Dec. 20, 2011
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears completely dominated their final game before the start of Pac-12 play, dismantling the Dartmouth Big Green, 80-39. Sophomore guards Afure Jemerigbe and Lindsay Sherbert led the Bears with 15 points apiece.
Cal jumped out to an early lead with freshman point guard Brittany Boyd scoring four of Cal's first five points, the start of a 14-2 run for the Bears. The Big Green had no answer for Cal's pressure, with Dartmouth being kept scoreless for almost the first five full minutes of play. The Bears pressure, in the form of the combined trapping of guards Eliza Pierre and Afure Jemerigbe, accounted for the final points of the run with back-to-back-to-back steals leading to transition points that capped the run.
Dartmouth made a run of its own, pulling within six, 16-10, but a three-pointer by Jemerigbe pushed the momentum back in Cal's favor. Riding that momentum, redshirt sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon took the ball right out of a Dartmouth player's hand and before anyone could react, she had raced down to the other end and scored the fastbreak layup, making it 21-10. Two more Dartmouth turnovers and two more layups later, the Bears were up 25-10 with 7:26 left in the half. Jemerigbe nailed another three to give Cal a 28-10 lead.
Dartmouth hit a three with just over 5:30 remaining to end the Bears' 12-0 run.
The Bears took their first 20-point lead after pounding the ball down low to sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert. Sherbert recognized that freshman forward Reshanda Gray had a much more open look on the other side of the hoop and passed it over. Gray made the layup, getting fouled in the process. She hit the free throw to give Cal a 33-13 lead with just under four minutes left in the half.
The Bears went into the locker room with a 39-13 halftime lead.
The Bears scored the first four points of the second half, with a jumper by Jemerigbe, her 13th points of the game, giving Cal its first 30-point lead, 43-13, with 18:46 remaining in the game.
Steals from Pierre and Boyd fueled a 6-0 run that gave Cal a 64-27 lead with ten minutes left in the game.
The Bears removed their starters with six minutes left, cruising to their ninth victory of the season.
"I think we did what we needed to do tonight," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "We were a little ragged at times, and there is a lot of room for improvement, but I love our effort, I love our ability for depth, and I think it was a good win going into the holiday break."
Jemerigbe scored 15 points, going 6-8 from the field.
" I think her confidence is really high and I think she is playing very smart," Gottlieb said of Jemerigbe. "I think she is practicing really well, which often translates into playing really well. I am really proud of her. I think she can be such a tremendous scorer for us. I think her defense has really picked up and tonight you just saw what she is capable of. She scored a bunch of points in the minutes that she was in and I though she did it under control and she had a lot of confidence."
Sherbert also scored 15 points, going 7-for-10 from the field. Brandon scored ten points with eight rebounds, two blocks, and three steals.
The Bears forced a season-high 29 turnovers with the Bears only turning the ball over 12 times. Cal had 15 steals with Pierre leading the team with four steals, one of six different Bears to log a steal. Pierre also had seven points, five assists and three rebounds.
" We wanted to set the tone, with aggressive defense, so we came out pressing, kind of the way we did at the end of the Ohio State game," Gottlieb said. "We talked about playing fast on offense, but also doing that with discipline. I thought we did a really nice job of forcing turnovers, and at the same time, not turning the ball over ourselves. There were a couple that we would like to have back, but for the most part, I thought we were able to play at a pace and make them uncomfortable without losing our comfort zone."
With the win, the Bears finish up the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 9-3 mark. The Bears three losses have come by just six points to three teams who have a combined record of 29-4.
Dartmouth falls to 2-8 on the season, suffering its sixth straight loss.
The Bears will break for the holidays and then return to action on Thursday, Dec. 29 when they take on the UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles.