March 17, 2011
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -
The California Golden Bears opened up the 2011 Women's National Invitation Tournament with a 74-60 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs in San Luis Obispo. Talia Caldwell had her eighth double double of the season with 12 points and 17 rebounds.
The Bears started the game in an 8-2 hole, but a pair of offensive rebounds and layups by sophomore guard Eliza Pierre got Cal back into the game. A layup from sophomore center Talia Caldwell on a pass from sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon tied the game at 8 with just over 14 to play. Cal took their first lead of the game, 10-8, on a free throw line jumper from freshman guard Afure Jemerigbe.
After four ties and four lead changes, Cal went up 25-23 on a layup from Pierre. Senior guard Rachelle Federico followed with a three-pointer from the right corner to give Cal a 28-23 advantage with 2:21 left in the half. Clarendon drained a 17-foot jump shot with just over a minute to play to give Cal a seven point lead. Pierre had another layup to give Cal a 32-23 lead. Cal Poly scored five straight in the final 50 seconds of the half to cut the Cal lead to four, 32-28, at the break.
Both teams scored on their first three possessions of the second half, but a three from freshman guard Lindsay Sherbert helped Cal maximize their possessions and take a 39-33 lead. Clarendon hit a three to extend the lead to 42-33. Poly answered on the other end with a three from their leading scorer Rachel Clancy to make it a 42-34 game with 16 and a half left in the game.
After having an eight-point lead cut down to six three times, Cal finally extended the lead out to double digits, 53-42, on a layup by Jemerigbe with 12 minutes to play. After holding a double digit lead for nearly seven minutes, the Mustangs threatened to cut it to single digits with a three-pointer at the 5:30 mark, but a pair of Clarendon free throws kept the Bear lead at 13, 64-51. The Mustangs would not threaten again as Cal held on for the victory.
"I am just excited to get our first win of the post season" said head coach Joanne Boyle. "It is all about survive and advance. Give credit to Cal Poly. I thought they did a great job. They run and they really push the ball well. They really got us kind of back on our heels. I thought they did a great job and came out really prepared. I am just happy to come away with the win."
Talia Caldwell had her eighth double double of the season with 12 points and 17 rebounds, including 8 offensive rebounds. Layshia Clarendon had her fourth 20-point game of the season with 20 points. Clarendon also had six assists and two steals along with three rebounds.Afure Jemerigbe had 15 points, going 6-for-8 from the field. Eliza Pierre scored 12 points with 9 rebounds, two assists, and zero turnovers.
The Bears will advance to play the Colorado Buffaloes who defeated UC Riverside 71-62 in their first round game Thursday night in Boulder. Cal and Colorado will square off on Monday, March 21 at 7 p.m. MT in Boulder.