Nov. 5, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - Sophomore forward/center Ashley Walker posted 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 21 California to an 81-63 victory over Love and Basketball in the Golden Bears' final exhibition game Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. Last week, Cal defeated Melbourne Roos, 81-55, in its first exhibition.
"I was happier with our defensive performance overall," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "I don't think we had as many lulls. We need to do a better job understanding the offense and what we're looking for. We scored out of a lot of broken plays, which was great, but we didn't always score out of the offense. I want to see them work through more of the offensive options and not necessarily rely on broken plays."
Walker, who also had a double-double against Melbourne Roos, scored 10 of her game-high 23 points in the first half to lead a quartet of double-figure scorers for the Bears. Sophomore guard Alexis Gray-Lawson posted 11 points, and senior guard Keanna Levy added 11 points off of the bench. Freshman forward/center Rama N'diaye contributed 10 points.
Love and Basketball held an early 6-2 lead, but Cal shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half to help it open up a 24-11 edge with 8:35 left in the opening half. A layup by sophomore forward Shantrell Sneed with under four minutes remaining until halftime gave Cal its biggest lead of the game at 41-23.
After Cal led 45-29 at the break, six different Love and Basketball players scored to wither the Bears' margin down to five at 51-46 with 10:20 on the clock. Cal freshman guard Natasha Vital responded with her second three-pointer of the game, but Love and Basketball's Jessica Cheek immediately answered with one of her two treys.
A jumper from N'diaye then ignited an 8-2 run that pushed the Bears' advantage back to double digits at 64-53 at the 6:08 mark. Love and Basketball couldn't get any closer than nine points the rest of the way, and Cal's offense finished strong, capped by five points from Walker and a jumper from freshman guard Lauren Greif.
Cal held a commanding 45-20 rebounding advantage, with Greif second on the team with seven boards. Keyed by Walker's 10-of-16 effort, the Bears shot 50.8 percent from the floor, while holding their opponent to 44.4 percent. Additionally, Cal shined from three-point range (57.1, 4-of-7) and from the foul line (93.8, 15-of-16).
"Ashley had good back-to-back games," said Boyle. "I was much happier this week with Ashley's defensive performance. She was our go-to player tonight."
Kim Gipson and Aja Parham tallied 13 points each to lead Love and Basketball, a team comprised of former collegiate stars. Tanisha Johnson added 11 points, and Cheeks had 10. Former Golden Bear Amber White notched six points, one rebound and two assists as a starter.
"It was good for us to have to go against bigger players," said Boyle. "To go against kids that have played Division I only makes you better."
Cal opens the 2006-07 regular season against Saint Mary's Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.