March 12, 2010
LOS ANGELES -
The California Golden Bears proved the third time was the charm when facing the Arizona State Sun Devils by earning a 60-50 victory in the Pac-10 Tournament Semifinals. Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 15 points to lead the Bears.
The Golden Bears (18-12) had lost the two regular season match-ups against the Arizona State Sun Devils (17-13), both coming in close games where Cal led late into the game only to see ASU walk away with the victory. This time around, it was the Golden Bears who put on a pair of come-from-behind charges.
ASU led 24-17 with 1:24 left in the first half. A steal by senior guard Natasha Vital and subsequent ASU foul sent Vital to the line, where she hit a pair of freethrow. After an ASU miss, freshman center Talia Caldwell made a transition layup and a freethrow to even the score, 24-24, erasing the Sun Devil lead in 35 seconds. The Sun Devils hit a late bucket to take a 26-24 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Cal tied the game 32 seconds in on a basket by freshman guard Layshia Clarendon, setting up a sequence of two ties and four lead changes through the first half of the period. With 8:23 remaining in the game, Vital took a charge, to give Cal the ball, trailing 39-37. Freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth converted on the other end, laying the ball in to tie the game at 39. After Stallworth blocked a shot on the opposite end, she put the Bears up two, 41-39, with 7:27 left in the game. Cal built the lead up to seven, 48-41, on a three-pointer by Vital with 48-41 remaining. Cal remained in control of the tempo and the game, increasing their lead to double-digits with two minutes remaining. They held on for the 60-50 victory.
Cal's second half comeback was fueled by the play of DeNesha Stallworth, Alexis Gray-Lawson and Natasha Vital. Stallworth scored 12 points after the break, with Gray-Lawson adding nine and Vital seven. Gray-Lawson led all scorers in the game with 15 total points. Stallworth had 14. Freshman forward Gennifer Brandon led the defense with 10 rebounds.
The win advances Cal to the semifinal game where they will take on the Stanford Cardinal. The semifinal will be played on Saturday, March 13 at 2:30 p.m. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net (locally on Comcast Bay Area).