal's first over Stanford in nearly six years.Candice Wiggins scored 17 points and Brooke Smith added 16 points but shot 0-for-4 from 3-point range, where Stanford was a dismal 6-of-35. Of the Cardinal's 64 field-goal tries, almost half were 3s -- the Bears' post presence in the paint made it that tough for Stanford to establish an inside game. Stanford shot a school-record low 26.6 percent from the field and was 0-for-16 from long range in the second half.Smith and Wiggins each fouled out late.Cal shot 46 percent and pounded the ball inside in the second half to win its third straight and seventh in eight. Hampton scored 15 of her points after halftime.The Cardinal (19-4, 11-1) lost to Cal for the first time since Feb. 16, 2001, an 82-73 Bears' win at Maples Pavilion. Stanford was held below 30 percent from the floor for the first time since shooting 29 percent on Feb. 7, 2004, in a 73-53 loss at Arizona State."It was just not our day," Wiggins said. "That was the worst shooting percentage we probably ever shot."Stanford, 23-6 all-time in the series in games played on The Farm, lost freshman Hones just 45 seconds into the game when she sprained her left knee driving to the basket. She clutched her knee and was helped off the court by the team's trainers. Hones was to be re-evaluated later Sunday, but the injury appeared serious -- perhaps a torn anterior cruciate ligament -- and she returned to the court after halftime on crutches."We hope it's not an ACL with JJ, but we're afraid that it is," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It was really upsetting to our team to see JJ go down. We talked about how that happens and we have to play through an injury like that."Freshman Natasha Vital added a season-best 19 points with six assists and six rebounds, and fellow freshman Lauren Greif had 15 points and six rebounds for Cal, which missed 12 free throws over the final 2:48.Both teams went scoreless for about 4½ minutes midway through the second half until Cal got back-to-back baskets by Hampton, the first score coming at the 6:50 mark.Both schools played non-conference games last week before their second matchup of the season, with Stanford winning at Santa Barbara on Thursday and Cal beating UC Riverside at home Wednesday night.Last month in Berkeley, Wiggins hit a season-high six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Stanford's 69-44 victory.Cal's frontcourt players -- Hampton, Ashley Walker and 6-foot-5 freshman Rama N'diaye -- had a tough time getting anything going inside early but made the necessary adjustments and did a better job zipping the ball around. The Bears went hard to the basket to draw fouls.Cal missed its first eight shots against Stanford's tough man-to-man defense before Greif's 12-footer at 16:13 got the Bears on the board. The Cardinal were also slow starting, going 3-for-13 in the opening 7 minutes. They attempted 14 3-pointers in their first 23 shots.Jillian Harmon's late 3 put Stanford ahead 31-30 at the break.Stanford students were admitted free to Sunday's game, with the first 100 treated to a pizza party -- a marketing tactic to bring fans in on Super Bowl Sunday.
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