Unable to hit free throws with any consistency down the stretch, No. 7 Cal still found a recipe for success with some old-fashioned defense and rebounding.
Brittany Boyd scored 15 points, Reshanda Gray and Afure Jemerigbe both rebounded missed free throws in the late going and Layshia Clarendon figured in a defensive stop that prevented a last-second shot as Cal hung on to beat No. 20 Colorado 53-49 Sunday in Boulder.
"That was very important," Boyd said of Cal's physical finish. "I think rebounding is the key to our team. I just think we were dialed in, focused and didn't want to lose."
Jemerigbe and Gray added 10 points apiece for Cal (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12 Conference), which is off to its best start ever. The Golden Bears won their sixth straight since their only loss of the season, a 77-63 setback at No. 3 Duke.
Chucky Jeffery scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half, leading a rally by Colorado (11-2, 0-2 Pac-12). But she also committed a key turnover -- forced by Clarendon's tenacious defense in the final moments -- that denied the Buffaloes a chance to get off a final shot.
"Obviously, in a one-possession game, that was huge," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "It's two great players going at it, and we're lucky to have Layshia. She's just a great leader and an all-around complete kid on the offensive and defensive end."
With Cal leading 51-49 in the final seconds, Clarendon missed two free throws, but Talia Caldwell managed to tie up Jeffery on the rebound, and the possession arrow gave the ball back to Cal. Clarendon was again fouled with 10.3 seconds left, and she made one of two. But Colorado never got a chance to attempt a tying 3-pointer when Jeffery turned the ball over with 5.2 seconds to go.
Stanford 70, Utah 56: With starter Toni Kokenis held out as a precaution, Sara James stepped up with a career-high 18 points to help the No. 4 Cardinal in Salt Lake City.
"The highlight of this game was Sara James," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said of the 5-foot-10 reserve. "She's been working really hard in practice. It was her time."
James hit 6 of 8 shots off the bench, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. The junior came into the game averaging just 4.1 points in 10 minutes. Three of James' baskets, including one 3-pointer, answered Utah scoring runs that threatened Stanford's lead.
"I keep telling people Sara is the most competitive person I ever met at Stanford. And that's on the court and off the court," said Chiney Ogwumike, who led the Cardinal with 20 points.
Stanford (13-1, 2-0) extended to 80 its streak of consecutive conference wins.
Baylor 83, Oklahoma State 49: Brooklyn Pope scored 18 points and Brittney Griner added 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the second-ranked Lady Bears (12-1, 2-0 Big 12) turn back No. 13 Oklahoma State (11-2, 0-2) and extend the longest active home-winning streak in the nation to 47 games.
Baylor could move back into the No. 1 spot in the poll on Monday after No. 5 Notre Dame beat top-ranked UConn 73-72 on Saturday.
Duke 90, Boston College 53: Chelsea Gray had her second career triple-double, most of it in the first half as No. 3 Duke opened a 35-point lead. The visiting Blue Devils (13-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) remain the only unbeaten team in Division I.
Michigan 95, Iowa 67: Trey Burke had 19 points and a career-high 12 assists, part of another stellar offensive performance from the No. 2 Wolverines (15-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who are one win away from matching the program's best start to a season. The 1985-86 team began 16-0. Glenn Robinson III added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the host Wolverines.
Kansas 69, Temple 62: Kevin Young had 16 points, hitting four critical free throws down the stretch, and the sixth-ranked Jayhawks (12-1) earned their 11th straight win.
Khalif Wyatt finished with 26 points for the visiting Owls (10-3), who nearly had their second win over a top-10 team this season. Wyatt scored 33 in an upset of then-No. 3 Syracuse on Dec. 22.
Arizona St. 65, Colorado 56: Carrick Felix scored 20 points, Jordan Bachynski had 16 points and eight blocked shots for the host Sun Devils (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12), who started their conference season 2-0 for the first time in five years.
Oregon 79, Oregon State 66: Freshman Damyean Dotson scored 21 points, and Oregon used a 9-0 second-half run at Oregon State in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams. E.J. Singler added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Ducks (12-2).
Tulsa 48, SMU 47: Pat Swilling Jr. hit a 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left to give Danny Manning and visiting Tulsa a win over Larry Brown and SMU in just the second coaching matchup of an NCAA-winning coach and the Final Four's most outstanding player.
Manning, the eighth-leading scorer in NCAA history, was the star on Kansas' 1988 national championship team. Brown is the only coach to win NCAA and NBA titles.