Jan. 23, 2010
CORVALLIS, ORE. -
The California Golden Bears went into double overtime to win their fourth game in a row, a 79-75 victory over the Oregon State Beavers Saturday night in Corvallis. Alexis Gray-Lawson scored a school-record 47 points to lead the Bears.
Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson scored five points in the first 2:15 of the game to help propel Cal to an early 7-0 lead. After missing their first seven shots, the Oregon State Beavers found their stroke, mounting a 10-0 run to take a 10-7 lead, the first of seven lead changes in the first 20 minutes. Gray-Lawson came up with two huge swishes in the final minute of the first period to twice pull Cal within a point, a deficit they would take to the locker room, trailing 32-31 at the break.
The Beavers held the advantage through the first eight minutes of the second half. After Cal came back to tie, Gray-Lawson gave Cal their first lead of the second half by draining a three to make it a 45-41 game with 11:50 remaining. After falling back behind, Gray-Lawson tied the game, 51-51 on her fourth three of the game. Freshman forward Gennifer Brandon stole the ball back. Gray-Lawson drew a foul to put Cal up 53-51. The two teams traded leads back and forth with Cal taking a 60-57 lead with a minute and a half remaining on a pair of Brandon free throws. Brandon's freethrows broke up a run of 12 straight Cal points scored by Gray-Lawson.
The Bears went into the final minute of play with the ball and that same 60-57 lead. Cal turned the ball over on a shot clock violation. Oregon State drove the length of the court in 12 seconds, scoring a layup to pull within a point, 60-59. Gray-Lawson threw up a shot beneath the basket with the shot clock expiring on the subsequent possession. The ball clanked off the iron and was pulled down by the Beavers, giving them the ball on Cal's baseline with 16.8 on the clock.
The Beavers, trailing by a point, fed the ball to their post, El Sara Greer, who was fouled and sent to the line with 7.5 remaining. She clanked the first off the back of the rim. She made the second to tie the game, 60-60.
Cal got the ball inbounded, with senior guard Natasha Vital driving the length of the court. Her layup under the basket with two seconds remaining was blocked, sending the game into overtime.
In the first overtime period, Gray-Lawson hit a pair of freethrows to give Cal a 66-65 lead. Vital induced an Oregon State turnover, giving the ball back to Cal with 1:28 remaining. After Cal turned the ball back over to Oregon with exactly a minute remaining. Gray-Lawson took a charge with 37.5 seconds remaining to keep OSU off the scoreboard and get the ball back to Cal. On the offensive side of the court, Gray-Lawson was fouled driving to the hoop with 13.3 remaining on the clock.She hit both freethrows to give Cal a three-point lead. The Beavers Talisa Rhea was fouled in the act of shooting a three with 4.3 seconds remaining. She hit all three to tie the game 68-68. Cal's layup on the other end with time expiring missed the mark to send the game to double OT.
In the second overtime, a freethrow by Gray-Lawson gave Cal a 73-70 lead. A quick steal by Eliza Pierre and a dish to Natasha Vital for a layup put the Bears up 75-70 with 2:18 remaining. Cal got a pair of offensive rebounds to hold back-to-back-back possessions, taking time off the clock. Leading 76-71 with 45 seconds remaining, Oregon State took the ball to their offensive end, turning the ball over with 24.6 remaining. Oregon State began fouling the Bears, with Cal holding on for the 79-73 victory.
"I'm so proud of the team, being able to come out again on a roadtrip and get a win," said head coach Joanne Boyle. "Being young but still being able to grind this game out. Lexi kept her head in the game. She played every minute. She put her team on her back and carried it. She won this game for us."
Alexis Gray-Lawson became just the fourth Cal player ever to score 40 or more points in a game. She scored 33 points in regulation (four shy her previous career high of 37), all eight of Cal's points in the first overtime, and six points in the second OT. Twelve of the 14 points she scored in overtime came from the free throw line.
"I am totally exhausted," said Gray-Lawson after the game. "But happy we won. We came here to get a W and that is what we did. You kind of get what the defenses are given you. Most teams tend to put double coverage or triple team me. OSU was playing single coverage so I thought I should just go this time. I was just trying to be aware and get to the basket."
Gray-Lawson tied the school record for most points in a single game with a freethrow made with 20 seconds remaining in the second overtime. She broke the record on a freethreow with 11.6 remaining. The previous record of 45 points was set on Jan. 26, 1987 by Jennifer Bennett in a game against Arizona. Her 47 points was the second-highest single-game total by an NCAA Division I women's basketball player this season. Brittany Carter of Memphis scored 49 points this season in a game against Sacramento State. Gray-Lawson is just the ninth NCAA I woman's basketball player this season to score 40 or more points in a single game.
"They told me I got the school record," Gray-Lawson said with a smile. "I am really excited. Ashley (Walker) has broken every record possible here. I finally got one!"
Her 17 made freethrows tied the single game mark for a Cal player as did her 20 attempts. She also tied the record for field goal attempts (31). Gray-Lawson played all 50 minutes of the game.
Gennifer Brandon had her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
With the victory, the Bears improve to 10-8 overall on the season and move to 4-3 in Conference play. The Beavers fall to 9-8 and 1-6 in the Pac-10.
Cal returns home next week when they host Arizona on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in Haas Pavilion.