BERKELEY, Calif. -- California expects to make significant strides over the next month as the program plays for what it hopes is another special March.
Two competitive losses to rival Stanford could provide the needed motivation -- or at least that's what coach Lindsay Gottlieb hopes.
Brittany Boyd had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists for No. 21 Cal in a 79-64 loss to the fourth-ranked Cardinal on Sunday, the second meeting in four days between the Bay Area teams.
"We have to turn around from this week and say, `We've got eight more games in this conference,' and use the intensity and the fight and competitiveness of this weekend and turn that into our team hitting another level," Gottlieb said. "I'm excited to see if our players respond to that challenge."
Mikayla Lyles added a career-high 16 points with four 3-pointers for California (14-7, 6-4) while making her second career start after debuting in the starting five Thursday.
Chiney Ogwumike had 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists as Stanford ran its winning streak to 20 games. Amber Orrange added 13 points for the Cardinal (21-1, 10-0 Pac-12), whose only loss came Nov. 11 at No. 1 Connecticut. Stanford is on pace for a 14th straight conference regular-season crown.
The sweep of Cal keeps Stanford well ahead in the Pac-12 standings. These teams shared the Pac-12 regular-season crown last season by each winning on the other's home floor, with the Golden Bears later advancing to their first Final Four berth in program history.
Ogwumike shot 10-for-16 and made 9 of 12 free throws.
"Chiney is just in there and they've got to deal with her and she finishes really well," coach Tara VanDerveer said.
Stanford answered nearly every threat as Cal struggled to get timely defensive stops. Cal has played the Cardinal tougher than any other conference opponent after Stanford won its first eight Pac-12 games by an average of 25 points.
Lyles' 3-pointer with 17:16 to play cut Stanford's lead to 39-32, then Ogwumike answered on the other end. When Lyles hit another 3 at the 14:10 mark, Ogwumike quickly scored.
The game at Haas Pavilion drew 5,715 fans, but it was a far cry from the dramatic way Thursday's game changed. Stanford led by 30 with 13:45 remaining and held on for a 70-64 victory on its home floor at Maples Pavilion.
Freshman Karlie Samuelson scored 14 points off the bench Thursday as Cal struggled to defend the perimeter, opening up things for Ogwumike inside. Samuelson added 16 points Sunday, including a three-point play with 11:34 left that extended the Cardinal's lead to 52-38.
"I thought Stanford was just better," Gottlieb said. "It's such a problem with Chiney inside."
Bears leading scorer Reshanda Gray was held scoreless while playing only 14 minutes Thursday as Gottlieb stuck with a lineup she thought was clicking, but the coach told everybody afterward Gray would lead the way again Sunday. Gray's average dropped from 17.3 points to 16.5.
She was whistled for her first foul at 15:55 of the first half, then her second with 10:33 left when she tried to control the ball and hit Ogwumike in the face with her elbow.
Gray scored on her own putback, was fouled and converted the free throw for her first points 1:20 before halftime. The next time down, Boyd drove the lane for a three-point play with .9 seconds left as Cal cut its deficit to 35-25 at the break.
Gray fouled out with 5:09 left, finishing with seven points and five rebounds. Gennifer Brandon missed her initial six field-goal tries before scoring her first points with 4:26 to go and finished with four.
"Tara's the mastermind of limiting other teams' top scorers and making other players beat you," Gottlieb said.
Stanford used a 24-7 run late in the first half to go ahead 33-19, while Cal struggled to get open looks on the offensive end while shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range and 31 percent overall in the opening half to 56 percent by Stanford.
"Our No. 1 goal coming into the game was to be aggressive," Ogwumike said. "We wanted to get all the loose balls, the hustle plays. When we have fun as a team, it's really good basketball for us."
Connecticut Sun head coach Anne Donovan scouted the game after also attending Thursday's matchup -- certainly eager to get a good look at Ogwumike given her team has the No. 1 pick of the WNBA draft.