BERKELEY – Almost lost on a historic, memorable night at Haas Pavilion was a not-so-insignificant development.
Cal’s women’s basketball team gutted out an important victory in a pivotal late-season matchup.
Junior Reshanda Gray set career-highs with 43 points and 16 rebounds and point guard Brittany Boyd registered the second triple-double in school history with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as the No. 18 Bears held off the Cougars for a 75-68 overtime victory.
It was the seventh win in a row for Cal (21-7, 13-4 Pac-12), which can clinch second place in the conference standings with a win over Washington in Saturday’s regular-season finale.
Gray was a stunning 17-for-20 from the floor while Boyd shook off a 2-for-16 shooting night to affect the game in other areas. Cal missed several free throws near the end of regulation but outlasted WSU (15-14, 9-8) in the extra session.
“We opened the door for them. That said, I feel really good we beat them,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “They’re really good. They have really good players. When you leave the door slightly cracked, most of the teams in the Pac-12 are going to challenge you. I don’t think it’s how we scripted it. We have some things to clean up. But I’m really happy we didn’t let this one go. Down the road, that’s going to pay dividends.”
It was apparent from the outset it was going to be a special night for Gray. She scored Cal’s first eight points and 24 of the Bears’ first 27. She had 32 points at the half on 14-for-15 floor shooting.
“It was two minutes into the game and I looked up and she had 10 points,” Boyd said. “I needed to keep on getting her the ball. If I’m not scoring, I’d prefer to get assists. That’s where it was tonight. They couldn’t stop her so that’s where we needed to go.”
Both teams struggled to shoot the ball in the second half, but Boyd impacted the game in a variety of ways to help the Bears polish off the win. Her two free throws with 25 seconds left in overtime gave her the triple-double and put Cal in front 71-66.
“I think it’s cool (the triple-double) came in a game where she couldn’t make a shot,” Gottlieb said. “Her demeanor never changed. We could have lost the game on a bad Boyd shooting night, but she refused to let that happen.”
Boyd’s triple-double was the first in school history to come in the conventional points-rebounds-assists form. The only other was in 1995, when Eliza Sokolowska had 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 steals against Arizona State.
Boyd had come one assist short of a triple-double on two previous occasions this season.
“I had a very rough shooting night,” Boyd said. “But I knew that it was a very important game. This is the second-to-last time our seniors will play in this gym, so it was important to get a win. Also, seeing Reshanda kept me motivated. I just think this was a next step for me in my growth as a basketball player.”
The Bears started overtime strongly. Gray made one of two free throws, but her miss was rebounded by Cal and Boyd scored on a drive to make it 67-64. Boyd ended up making 5 of 6 free throws in overtime to help seal the victory.
“We didn’t back down,” said Gray, who also registered her seventh straight double-double. We came back twice as hard in overtime. We continued to stay together and just pulled out the W.”