SportsWomen's Basketball

No. 1 Stanford powers past Cal in historic night

Dec. 14, 2020, 7:38 a.m.

Another game, another milestone for women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer. As No. 1 Stanford (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) demolished California (0-5, 0-2 Pac-12) 83-38 on Sunday night, VanDerveer notched her 1,098th win and tied Pat Summitt as the winningest coach in women’s basketball history. 

The latest matchup between Bay-area rivals also saw impressive performances from sophomore guard Fran Belibi and freshman forward Cameron Brink. The victory moves Stanford to 4-0 overall following victories against Cal Poly, UNLV and Washington. 

Despite seven days elapsed since their last victory against Washington (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12), the Cardinal picked up right where they left off, outscoring the Golden Bears 44-15 in the first half. Stanford started the game with a 14-0 scoring streak, holding Cal to just four shots and forcing five turnovers in the first seven minutes. By the end of the first quarter, the Golden Bears had amassed twelve turnovers and shot 0-for-10 as the Cardinal powered to a 16-4 lead. By the end of the second quarter, Stanford had outscored Cal 28-11. Belibi led the team with 14 points, six rebounds and one assist. Brink followed closely behind with 11 points.

Belibi then topped off her dominant first half performance with an equally dominating one-handed dunk — her first at the collegiate level. The historic shot, coming with 51 seconds left in the half, was the first dunk in a women’s D1 basketball game since Britney Griner in the 2013 NCAA tournament nearly eight years ago. Belibi became only the eighth player to dunk in a college game. 

“It was nice to finally get one. I know that’s been something that’s been around my name for a while so it was nice to have that happen.” Belibi said. “Anywhere I can get a dunk in a game is cool, so I was happy about it.”

Moreover, it made VanDerveer’s milestone all the more unforgettable. 

“It was a great dunk. I said, ‘I’ll remember this night for the rest of my life and I’ll remember the dunk,’” VanDerveer said.

“We’re all really excited … and honored to be a part of it,” Belibi said of VanDerveer’s record-making night.

The Card finished the first half with a 44-15 lead against the Golden Bears.

The Cardinal’s dominant offense was complemented by effective defense by fifth year guard Anna Wilson and junior guard Lexie Hull. After committing seven turnovers in the first quarter, Stanford managed to commit just 15 overall, while forcing 33 from Cal, who failed to establish much momentum throughout the game. Stanford has held each of its first three opponents to under 30%, a trend they continued tonight, holding Cal to 23% from the field. 

The third and fourth quarters saw the Cardinal enjoying a more than 40-point lead, with help from senior guard Kiana Williams. After starting one for 8 in the first half, Williams came alive in the second to make three consecutive shots and push the lead to 56-23 with 43 seconds left in the third.

Cal scored only 15 points in the fourth quarter, compared to Stanford’s 24, as four Cardinal reached double digits. Brink led with 16 points, followed by sophomore guard Hannah Jump with 15. Belibi and Williams scored 14 and 11 points, respectively. Meanwhile, only one Cal player, Fatou Samb, reached double digits (10). As a team, Stanford shot 42% from the field, out-rebounded Cal 39-37 and led them 19-7 in assists. Stanford finished with 19 personal fouls compared to Cal’s 17. 

Despite Cal’s performance, it has a promising team. Down four starters tonight, the Golden Bears fought until the end. With the seventh recruiting class in the country, the young team is likely to improve significantly in future seasons. 

“They are a young team and they have a lot of potential,” Brink said, adding that though the Battle of the Bays game was different than anticipated due to pandemic rules, it was still fun. 

Next up for Stanford is a matchup against Pacific (0-0, 0-0 WCC). Tip-off is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. PT.

Contact Zora Hudson at zorah ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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