California Faces Washington State in Semifinals
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/09/2012

March 9, 2012

LOS ANGELES - The California Golden Bears, the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament, will take on the surprise of the tourney, the No. 11 Washington State Cougars, in the semifinals on Friday, March 9 at 2:30 p.m. at the Staples Center. The game will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports Net and locally on CSN Bay Area.

By advancing to the semifinals, the Bears and Cougars, along with the Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona State Sun Devils, move from playing at the Galen Center to the big stage of playing at the 19,000 seat Staples Center.

The Bears have advanced to six consecutive semifinals, but only once, since the tournament began in 2002, has Cal made it to the finals. Cal and Stanford met in the championship game of the 2008 Tournament, which was held in San Jose, with the Bears falling 56-35.

Last season, the Bears advanced to the semifinal game of the Pac-10 Tournament. Cal, as the No. 6 seed, had to win two games (against Washington, 58-48, and against Arizona State, 48-43) at Galen to make it to the showdown with the No. 2 seed, UCLA, at Staples in the semifinals. The Bruins topped the Bears, 63- 50, in the semis.

The winner of this game will take on the Stanford/ASU victor on Saturday, March 10 at 11:30 a.m. at Staples. The winner of the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament receives the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Bears only played Washington State once this season, with the Bears edging the Cougars, 60-55, in Berkeley. That game featured seven ties and 12 lead changes.

The Bears lead the all-time series against the Cougars, 36-21. Cal had a stretch of 11-straight wins over Washington State until the Cougars swept the Bears last year, with a 77-63 win in Pullman and a 68-66 victory in Berkeley. The Bears and Cougars have only faced one another in the conference tournament once with the Bears earning a 70-52 victory in 2005 in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament in San Jose. The Bears were the No. 8 seed and the Cougars the No. 9 seed that year.

Cal advanced to play the Cougars by taking out the Colorado Buffaloes. The Bears had four players in double figures in the game with Layshia Clarendon scoring a team-high 12 points. Talia Caldwell and Lindsay Sherbert each had 11 with Reshanda Gray adding 10. Sherbert went 3-for-4 from the field with a pair of three-pointers. Caldwell was one board shy of a double double with nine rebounds. The Bears finished the game going 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final minute and 7-for-8 in the final two minutes to secure the victory.

Who's Hot
* Afure Jemerigbe has made seven of her last nine three-point attempts (span of five games).
* Brittany Boyd is 20-of-22 from the free throw line in the last six games. She went 4-for-4 against Colorado
* Reshanda Gray scored 10 points in 20 minutes against Colorado. She scored nine in 19 against Stanford. She is 11-for-13 from the free throw line in the last two games.

PAC-12 Career Rebounders Talia Caldwell had nine rebounds again Colorado, which moved her into the Pac-12's top-50 in career rebounding. She now has 720 career rebounds. She is one rebound shy of passing former Cal player Trisha Stafford (1989-92) who ended her career with 721 boards.

California's Single Season Rebounding Record Gennifer Brandon is 13 rebounds away from tying the Cal all-time single-season rebounding mark of 317, set in 2007-08 by Ashley Walker. Brandon has 304 rebounds this season, making her just the fourth player in Cal history to have 300 or more rebounds in a single season. In addition to Walker, Colleen Galloway (312, 1977-78) and Jill Weddick (300, 1978-79) have also accomplished the feat.

Last Time vs. Washington State The Cougars held a 53-50 lead with 3:38 left in the game. Washington State's forward, Carly Noyes, was fouled with 2:51 left in the game, giving WSU a chance to extend the lead to five. Noyes missed both free throws. Boyd grabbed the rebound, setting up a chance to find freshman forward Reshanda Gray down low to cut the lead to one, 53-52. After Boyd stole the ball away from Perkins, she was fouled and sent to the line, making one free throw to tie the game, 53- 53, with 1:40 left in the game. After she missed the second free throw, Brandon came up with the rebound. Brandon went up for a jumper, but had her shot blocked. Despite the block, Brandon came up with the offensive rebound and made a basket, getting fouled in the process. She hit her free throw to give Cal a three-point lead, 56-53, with 1:32 remaining. On the opposite end of the court, Romberg put up a jump shot, missing, but got fouled as she pulled in the offensive rebound. She hit both free throws to again make it a one-point game, with Cal up 56-55 with 1:16 left on the clock. Brandon missed a layup with 1:02 on the clock, but corralled the rebound and Cal reset the offense, finding Clarendon in front of the hoop as she pulled up for a jumper and made it to give Cal a 58-55 lead with 41 seconds remaining. Romberg tried for a three to tie on the opposite end, missing. Gray came up with the rebound. She dished it off to Clarendon who was fouled and sent to the free throw line. Clarendon made both free throws to put Cal up, 60-55. Perkins threw up a desperation three with four seconds left in the game. She missed, Cal rebounded the ball, and held on for the win. Brittany Boyd again flirted with a triple double with nine points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. She also had four steals. Gennifer Brandon had her seventh double double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Talia Caldwell went 5-for-6 from the field, scoring 12 points. Layshia Clarendon had a huge second half, scoring 13 of her 15 points in the second half. She went 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line in the final 20 minutes.