Feb. 9, 2013
Even on a relatively quiet night, Clarendon's presence on the court is a sense of comfort to her coach and teammates.
Clarendon scored 18 points and played all 40 minutes in California's 66-53 win over ASU on Friday, extending the Bears' longest winning streak of the season and keeping them in a first-place tie in the Pac-12.
"It's not that I'm worried when she's not on the floor," Gottlieb said of Clarendon, Cal's leading scorer. "But we are obviously in our best rhythm when she is on the floor."
Gennifer Brandon added 10 points and 15 rebounds, Talia Caldwell scored 14 points and Brittany Boyd had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead the Bears (20-2, 10-1) to their eighth straight win.
California also matched the 2008-09 team for the best record in school history after 22 games.
Clarendon, who went 8 of 11 from the floor, scored only six points after halftime. She stayed on the court, however, and kept Cal's offense running after the Bears got off to a sluggish start in the first half.
"Tonight our energy was a little low," Clarendon said. "We kind of had to drag each other along. Maybe stuff the fans don't see but we know internally."
Caldwell, who went over 1,000 points for her career, helped pick up the slack. The senior center, who was averaging only five points through Cal's first nine conference games, went 6 for 6 from the floor and scored six points late in the second half when the Bears pulled away.
Joy Burke had 16 points and five rebounds for Arizona State. The Sun Devils (11-12, 3-8) have lost four straight and six of seven. Arizona State, which trailed by as many as 18, couldn't keep up with the quicker, more aggressive Bears after giving Cal a brief scare in the first half.
It won't get any easier for Sun Devils coach Charli Turner-Thorne's team, either. Arizona State plays at No. 4 Stanford on Sunday, making it back-to-back games against the top two teams in the conference.
"We're a young team and we're learning how to just stay with things and play through our (mistakes)," Turner-Thorne said. "Offensively we went 1 of 8 to start both halves. That makes it tough."
Brandon's 27th career double-double was pivotal in helping the Bears overcome the loss of key reserve Reshanda Gray, who missed her third consecutive game with a hamstring injury.
Boyd also limped off the court midway through the second half after injuring her right ankle but returned to help Cal secure its third straight win over Arizona State.
Cal led by 13 midway through the first half before Haley Videckis scored seven straight points to help Arizona State pull to 23-17.
Clarendon ended the Sun Devils' run with a short jumper, Caldwell added two free throws to reach 1,000 points and Boyd followed with her second 3-pointer. Clarendon later made a 5-footer with 5 seconds left to give the Bears a 36-25 halftime lead.
Arizona State, which missed 13 of its first 15 shots from the floor and committed 10 turnovers in the first half, never recovered.