No. 18 Bears Down Gators, 88-60
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/17/2006

Nov. 17, 2006

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MALIBU, Calif. - Sophomore forward/center Devanei Hampton posted 19 points and nine rebounds off the bench to lead No. 18 California to an 88-60 victory over Florida Friday night on the opening day of the Timeout for HIV/AIDS Classic at the Firestone Fieldhouse. The Golden Bears improved to 2-0 as five players scored in double figures and the team shot 64.9 percent from the floor, while the Gators dropped to 1-2.

"It was a great win," Cal head coach Joanne Boyle said. "We got Dev back (for more minutes), and so I changed some of my rotations. It was really good to have her in there to solidify our post game and have her back with Ashley (Walker). We put Rama (N'diaye) in that rotation a little bit. It was a good overall effort. The only thing I'm disappointed in is our turnovers (24 total). If we're going to have a chance to win tomorrow night against one of these teams, we're going to have to do a better job taking care of the ball."

Hampton, who led Cal in scoring at 15.4 ppg as a rookie, continues to work her way back to full strength after having surgery on her knee over the summer.

Sophomore forward/center Ashley Walker posted 17 points and eight rebounds, and sophomore guard Alexis Gray-Lawson contributed 13 points. Rounding out the Bears leading scorers were senior guard Keanna Levy and freshman guard Lauren Greif with 10 points each. Levy matched her career highs for points and rebounds (8) tonight.

"We're a harder team to stop when we have more people putting up some numbers and not just one person," Boyle said. "Devanei came in and played 13 minutes and had 19 points and nine boards. When she went out of the game, I don't think there was a let down offensively. Other people stepped up."

After Florida led 5-2 early on Cal rallied with an 8-0 spurt, capped by a layup from Hampton, to grab a 10-5 advantage.

The Gators trailed 10-8 with 13:38 left to play until halftime before the Bears' offense caught fire. Cal went on a 19-5 run to grab a 29-13 edge, keyed by two three-pointers from Greif and a three-point play from Hampton.

Cal, which hit 72.4 percent of its shots in the first half, built a 25-point lead at 46-21 with under three minutes on the clock following a layup by Walker and a jumper by N'diaye, a freshman forward/center.

Florida narrowed the gap to 48-30 about a minute into the second half after trailing 48-27 at the break, but Cal wouldn't let the Gators get any closer. Gray-Lawson poured in five of her points, including one of Cal's five three-pointers, to help her team build its biggest lead of the game at that point at 57-31 with 17:34 to go.

Walker caught fire in the second half, registering nine of her 11 points on a variety of post moves and jumpers to lead the Bears' second-half scoring effort.

Cal finished the game strong, extending its lead to 83-55 on a three-pointer by junior forward Krista Foster with 3:58 on the clock and eventually built a 30-point edge on a layup by Levy in the final minute of play.

Marshae Dotson and Sha Brooks led Florida with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

The Bears held a commanding 46-25 rebounding advantage and limited the Gators to a 32.3 field goal percentage.

"We knew they were guard oriented," Boyle said. "Typically, they only put one post on the floor at a time, sometimes two. We knew that could be an advantage. We told the players we could only allow one shot. We did a really good job of that."

Cal plays host Pepperdine in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Waves upset No. 12 Rutgers, 75-73, in overtime in the second game tonight.