Feb. 9, 2012
BERKELEY -The California Golden Bears took a two-game lead in the race for second place in the Pac-12, holding off a late Bruin rally to earn a 67-58 victory over UCLA. Freshman forward Reshanda Gray had her second double double in the last three games with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
After five early ties and five lead changes, the Bears added a six lead change on a feed from freshman point guard Brittany Boyd to junior center Talia Caldwell, giving Cal a 17-16 lead with 9:14 remaining in the game. Freshman forward Reshanda Gray extended the lead two minutes later, scoring a putback to give Cal a 19-16 lead.
After an errant UCLA pass went out of bounds, giving Cal the ball on the turnover, sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe was fouled on the ensuing possession. She extended the Cal lead to five, 23-18, at the stripe. UCLA twice cut into the lead, but the Bears responded with a jumper from Jemerigbe and a floater in the lane from Boyd to keep the margin at five.
The Bears led 27-22 with three minutes left in the half, but could not score in the final three minutes. The Bruins made two baskets in the final three minutes, narrowing the Cal lead to one, 27-26, at the break.
Cal came out of the break inspired with Gray scoring a layup seven seconds into the half. After a missed three by UCLA, the Bears raced down the floor with junior guard Layshia Clarendon scoring a transition layup to put the Bears back up five, 31-26. After the Bruins turned the ball over on a shot clock violation, Gray added another score, making it a 33-26 game.
Cal took advantage of another shot clock violation, converting on the other end with a Clarendon jumper to give Cal a nine-point lead, 37-28, their biggest of the contest to that point. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert a little over a minute later gave the Bears a ten-point lead, 40-30, with just under 16 minutes left to play.
The Bears extended the lead to 14, 57-43, on a slick pass from Boyd to Gray in the low post with just over nine minutes left in the game.
The Bears, in the span of the next six minutes, only missed one shot, but committed eight turnovers, with the Bruins taking advantage to pull within two, 57-55. A Boyd jumper put an end to the 12-0 Bruin run, giving Cal a 59-55 lead with 2:43 left in the game.
The Bears still had a four-point lead, 60-56, with 1:10 on the clock when Clarendon was fouled, sending her to the line for a one-and-one. She made both, putting Cal up six, 62-56, going into the final minute. After UCLA missed a pair of free throws, Caldwell came up with the rebound. She was quickly fouled, going to the line to make one of her two free throws. UCLA got the rebound, with guard Thea Lemberger getting a good look at a three-point shot, but missed. Sherbert grabbed the rebound, dishing the ball to Boyd who was fouled. Boyd made both of her free throws, extending the Cal lead to nine, 65-56, with 40 seconds remaining. After another UCLA miss and a Cal rebound, Gray added two more points at the stripe to put the game out of reach at 67-56 with 29 seconds remaining.
The Bruins hit a late layup to close out the game, 67-58.
"UCLA does a really good job of making you play ugly a little bit and we acquiesced to that for about thirty minutes, with the exception of the first ten minutes of the second half," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "But I love that our team was able to grind it out in the areas that we needed to, against a team that is really tough and talented and then obviously we were able to get separation by doing what we needed to do at the start of the second half with some adjustments. I am excited to get the win and I think it's a big one to get some separation in this conference and we will get ready for Saturday."
The Bears had one of their better free throw shooting game of the season, making 70.6 percent of their shots (12-of-17) while the Bruins went 10-for-19 from the stripe (52.6 percent).
Cal also continued their domination on the boards, outrebounding the Bruins 42-28.
Reshanda Gray had a team-high 17 points with a career-high 14 rebounds for her third double double of the season, and her second in the last three games.
With the win, the Bears gain some separation in the Pac-12 standings, holding a two-game lead over third-place UCLA. Cal also matches their win total from last season, winning their 18th game of the year, improving to 18-6 and 9-3 in the Pac-12. UCLA falls to 12-11 and 7-5 in the Pac-12. The victory snaps a streak of seven straight losses against the Bruins dating back to the 2008-09 season.
The Bears will close out the current homestand on Saturday, Feb. 11 when they host the USC Trojans, one of the teams that the Bears lost to at the start of Pac-12 play. The game will be carried live as the national game on Fox Sports Net and will be carried locally on CSN Bay Area. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.
Saturday's game will be a Cal Kids Day with general admission tickets for all youth 12th grade and younger priced at just $1. The normal Cal Kids Days activities, such as face painting, poster making, and the bling station, will be located in the Club Room and will take place from 6:30 until 8 p.m. There will also be a post-game autograph session.