Dec. 2, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - Five players scored in double figures to propel No. 16 California to a 96-54 victory over Harvard Saturday evening in the first game of the third-annual Contra Costa Times Classic at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears, who set a Cal Haas Pavilion scoring record, improved to 5-1, while the Crimson dropped to 0-6.
"It was a good win for us," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "We've been off all week. We'd been playing back-to-back tournaments and haven't had a game in awhile. I felt like we were rusty (to start the game). We got it going and picked up our defense in the second half. We got easy transition buckets and rebounded the ball well. We got to play a lot of people and rest people for tomorrow. It's great when your whole team can contribute. It makes for a great win. You don't get chances like that all of the time."
The previous Haas Pavilion Cal scoring record of 94 points was set in a 94-48 victory over South Carolina State Dec. 10, 2005.
Sophomore forward/center Ashley Walker posted a game-high 17 points to lead the Bears. Freshman guard Lauren Greif scored a career-high 16 points, and junior forward Krista Foster (15) and senior guard Keanna Levy (12) also had career highs for points for Cal. Levy had an all-around game, adding career highs for assists (6) and steals (4). Sophomore forward/center Devanei Hampton tallied 11 points and game highs of nine rebounds and two blocks.
"I was given an opportunity, and I took advantage of it today," said Foster. "We have a great post group. I feel fortunate to be in there with those girls. Dev and Ashley are great players, along with Rama, Trell (Sneed) and Emmelie (Geraedts). We make each other better each day."
Behind nine of Walker's 11 first-half points, Cal jumped out a 13-4 lead with 16:16 left in the opening half. Harvard battled back to within 15-11, keyed by a three-pointer and a jumper from Niki Finelli, who finished with 10 points overall.
Levy converted her first of two three-pointers with about 10 minutes until halftime to extend the Bears' lead back to double-digits at 24-14.
"I've also been given a new role this year," said Levy. "It's a great opportunity for me to go out and help my team. My focus is to bring a lot of energy on defense. I want to go out there and be a sparkplug. In practice, we've been talking about getting more fast-break opportunities. A lot of times, we pull back and wait for the posts to get down. Today, we ran and got some easy looks. I often had Krista running with me."
The Crimson twice got as close as six points, but layups from Hampton and Foster helped Cal rebuild its lead to 33-22. Foster scored nine points over the final seven minutes of the first half to help the Bears build their biggest lead at that point at 44-27.
Harvard managed to stay close to Cal in the opening 20 minutes and trailed, 44-29, at the break. The Bears had control of the second half from the onset and utilized a 20-0 run over about a six-and-a-half minute span to open up a 73-36 lead with 11:01 remaining in the game.
The Crimson, who was led in scoring by Emily Tay with 12 points, couldn't get any closer than 33 points the rest of the game. Greif paced the Bears with 14 second-half points.
With a 64.3 field goal percentage, Cal shot just below its season high of 64.9 percent in an 88-60 win over Florida Nov. 17. The Bears held the Crimson to 39.2 percent from the floor, including 33.3 percent in the second half. Cal sank 70.4 percent of its second-half field goals.
All 10 dressed players scored for the Bears, who also held a 40-16 rebounding edge. The Bears had more offensive boards (17) than the Crimson had total rebounds.
"We talked about that if they sat in the zone, which they did, that we should punish them on the boards" said Boyle. "Ashley and Devanei did a good job of that early on."
Cal faces Arkansas State Sunday at 5 p.m. in the championship game of the Contra Costa Times Classic. Arkansas State advanced to the title game with a 90-71 win over San Jose State in today's second game.
Adrianne Davie and Rudy Sims paced ASU with 28 and 25 points, respectively. Brittany Helm led the Spartans with 14 points.
The Bears won the 2004 and 2005 Contra Costa Times Classics.