Nov. 3, 2009
The No. 18 California Golden Bears women's basketball team saw their first live game action of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 3, earning a 101-81 victory over the Vanguard Lions in an exhibition game played at Haas Pavilion. Freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth scored a game-high 21 points while fellow freshman forward Brenna Heater grabbed 17 rebounds.
Vanguard, the No. 2 ranked NAIA team in the preseason poll, had a warm up on Sunday night when they took on the Stanford Cardinal. The Lions' three-point shooting kept them in the game through the first half, with the Bears clinging to a 46-42 margin after twenty minutes of play. The second half was dominated by the home team with the Bears size and quickness pushing them out into a more comfortable lead and then never looking back.
The exhibition game, which provided a free opportunity for Cal fans to get a glimpse at this year's squad, was the first look at the freshmen. Freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth gave the fans something to get excited about, scoring 21 points with 9 rebounds. Stallworth was technically coming off the bench in the game with forwards Talia Caldwell and Gennifer Brandon getting the call in the starting lineup, but all six active freshmen saw appreciable playing time. Stallworth tallied her double-digit points in 26 minutes on the court. Freshman forward Brenna Heater, also coming off the bench, pulled in 17 rebounds (11 defensive and six O-boards), and scored 9 points in 22 minutes on the floor.
"My first game was very exciting," said Stallworth of her Bear preview. "It really opened my eyes to see what college basketball is really like. I loved it!"
The senior guards also had solid performances. Gray-Lawson scored 18 points, hitting four three-pointers (4-for-7) with Vital right behind her with 13 points and four assists. Senior guard Lauren Greif had eight assists.
"It was good to get a game underneath our belts. Turn the lights on. Get some people in the building," said Head Coach Joanne Boyle. "It's nice to just sort of roll the ball out and get six freshman to get a taste of it."
The Vanguard game is the Bears lone exhibition of the season. Their next true action comes on Sunday, Nov. 15 in their season-opener when they host Idaho State. The 5 p.m. game is a Youth Day with general admission tickets for all youth 12th grade and younger free for the game.