Dec. 21, 2009
LONG BEACH, CALIF. -
California Golden Bears head coach Joanne Boyle earned the 100th victory of her Cal career in a 80-71 victory over the Long Beach State 49ers Monday night, Dec. 21, in Long Beach.
Cal took over the game in the first half, pressuring the 49ers into five turnovers in a span of 2:21 midway through the period. The Bears were converting the opportunities on the other end. Led by 12 first half points by freshman Layshia Clarendon, Cal took a 36-26 lead into the locker room at the break.
In the second half, Long Beach State hung in the game, pulling within five, 47-42, with 11:45 left in the half when senior guard Natasha Vital drained a three-pointer to give Cal some breathing room.Back-to-back three-pointers by DeNesha Stallworth and Clarendon put the Bears up by 12, 62-50, with eight minutes remaining. The 49ers clawed their way back into the game at the freethrow line, making 16-of-17 from the charity stripe, with all but two of those coming in the second half.
Cal, playing with just eight players, had both of their posts playing with four fouls with six and a half minutes remaining in the half. Despite being shorthanded and burdened by foul trouble, Cal managed to hold on for their fifth victory of the year, improving to 5-4.
Clarendon, a Southern California native from nearby San Bernardino, had a breakout game, leading the Bears with 21 points, the most in a single game in her young collegiate career. It was just the third time this season a Bear player had scored more than 20 points in a game, with Alexis Gray-Lawson having a pair of 20+ point performances this season. Clarendon also had six assists, the most in a single game this season by any Bear player.
"First, I want to give credit to Lexi (Alexis Gray-Lawson)," said Clarendon. "Her commanding that box-and-one opened things up for all of us so much more. If she wasn't doing that, I wouldn't have gotten all of those open looks. Someone had to make the shots. It just happened to be me tonight."
Stallworth scored 19 points, tying her collegiate career high. Vital matched her season high with 17 points. Talia Caldwell posted the first double-double of her career with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The victory was the 100th in the Cal career of head coach Joanne Boyle. Boyle becomes just the second coach in Cal history to achieve triple digit wins with the Bears. Boyle has a career record of 100-39 in her four plus seasons with the Bears. Her overall career record, including her three seasons with Richmond, improves to 167-68.
"Wins like that come because of the team," said Boyle when asked about her 100th win. "The staff prepares, we try to do our job. And the kids have to go out and play. Coming off of a tough loss, it was great to see them play with heart. For me, it was seeing how much passion they were going to play with tonight, how much heart. And they did that tonight."
Cal will take a short break for Christmas before heading back to Southern California to compete in the Surf 'n Slam Tournament in San Diego. They open the tournament on Dec. 28 when they take on Boston College at 8 p.m. Live audio of the game will be streamed on CalBears. com.