STANFORD — How fitting that so many of Tara VanDerveer’s former players were in the stands for another of the Hall of Fame coach’s many milestones.
VanDerveer became the first women’s basketball coach with 500 regular-season wins in a single conference, and her No. 5 Stanford team beat California 73-40 on Friday night in the first of two weekend meetings between the Bay Area rivals.
Freshmen Haley Jones and Ashten Prechtel scored 17 and 13 points, respectively, as the Cardinal (14-1, 3-0 Pac-12) took control from the opening tipoff to win their fourth straight game since the team’s lone defeat at Texas on Dec. 22.
It marked the debut matchup for first-year Cal coach Charmin Smith facing her former coach in VanDerveer, who improved to 500-78 in regular-season conference play in the Pac-12 that was formerly the Pac-10. Geno Auriemma of Connecticut has his victories split between the AAC and Big East, while the late Pat Summitt of Tennessee earned 458 victories in the SEC.
“Yay,” Lexie Hull said with a smile, seated at VanDerveer’s left.
“Wow,” a grinning Prechtel said on the coach’s right.
About a half-dozen former Stanford players were in attendance at Maples Pavilion.
“It is fun to share something like that with them because they were such a big part of championships,” VanDerveer said. “I’m about this team and how hard they’re working and how much they’re improving and just the fact they’re listening and trying to do what we’re asking them to do.”
Cold-shooting, overmatched Cal (8-6, 0-3) fell behind immediately and couldn’t keep up, trailing 39-15 at halftime before scoring only three points in the third quarter on 1-for-14 shooting. Jazlen Green scored 10 points to lead the way.
After being swept by the Washington schools at home in Haas Pavilion last weekend, including a 96-75 defeat to Washington State on Sunday, the Golden Bears lost their third straight game and fourth in five after a seven-game winning streak.
“With who we were playing against and the crowd and everything I think we got a little quiet a little bit in the second and third quarter and then we found our fight late in the third,” Smith said. “So, happy to see we at least got the fight back but we’ve got to be better on Sunday.”
Jones shot 7 for 10 for Stanford on a night junior point guard Kiana Williams struggled to find her shooting stroke and scored nine points on 3-for-10 shooting playing just 22 minutes in the rout.
Stanford’s length on the defensive end stymied Cal’s shooters from the opening tip. The Cardinal finished the first quarter on a 16-0 run to go ahead 20-5, then pushed the run to 25-1 to lead 29-6. The Bears began 2 for 18 and missed 13 straight shots spanning the first and second quarters, going the final 6:29 of the opening period without scoring with 11 straight misses.
Jaelyn Brown, who came in averaging 15.6 points per game and scored 20 against the Cougars, was held to four and took only four shots.
SMITH AT STANFORD
Smith led the Cardinal to three Final Four appearances during her decorated career on The Farm, where she returned as a member of VanDerveer’s staff for three seasons before leaving for Berkeley in 2007.
“It’s really special and really cool. Obviously I don’t like losing but it this was a very special day,” Smith said. “... I told Tara I just want to keep working and get to the point that this is a tough weekend for the people that are coming to the Bay.”
VanDerveer said “once the game gets going you don’t even know who’s down there sitting on that bench.”
“The main thing when we’re not playing Cal I’m rooting for Charmin, and I think she’s doing an excellent job,” she said.
California: Cal hasn’t won at Maples Pavilion since Feb. 22, 2015, but the teams have split the past two regular-season series. ... The Bears shot 6 for 26 (23.1%) in the first half. ... They are 15 for 54 from 3-point range in the three Pac-12 losses so far, shooting 2 of 12 on 3s against the Cougars. Cal also went 2 for 16 from the floor in the first quarter Sunday to fall behind 31-6.
Stanford: Stanford held a 50-29 rebounding advantage with 16 on the offensive glass. ... The Cardinal had only 12 turnovers after committing 17 in a 77-56 win over Washington on Sunday. ... Stanford is 10-0 at home in Maples Pavilion.
The series shifts to Berkeley on Sunday night.
“It feels like it’s a halftime because we’ve got them again, we have to turn around,” VanDerveer said.
The Bears pulled off an 81-80 upset of then-No. 8 Stanford at home last season.
“In this situation we kind of got clobbered and I don’t mind playing them again on Sunday and coming out and being better than we were,” Smith said.
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