Feb. 4, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. - The California Golden Bears had another battle in the desert, with Saturday's 67-62 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils going down to the wire. Freshman point guard Brittany Boyd had a double double, matching her career-high with 19 points to go with a school-record-tying 10 steals.
The Bears scored on each of their first five possessions to take an early 9-2 lead, but the Sun Devils came back to tie the game, 11-11, with just over 14 minutes left in the first half.
After two ties and two lead changes, the Sun Devils pulled out to a 21-16 lead. A jumper followed by a spinning layup under the hoop, both from freshman point guard Brittany Boyd pulled the Bears to within one, 21-20, but ASU answered with a and-one to put Cal down 24-20 with seven and a half left in the half.
Boyd went on a tear, scoring five of Cal's six baskets during a five minute stretch between the 8:30 and 3:30 marks, keeping the Bears within two, 30-28, entering the final three and a half minutes of the half. Sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert gave Cal a lead, 31-30, on a three pointer after a kickout from the low post by a completely-swarmed junior center Talia Caldwell. The Bears lead was short-lived as a three from ASU gave them a 32-31 lead with just over a minute left in the half.
Junior guard Layshia Clarendon put Cal back up one, 33-32, with 44 seconds left in the half, getting a floater in the paint. Boyd intercepted a Sun Devil feed to the low post to give Cal the stop and the final possession of the first half. The Bears got the ball to junior guard Eliza Pierre who pulled up for a jumper with two seconds left in the period to send Cal to the locker room with a 35-32 halftime lead.
The Bears started the second half forcing an ASU turnover. On offense, they pounded the ball into freshman forwad Reshanda Gray who scored a layup, extending the lead to 37-32. The Sun Devils came back, tying the game 41-41 with 14:30 left in the game.
After the game remained tied for a solid two minutes, ASU pulled ahead, hitting a free throw and then getting the rebound on a miss, converting the possession with a layup to take a 44-41 lead.
Cal tied the game, 47-47, on a jumper from Boyd followed by a feed from Boyd to Gray in the low post. Clarendon put Cal back up, 49-47, with 8:45 to go, driving to the hoop for a layup as the shot clock was expiring. Sherbert extended the lead, 53-49, on her second three-pointer of the game with just over six minutes left to play.
Boyd had back-to-back steals as California put on the press, helping the Bears take a 59-54 lead with 3:30 left in the game.
After ASU hit a three-pointer, the Bears tried to answer with a three of their own, with a shot from the right corner by Clarendon just missing the mark. Gray grabbed the rebound and got the putback, putting Cal up, 63-58 with 2:19 remaining.
The Bears swarming defense forced a Sun Devil turnover with 1:20 left in the game, with Cal leading 63-59. Clarendon took a shot on the opposite end, missing, and then committing a foul with 58.4 left in the game. It sent ASU to the other end for a one-and-one. After a miss on the first, Pierre came up with the rebound to give Cal the ball.
Cal couldn't convert on their possession, with the shot clock expiring. The Sun Devils got the ball back with 24 seconds left in the game. The Bears committed a foul, sending the Devils to the line where they made both free throws, narrowing the Cal lead to two, 63-61, with 20.5 left on the clock.
Boyd inbounded the ball to Clarendon who was immediately fouled. Clarendon went to the line for a one-and-one, hitting the first. ASU came up with the rebound after she missed the second, gaining possession with 19.7 on the clock.
After a time out, ASU inbounded the ball. They got it down into their zone when Boyd came up with the steal, her tenth of the game, racing down the court and making a layup. She was fouled on the layup, but missed the free throw. ASU came up with the rebound, with Cal committing a foul on the rebound. The Sun Devils made one free throw with Boyd coming up with the rebound on the second miss.
After she was fouled, Boyd went to the line with Cal leading 66-62 with 5.8 left on the clock. She made her first free throw, putting Cal up 67-62. She missed the second, with ASU corralling the rebound, but they never got the ball up the court as the buzzer sounded, giving Cal the 67-62 victory.
"I don't think we are perfect, but we are battle-tested at this point," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "I think we can look at each other in any situation and feel like we are going to fight through it. We made some mistakes today, but I thought they stuck with the game plan and we got it done. It really feels nice to get two really big road wins."
Brittany Boyd had a stellar stat line, leading the team with 19 points. She also had 10 steals, tying the school record. It was the first time a player had nine or more steals since Jene Morris did so against Radford in the 2005-06 season. Boyd also had six rebounds and six assists.
"They like to really pressure, so [Boyd] is going to thrive in a game like that," Gottlieb said. "When people ask about Arizona State, I say that great point guard play is important. That is one of the reasons she really stepped up today because she likes that physical battle. I think she was a huge difference-maker today."
Gennifer Brandon led the team on the board with 13 rebounds. She also had six points and two steals.
With the win, the Bears improve to 17-6 and remain alone in second place in the Pac-12 with an 8-3 mark. Arizona State falls to 15-7 (6-5 Pac-12).
The Bears will be back home next week for a rematch against two teams they lost to earlier this year with UCLA coming to Haas on Thursday, Feb. 9. USC will come to Haas for a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Net on Saturday night, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.
Note: Season tickets for the Thursday, Feb. 9 game will say "USC" on them and season tickets for the Saturday, Feb. 11 game will list "UCLA" as the opponent. The games were switched after season tickets were printed. Please use the tickets on the correct date and do not pay attention to the opponent. If you have any questions, please contact the Cal Athletic Ticket Office.