Nov. 19, 2012
BERKELEY - One of Lindsay Gottlieb's messages to her No. 11 California women's basketball team Monday night was that the final score was 87-61, a 26-point victory over a visiting Cal Poly team that recently won at Pac-12 foe Oregon State.
Sophomore Reshanda Gray scored 22 points - one shy of her career-high - and junior Gennifer Brandon posted her third double-double in as many games, but the Golden Bears were not content in a foul-plagued game that moved the team to 3-0 on the season while Cal Poly's record evened to 2-2.
However, the Bears did find solace in what was overall a complete game with four players reaching double-digit scoring - Gray, Brandon (18 points, 11 rebounds), Talia Caldwell (11) and Brittany Boyd (10) - and two more knocking on the door with Layshia Clarendon scoring nine points and Afure Jemerigbe scoring eight on the night.
The Bears collected 19 assists in the game and were led by Boyd's seven dishes. The team out-rebounded the Mustangs 44-31 with Caldwell collecting nine rebounds along with Brandon's 11.
"We are excited to play at home and get another win," Gottlieb said after the game. "I thought that this was a pretty complete effort form the start. I was really proud of our girls right here (Reshanda Grey and Brittany Boyd) for playing through some foul trouble in the first half, and that's something that we've been working on, being able to play through some fatigue and foul trouble that they didn't have to do last year. I thought they really both came out and sparked us, especially in that second half, but overall I thought that it was a collective team effort. I loved the fact that we had 19 assists, not a lot of turnovers and Cal Poly is a really good team. They are coming off of two wins, one up against Oregon State and then a decisive win against San Diego, so we knew that they were going to be good and not quit and thought that we would have to play 40 minutes tonight. I thought that we did that."
With the score nearly even at 11-10 four minutes into the game, the Bears went on an 20-2 run in the next four minutes to hold a double-digit lead at 31-12 that it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Opposite of the pressure defense that led to an early lead against Saint Mary's last week, California used old-fashioned rebounding and sharp-shooting to build the lead against the Mustangs.
Cal's league-leading defense also contributed to the advantage by holding the Mustangs to over 12 minutes without a field goal midway through the first half. After Cal Poly scored its 10th point of the game, the Bear defense suffocated the Mustangs on the offensive end as Cal Poly was able to muster just seven free throws and went 1-of-11 from the field as the clock ticked from 16:56 to 4:41.
In the process, the Bears built the lead to as many as 25 with a 44-19 lead before the Mustangs broke their streak with a three-pointer by Kayla Griffin. Cal went into halftime holding a 48-33 lead.
"Poly did a great job coming out ready to pass through the press," Gottlieb said of the Mustangs finding ways early to beat the full court press that worked effectively against Saint Mary's. "Credit to them, they did a nice job with the ball so we said, `OK, let's get some stops with the white which is our man-to-man defense.' That enabled us to go on a bit of a run and start getting stops."
Cal slowly continued to build the lead in the second half and limited the fouls as the team coasted to its 87-61 win. Overall, the Bears shot a season-best 71.4 percent from the free throw line, led by Gray's 10-of-14 effort. For the second straight game, the team shot 50 percent from the field, going 34-of-68 overall.
California hosts the Cal Classic by Doubletree this weekend with Eastern Washington, Cal State Fullerton and Georgetown visiting Haas Pavilion Friday and Saturday afternoon's. The Bears tip-off Friday at 1 p.m. against Eastern Washington, and Saturday's games are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.