Stanford defeats Cal to finish unbeaten Pac-10 runMar 7, 2010 - 12:44 AM By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif.(AP) -- Jayne Appel sat on the bench in a walking boot, sidelined by a bum right ankle the Stanford star hopes heals in time for next weekend's Pac-10 tournament.
Until she returns, coach Tara VanDerveer is counting even more on Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen. They delivered Saturday, all right.
Ogwumike had 22 points and 14 rebounds and the second-ranked Cardinal completed their first unbeaten run through the Pac-10 schedule since 2002 with a 63-48 victory over rival California.
The Cardinal (28-1, 18-0 Pac-10) struggled early playing without the All-American center Appel, who came down wrong on her ankle during a layup drill in practice Tuesday. Appel said she plans to play in next weekend's Pac-10 tournament.
"She will not be rushed. I'm going to have to be convinced she's really, really healthy," VanDerveer said.
Stanford missed Appel's presence in the paint and never looked in sync while winning a 19th straight game since the team's lone loss at top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 23.
Pedersen added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal, who already secured their 10th straight Pac-10 regular-season title and will be the top seed heading into the conference tournament in Los Angeles. Stanford is trying for a third straight trip to the Final Four.
Appel had missed only one other regular-season game, the first one of her freshman season. She had played in 138 straight games since, the most by any female player at Stanford.
"When we were stretching we were talking about how we needed to pick up the slack," Pedersen said of her chat with Ogwumike. "We always look to dominate any way we can."
Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 15 points in what might have been her final home game at Haas Pavilion for Cal (17-12, 11-7). The Golden Bears host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games March 20 and 22, but they aren't close to being a lock to receive a berth. It will come down to the conference tournament. They open against Arizona State.
"We've got to do something in the tournament, got to do something in that to get to NCAAs," coach Joanne Boyle said. "It is what it is at this point. There's no sugar coating it."
Cal reached the NCAA regional semifinals last season for the first time in Boyle's fourth season. The Bears have been to the NCAAs in all four of Boyle's previous years in Berkeley.
"We've just got to get better on some things. Rebounding is big for us. Me having one rebound is unacceptable," Gray-Lawson said. "Coach Boyle was talking downstairs we've never been in this situation. For us, if you play hard and execute, great things happen."
Joslyn Tinkle's 3-pointer with 13:33 remaining was the first all game for Stanford after the Cardinal missed their initial eight attempts from long range. Neither team looked particularly sharp in this long-standing Bay Area rivalry.
Stanford has won 35 of the last 38 meetings with the Bears, including 79-58 at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 2. Appel hated to sit out the regular-season finale.
"It's obviously disappointing. I don't want to miss any games," she said. "I brought my uniform today. Most likely I was not going to put it on. It's a day-to-day thing. It wasn't so painful that I thought I had broken something."
Gray-Lawson and Ogwumike are the Pac-10's top two scorers, but Ogwumike ruled in this one. Ogwumike shot 10 for 15, while Gray-Lawson went 4 of 13. She received a rousing standing ovation when she left the game in the waning seconds. DeNesha Stallworth added 12 points and 13 boards for the Bears.
The Cardinal led 26-19 at the break after an underwhelming half by both teams. Stanford missed all six of its 3-point tries and shot 40 percent, to 25.8 percent by Cal - including 1 for 6 from long range. Stanford wound up 2 of 13 on 3-pointers to 1 of 9 by the Bears.
Cal had gone 11-3 in its previous 14 games after losing its first three Pac-10 games but now has dropped two in a row after the Bears had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 57-50 loss at Arizona State last Saturday.
Cal went 6 minutes, 11 seconds without scoring midway through the first half, while Stanford used a 10-0 run during that stretch but couldn't do enough to pull away.
The Cardinal began the game 2 for 8 with two turnovers in the opening four minutes.
While Cal honored its seniors in a pregame ceremony, the Bears even presented several Cardinal players with roses - including redshirt juniors JJ Hones, Melanie Murphy and Michelle Harrison, raising doubt they will return for a final season on The Farm. VanDerveer said she expects two of the three to return, probably Hones and Murphy.
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