The No. 9 Cal women's basketball team got an unexpected boost in its season opener Friday night with the return of star forward Gennifer Brandon.

Exactly three months after undergoing surgery to have a rod put in her right lower leg, the senior forward came off the bench to contribute to the Bears' 70-51 victory over Long Beach State.

"Just being out here today is a surprise," Brandon said. "I'm still trying to embrace it. It's a beautiful thing."

Brandon, a first-team all-Pac-12 pick a season ago, had surgery Aug. 8 to remedy a recurring stress fracture. At the time, coach Lindsay Gottlieb was told the recovery time would range from two to four months.

But Brandon progressed quickly and on Wednesday was medically cleared to play. She had six points, two rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 13 minutes.

"She's my superhuman bionic child," Gottlieb said.

Afure Jemerigbe led the Bears with 13 points.

San Jose State 100, San Francisco State 78: Jasmine Smith had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Jamie Craighead won in his coaching debut for the Spartans.

Saint Mary's 91, Washington 81: The Gaels finished on a 28-8 run and defeated the Huskies at McKeon Pavilion. Down by 10 points with 8:01 left, Saint Mary's got key baskets from their senior leaders. Jackie Nared had 37 points and 11 rebounds. Danielle Mauldin had 23 points and 17 rebounds, while Kate Gaze had 17 points and 10 assists.

UNLV 77, Santa Clara 70: The Broncos surrendered a late seven-point lead in falling to the Rebels in Las Vegas. Nici Gilday led Santa Clara with 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting. UNLV, trailing 70-67, went on a 12-0 run over the final 2:23.

Fordham 80, USF 66: The Dons opened with a 14-point loss to the Rams in the Bronx, N.Y. USF was led by Taj Winston's 19 points.

Men

Stanford 72, Bucknell 68: Dwight Powell had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Chasson Randle added 18 points as the Cardinal escaped with a win in its opener at Maples Pavilion.

Anthony Brown, who had 14 points in his return after missing most of last season with an injury, made a 3-pointer with 2:37 left to give Stanford a 70-66 lead. Powell's turnaround layin with 39 seconds remaining made it 72-68.

The Patriot League Bisons stayed with Stanford despite losing three standouts from a team that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season.

Cal 83, Coppin State 64: Freshman Jabari Bird filled the stat sheet in his college debut with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks in the Bears' win over the Eagles at Haas Pavilion.

Bird, a McDonald's All-American at Richmond's Salesian High, played a controlled game with his father, former Cal star Carl Bird, watching from the stands.

Tyrone Wallace led Cal in scoring with 20 points. He also had six rebounds and seven assists.

  • Sophomore Kahlil Johnson has decided to leave the team, coach Mike Montgomery said. Johnson played just 17 minutes last season. Montgomery said Johnson remains enrolled in classes at Cal.

    Saint Mary's 83, Louisiana Tech 70: Tough defense and a career night from Brad Waldow added up to a Gaels' win at McKeon Pavilion. Waldow had a career-high 28 points, and Stephen Holt added 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Raheem Appleby led Louisiana Tech with 18 points.

    Santa Clara 84, Bethesda 39: Jared Brownridge had 25 points and six assists, leading the host Broncos to a rout.

    USF 95, Notre Dame de Namur 57: Kruize Pinkins scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures for the host Dons.

    Staff writer Elliott Almond and wire services contributed to this report.