Lindsay Gottlieb has good memories of Maples Pavilion, something very few Pac-12 women's basketball coaches can claim.
The first-year Cal coach was an assistant for the Golden Bears when they won at Stanford five seasons ago. That 72-57 result on Feb. 4, 2007, was the last time the Cardinal lost at home to a conference opponent.
Now Gottlieb's surging Bears will try to replicate that feat Saturday at 2 p.m. when the two rivals square off for the first time this season.
As painful as that 2007 loss was for Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, she understands how the Bears' success helps promote Bay Area women's basketball. It also helps her team during conference play.
"We like when teams have to prepare for both of us when they come to town," VanDerveer said.
This is one of those years.
After getting swept in Los Angeles to start conference play, Cal (15-5, 6-2) has won six straight games and sits in second place in the Pac-12 standings behind national No. 4 Stanford.
A win over Stanford would be a huge breakthrough for a Cal team that has lost to three top-25 teams by a combined six points. For Gottlieb, a Cal victory would go beyond an impressive result on the Bears' quest to reach elite status.
"More than anything I think the Cal-Stanford rivalry is good for women's basketball if we can make it competitive," Gottlieb said. "That year (2007) was really fun because I think people got to see some really good
Stanford's last conference defeat, on Jan. 18, 2009, also came against Cal when then-coach Joanne Boyle directed the Bears to the Sweet 16. The Cardinal has won 65 consecutive league games since the 57-54 defeat at Haas Pavilion.
Stanford (17-1, 8-0) has a 73-game home winning streak and has won 14 in a row since its lone defeat at Connecticut in November. The Cardinal has dominated the series against Cal 56-17.
But the Bears are one of the few teams in the nation that can match Stanford on the boards. Gennifer Brandon and Talia Caldwell have helped the Bears to a No. 2 national ranking in rebounding margin. Stanford ranks fifth.
But the Cardinal's Ogwumike sisters, Nneka and Chiney, cause problems for just about every team in the paint. They have combined for five Pac-12 player of the week awards this season, and Nneka leads the conference in scoring and rebounding.
"We have to make life tougher for them than they're used to," Gottlieb said. "I don't think anyone stops the Ogwumikes, but hopefully we can limit their easy points better than other teams have."
The teams' similarities don't end there. The game will also feature two freshman point guards -- Stanford's Amber Orrange and Cal's Brittany Boyd (Berkeley High).
On paper, Cal might match up better with Stanford than most other Pac-12 teams, but the Bears know firsthand that good memories of Maples don't come easily.
No current Cal player has experienced a win over the Cardinal.
"In any sport, (playing Stanford) is just a pride thing and we want to beat them, but more importantly, we kind of have a rivalry with everyone in the Pac-12 right now," Caldwell said. "We want to beat everyone really bad."
Staff writer Elliott Almond contributed to this report.