Nov. 26, 2011
HONOLULU - The California Golden Bears led up until the final minute of their matchup against the No. 24 Texas Longhorns. Even after losing the lead, the Bears had a chance to win with two seconds left, but ended up falling 61-60 in game two of the Waikiki Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown.
"Everyone is disappointed," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "This is not how you want to lose a game. There were things we were happy with, but it is hard right now."
In the early going, the Bears showed no sign of fatigue after only having a 17-hour break since defeating Hawaii the night before.
Junior forward Gennifer Brandon gave Cal the first kickstart, getting an and-one to give Cal a 9-4 lead. Freshman forward Reshanda Gray followed suit on the next possession, converting an and-one of her own to give Cal a 12-4 lead. After another bucket, freshman Brittany Boyd guard got a steal, setting up a shot for the Bears that was emphatically blocked by the Longhorns, but nothing was seemingly going Texas' way. Junior guard Layshia Clarendon scooped up the offensive rebound after the block and passed the ball to sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert who got a wide-open layup to give Cal a 16-4 lead.
The Longhorns hit a three to stop the Cal spurt, but not the fire. Sherbert drained a three to give Cal a 21-7 lead.
The Bears forced Texas to turn the ball over six times in the first eight minutes, converting those turnovers to nine points.
The Longhorns switched up their defense, moving from man to a zone, and the Bears offense went ice cold from the field while the Longhorns went on a 10-0 run. The Bears went nine minutes without a field goal, a drought that was ended by a jumper just inside the three-point line by freshman forward Justine Hartman.
Hartman scored six points in the final four minutes of the first half, helping the Bears take a 30-24 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Longhorns fought back in the second half, pulling to within two, 34-32, when Sherbert drained another three from the corner, seemingly giving the Bears breathing room. Texas countered with a three on the other end, again pulling within two, 37-35, with just over 16 minutes to go.
Strong defense sent the Longhorns into an over-five minute scoring drought. Cal's offense pushed the lead back to ten, 45-35, after with a pull-up jumper by Clarendon followed by a layup by Brittany Boyd with her back to the basket with 11:27 left in the game.
The Longhorns went on an 8-0 run to pull within two, 45-43, when Clarendon drained a three. Once again, Texas immediately answered with a three of its own, making it a 48-46 game with 7:29 remaining.
Texas tied the game, 58-58, on a pair of free throws with 2:28 remaining. The Horns took their first lead of the game, 61-60, with a minute remaining. The Bears missed a layup with 52 seconds remaining and Texas grabbed the rebound. Texas stalled, letting time run down on the shot clock, missing a layup when they finally took a shot.
Clarendon came up with the defensive rebound, giving Cal the ball with 18 seconds on the clock.
After a timeout, Cal had the ball, trailing by one with 17.2 remaining. The Longhorn defense didn't give Cal a clean look at the basket. With time about to expire, Clarendon threw up a shot with two seconds left on the clock, the ball hitting off the rim. Texas pulled in the rebound to secure the 61-60 victory.
"Before dissecting what went right and what went wrong, I really asked the team to really buy into making it about Cal basketball, being one unit, laying it out there," Gottlieb said. "That is what you have to do to beat a great team like Texas. I think we did that. There were just too many mistakes once we took a lead, we didn't get to push that lead. In the second half, they made some tough plays. Some of those were a credit to them and some of those, we had some breakdowns, but overall, it hurts. It is tough."
Clarendon led the Bears with 13 points. She also had five assists and five rebounds. Brandon led the defensive efforts with 11 rebounds.
The Bears fall to 3-2 on the season, with both of those losses coming against teams ranked in the top-25. Texas improves to 4-1 this season.
The Bears will close out the tournament taking on another ranked team in the highly-anticipated match-up with No. 22 Virginia and the Bears former head coach, Joanne Boyle, on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.