BERKELEY -- The Battle of the Bay became a battle of wills Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion.

In the end, Stanford wanted it just a little more in front of 4,849 fans in Round 1 of this week's Pac-12 women's basketball showdown.

The fifth-ranked Cardinal (14-1, 3-0 Pac-12) overcame a poor first half to defeat the upstart Bears 62-53 behind a superlative performance from junior forward Chiney Ogwumike.

The 6-foot-3 All-American had 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line. She got help from sophomore guard Amber Orrange, who had 15 points and eight rebounds. The Cardinal duo made 17 of 26 shots compared with Cal's 19 of 63 overall.

"Stanford's star players stepped up," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.

Layshia Clarendon scored 17 points to lead No. 7 Cal (12-2, 2-1), which will have another chance to knock off Stanford on Sunday at Maples Pavilion.

For now, Stanford showed it is in control of winning its 13th consecutive regular-season league title.

Despite going 0 for 8 from 3-point range, the Cardinal extended its conference win streak to 81 games. Stanford last lost a league game Jan. 18, 2009, at Cal 57-54. The Cardinal also won its 10th in a row over the Bears although Cal dominated the boards 45-31.

The Bears even had 21 offensive rebounds to Stanford's five but undermined their effort by shooting a season-low 30.2 percent from the field.


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"They're the No. 1 in defense in the Pac-12 for a reason," Gottlieb said of Stanford. "You know nothing is going to be easy."

The teams were a combined 2 for 29 from beyond the arc. Cal shot a season-high 21 3-point shots, but Gottlieb said the Cardinal defense forced her players to stay outside.

The Cardinal set up camp inside to shoot 50 percent from the field. It went on a 16-7 run to finish the game after Cal tied the score 46-46 with 8:46 left.

"We took care of the ball," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We didn't have a lot of knucklehead plays."

Conversely, Clarendon said the Bears made some silly plays that "you can't afford to have against a team like this."

Clarendon promised Cal would shoot better Sunday. VanDerveer expects a tougher fight in Round 2 because both teams will get some rest after playing three games in five days.

The game Tuesday proved as intense as expected with Stanford ranked first and Cal fourth in the Ratings Percentage Index that measures the toughest schedules. The Cardinal played poised after 11 road victories this season and has sparkled since losing badly at home to Connecticut on Dec. 29.

Still, Gottlieb felt good with a two-point halftime lead.

"I felt our speed, athleticism and depth would wear them down a little bit," Gottlieb said of the second half. "I thought the basket would open for us, and it didn't. When that happens, it grinds on you."

Ogwumike got little support in the first half when scoring 14 points. But her teammates played much better after halftime. Stanford center Mikaela Ruef dominated on the defensive end in the second half despite getting her fourth foul with 13:41 left.

Junior guard Toni Kokenis played 38 minutes after seeing limited time Sunday at Utah because of an undisclosed medical condition. She provided cover for Orrange in the backcourt with seven points.

Gottlieb knows her team isn't far behind the Bay Area rival. Her message for Sunday is simple: Play smart.

"They just don't make mistakes," she said of Stanford. "The second you let up, they're going to make a play."

Sunday's game
Cal (12-2, 2-1 Pac-12) at Stanford (14-1, 3-0), 1 p.m. ESPN2