Smith scores 27 and No. 10 Stanford beats Cal 72-66

Alanna Smith scored a career-high 27 points and Erica McCall made a few big plays in the final minute, lifting No. 10 Stanford over California

Stanford's Karlie Samuelson, right, shoots against California's Jaelyn

Stanford's Karlie Samuelson, right, shoots against California's Jaelyn Brown (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Credit: AP)

BERKELEY, Calif. - (AP) -- In her second season after arriving at Stanford from Melbourne, Australia, Alanna Smith is figuring things out.

The sophomore forward scored a career-high 27 points and Erica McCall made the big plays in the final minute, lifting the 10th-ranked Cardinal to a 72-66 victory over rival California on Thursday night.

"Today was Alanna's game," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She was the difference-maker for us. They didn't have an answer for her."

Smith, averaging 16 points the past four games, did her damage in 18 minutes off the bench.

"For me, it's just the mindset of being aggressive. Tara tells me that every day," Smith said. "It's a huge adjustment coming from an international background, playing a different style of game. It's finally a little bit easier for me."

McCall scored the go-ahead free throws with 59.1 seconds left then blocked a shot by Cal star Kristine Anigwe on the subsequent possession. Brittany McPhee padded the lead for Stanford (23-4, 13-2) by scoring a layup off an inbounds play with 11 seconds left.

Smith scored seven straight points, pushing Stanford into a 64-61 lead when she made a 3-pointer with 2:39 left. But on the next possession, she fouled out, and Mikayla Cowling converted all three free throws for Cal (17-10, 5-10), tying the score at 64-all. Cowling had 14 points.

The score was tied again before McCall put Stanford up 68-66 with her free throws. Karlie Samuelson scored 17 points for Stanford, including a pair of free throws with 4.7 seconds left.

VanDerveer, who won her 1,000th career game two weeks ago, was surprised before the game when Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb presented her with a framed photo of the Bay Bridge connecting the two campuses.

"I was very touched by the gift I was given by the Cal program," she said. "I knew they weren't going to give us a game."

Cal had the ball and the lead with 1:21 left when Asha Thomas was whistled for a charge.

"We couldn't close it out down the stretch. I'm disappointed for our players that we didn't get the win," Gottlieb said.

Anigwe, the Pac-12's No. 2 scorer at 21.8 points per game, was held to 10 points and 5-for-16 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Stanford remained in a virtual tie for first place with Washington and Oregon State, both idle Thursday. The Huskies and Beavers are both 12-2 and set to play games Friday.

Cal, which lost at home to the Cardinal for the eighth straight season, has some heavy lifting to do if it wants to sneak into the NCAA Tournament. "It's absolutely in our control," Gottlieb said. "I don't think you get a lot of style points by playing someone close. We've got to get one of these down the stretch."

SHOOTING WOES

Stanford beat Cal for the 17th time in 19 tries despite tough shooting nights by two of its best players. McPhee, who scored 26 points last week against Colorado, missed her first nine shots and wound up with seven points on 3-for-15 shooting. McCall, the Cardinal's top scorer, shot 4 for 15 while totaling 11 points and 14 rebounds. She is 15 for 55 the past four games.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Stanford should remain in the top 10 with a win Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cal visits Stanford on Sunday, completing the two-game regular-season series.

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