Nov. 15, 2009
BERKELEY - Freshman DeNesha Stallworth scored 17 points to help the No. 13/18 California Golden Bears open their season with a 100-43 win over Idaho State on Sunday night at Haas Pavilion.
Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson set the tone, draining a three-pointer fourteen seconds into the contest, launching a 29-4 run that left Idaho State mired in a deep hole that they never managed to come back from. The quick Cal team also applied constant pressure in the game, forcing 34 turnovers and turning those into 49 Bear points. The Bears also used their size, outscoring ISU 46-10 in the paint.
Freshman guard Eliza Pierre drew a pair of fouls and converted four freethrow attempts in the final minute to push the Bears score to the century mark. This was the first time the Bears had scores 100 points in a game since Jan. 6, 1996 and the 15th time overall in Cal history that the team reached triple digits. The 100 points is also the most ever points scored by a Cal team in a game Haas Pavilion, eclipsing the previous high of 99 points scored against Washington State on December 30, 2007.
"I think it was a great first game for us,"said Head Coach Joanne Boyle. "We tried to come out and be aggressive and press a little bit, play a little match-up zone and man. Our defense is way ahead of our offense right now, so I think the defense really got us jumpstarted."
Freshmen forwards DeNesha Stallworth and Gennifer Brandon got the nod in the starting lineup. Stallworth. who scored 21 points in the exhibition game against Vanguard, was equally dominant in her first official game as a Cal Bear, scoring 17 points, hitting 6-of-8 field goal attempts, including pulling up for a three-pointer from the top of the arc. Stallworth also had three assists and eight rebounds. Brandon scored 10 points with 8 rebounds.
"I was very nervous," said Stallworth of her Bear debut. "But I just looked at it like any other game. If I just go out and play basketball and work hard, it will all just come to me."
Senior guards Natasha Vital and Alexis Gray-Lawson both had very solid performances. Vital scored seven-straight points late in the second half en routs to a 16-point performance in just 17 minutes of play. Gray-Lawson also scored 16, including hitting three three-pointers in her 20 minutes on the court.
"When I have to play a lot of minutes, I sort of had to pace myself to try to save my legs for the rest of the game," said Vital. "Only having to play a shorter amount of time, my legs felt fresh and I was able to give 100 percent the whole time I was out there."
The Bears will be back in action on Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion when they host Saint Mary's. Tipoff will be at 7:00 p.m. You can listen to the game action live on CalBears.com.