Brink’s big day helps No. 2 Stanford hold off Cal 60-56

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Stanford needed every stop as Leilani McIntosh matched Cameron Brink basket for basket as the clock ticked down.

Tara VanDerveer’s young Cardinal withstood a hard-fought road contest she knows will certainly benefit her young team come NCAA Tournament time in March.

Haley Jones scored the go-ahead layup with 1:17 to play, Cameron Brink had 25 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots as NBA pal Stephen Curry watched courtside, outdueling Leilani McIntosh down the stretch as No. 2 Stanford held off California 60-56 on Sunday.

“It’s really a game that could be really good for our team in the long run,” VanDerveer said. “It felt like a root canal in the short run.”

Jones wound up with 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Cardinal (16-1, 4-0 Pac-12) ran their winning streak to 11 games since losing 76-71 in overtime to No. 1 South Carolina on Nov. 20.

Brink and McIntosh both missed in the final minute to make things interesting: Brink rebounded McIntosh’s miss with 58 seconds left then also missed. Cal’s Jayda Curry corralled the rebound away from Hannah Jump to give the Golden Bears one last chance, and Claudia Langarita missed with 14 seconds remaining.

“It was a good look, she’s capable of knocking that down,” Cal coach Charmin Smith said.

Brink converted a tying three-point play with 3:07 to go while trading baskets with McIntosh, who finished with 19 points for the Golden Bears (10-5, 1-3). Cal’s Evelien Lutje Schipholt missed two free throws with 2:35 left that would have put her team ahead.

McIntosh tied it at 47 with 7:38 to play before Brink answered, then McIntosh hit a 3 moments later.

Brink’s 3 with 5:21 left in the third put Stanford ahead 35-31 and Jump hit from long range late in the third as Stanford took a 47-43 advantage into the final 10 minutes.

“I think it’s really good for the young players and even us,” Brink said, noting Stanford has been in a groove at home but hasn’t been as road tested yet.

The scrappy Bears, averaging 74.0 points to Stanford’s 84.6, ended the first half on a 7-0 run making their final three shots as Stanford went 2 for 11 to end the half on a scoring drought of 2:19.

The Cardinal have won the last nine matchups in the Bay Area rivalry, but had to pull this one out late after a 90-69 victory on Dec. 23 in the conference opener for both programs.

“Every stop mattered and every basket mattered,” Jones said. “I think we were taking good shots down the stretch, credit to Cam she was hitting everything.”

The were cold from the floor out of tip-off — each beginning 1 for 7 with Stanford committing five turnovers during a scoring drought of more than five minutes and Cal missing its first six shots. The Cardinal went nearly 6 1/2 minutes between their first and second made field goals.

Stanford won its 38th straight game against Pac-12 teams including the past two conference titles and postseason.

CURRY AND CURRY

Stephen Curry received a No. 30 Cal jersey from Jayda Curry as he visited the Bears locker room postgame and offered some encouraging words. The two star guards share a number and last name.

The reigning NBA Finals MVP made another round on the women’s basketball circuit with a visit to Berkeley on a day off from his rehab for a left shoulder injury that has sidelined him the last 11 games for the defending NBA champions.

His mother, Sonya, joined him. She and his three children also attended the last game at Stanford last week — daughters Riley and Ryan and son Canon.

Jayda Curry has made at least one 3-pointer in 37 straight games, the third-longest streak in Pac-12 history.

“It was cool to have him come. Having somebody who does it professionally in the NBA kind of reiterating the key things that we’re trying to key in on I feel like for me is showing that we know what we can do,” she said.

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: Brink has blocked at least one shot in every game and now has 51. … The Cardinal’s 26 points at the break were their lowest halftime total so far. … Junior G Agnes Emma-Nnopu returned from a two-game absence after being poked in the eye at practice by Indya Nivar. … Stanford is 4-0 on the road.

California: The Bears were outrebounded 46-37 by the bigger Stanford team. … Cal trails the series at home 32-14.

UP NEXT

Stanford: At No. 12 UCLA on Friday night.

California: At USC on Friday night to face former Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s squad.

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