Dec. 4, 2011
BERKELEY - Freshman forward Reshanda Gray was named the MVP of the Cal Classic, presented by DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina, scoring 23 points in the championship game to help lead the Bears to a 70-48 victory over the UNLV Lady Rebels. Freshman guard Brittany Boyd flirted with a triple double with 7 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.
The Bears scored the first seven points of the game, with junior center Talia Caldwell getting a pair of layups and an and-one to help the cause. UNLV pulled within two, 8-6, on a three pointer with 16:45 left in the first half, but the Bears answered 13 seconds later with a layup by sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon.
The Bears kept pounding the ball inside, with Boyd racking up eight first half assists and Caldwell and Gray combining for 27 points as the Bears took a 44-24 lead into the locker room.
In addition to her eight assists, Boyd also scored a pair of field goals. In all, the freshman had a hand in 11 of Cal's first 17 baskets.
The second half began as a tight defensive and very physical battle with the two teams combining for two made field goals in the first six minutes of the second half, with both teams taking multiple trips to the line.
The game finally opened up again when junior guard Layshia Clarendon grabbed the ball from a UNLV player, raced down the court, and pulled up for a jumper at the free throw line, giving Cal a 53-31 lead with 13:53 left in the game.
UNLV would only come as close as an 18 point-deficit with just under eight minutes remaining, but free throws from Clarendon got Cal back up to a 20 point lead. Boyd immediately stole the ball back and added another two. After another UNLV turnover, Cal got another opportunity and two looks at the basket. Sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert was fouled on the second o-board. After she missed the front end of a one-and-one, Brandon pulled in the rebound, giving Cal another shot. After another miss and another O-board, the Bears' fourth in a span of 30 seconds, Sherbert finally got the ball in the hoop, capping the 6-0 run, to give Cal a 61-37 lead with 5:45 remaining.
The Bears held on for the 70-48 victory and the Cal Classic, presented by DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina, tournament title.
"I was really pleased with our demeanor, our effort, how we came out today as a collective unit," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "I thought our defense was really solid for most of the 40 minutes. I thought we made life tough for UNLV, which is a potent scoring team. They had only lost one game coming in. I thought we had some fun on offense at times. We need to continue to get better and not have lulls, but when you have players like Brittany [Boyd] and Reshanda [Gray}, it is fun sometimes to just let them go within the context of what we are trying to run and just watch them make plays."
Gray was named the tournament MVP. She followed up her double double against CSU Bakersfield (13 points, 10 rebounds) with the first 20-point performance of her career. She scored 23 points, going 8-for-12 from the field and 7-for-9 from the stripe. She also had four rebounds, a block, and a steal, all in 17 minutes of playing time.
"The best part of playing basketball is to have fun," said Gray. "Last week, I had a down week, especially with Sunday's game against Virginia. I knew I had to pick it up. I had to get my mojo back. I kept telling myself that I was going to have a good game. It's great playing with Brittany, but not only her. It's great playing with the rest of our point guards, too."
Boyd was named to the All-Tournament team, her second straight All-Tournament honor. She flirted with a triple double with seven points, nine rebounds, and nine assists against UNLV.
"We have a group that embraces what we ask them to do. For Brittany, that is finding people in transition," Gottlieb said. "I told the bigs, run the floor and she will get it to you. Obviously no one catches and finishes on the move better than Gray."
Also being named to the All-Tournament team were Kiara Etienne (Prairie View A&M), Lauren Carter (CSU Bakersfield), Mia Bell (UNLV), and Kelli Thompson (UNLV).
UNLV came into the game as the top rebounding team in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 9.1 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Cal, the Pac-12's top team in rebounding margin, outboarded the Rebels 50-32.
Cal's defense allowed just 15 field goals and a 25.4 shooting percentage with only one player on the team with more than two field goals.
With the win, Cal improves to 6-2. UNLV is handed just its second loss of the season, falling to 7-2.
The Bears will be back in action on Thursday, Dec. 8 when they travel to Moraga to take on Saint Mary's. The Bears will be back at Haas Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 10, hosting Santa Clara.