Nov. 27, 2011
HONOLULU - The California Golden Bears earned their first win over a ranked opponent since the 2009 post season with a 59-50 victory over the No. 22 Virginia Cavaliers and former Bear head coach Joanne Boyle. Junior guard Layshia Clarendon had a double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Clarendon went on a 7-0 run early in the first half to break a 7-7 tie. Clarendon drained a three from the left corner and followed with one from the right, then added a free throw to push her Bears into the lead.
Freshman forward Justine Hartman gave Cal its first ten-point lead. Hartman overpowered a defender to score a turnaround jumper, giving Cal a 21-11 lead with just over five minutes left in the half. After Virginia countered on the other end, Hartman again worked hard against a defender for another jumper in the paint to give Cal a 23-13 advantage.
The Bears again went to the outside shot, passing around the Virginia zone defense until they got sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert open in the left corner. Sherbert drained an arching rainbow three to give Cal a 28-16 lead right before the half. The Bears went into the break up 30-18.
After getting a defensive stop to start the second half, Clarendon drained a three to give Cal a 33-18 lead. The Cavaliers offense heated up as well, with Virginia getting the deficit back to single digits, 35-26 with 15:30 left in the game. The Cavs made it a six point game, 41-35, with a three-pointer with just under 11 to play.
Cal's lead was down to one, 42-41, with just over six to play, when freshman guard Brittany Boyd got a steal and Cal, after a pair of misses and offensive layups, got a third-chance put-back by sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon to preserve the lead. After a pair of defensive stops, Clarendon got a feed to Hartman in the low post to push the lead to five, 46-41.
Cal took a 50-43 lead on a breakaway by Boyd. Boyd passed to Clarendon who dished back to Boyd for the bucket with just over three to play.
After Virginia turned the ball over, Cal worked against the zone to find Brandon in the low post to extend the lead to nine, 52-43, with 2:35 remaining.
Virginia's Ariana Moorer drained a three with one minute remaining, narrowing the Cal lead to 52-48. Junior guard Eliza Pierre was immediately fouled, making one of two free throws for a 53-48 advantage with 52.7 on the clock. Sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe got a steal with 37 seconds left and was immediately fouled, going to the line for a one-and-one. She hit the first, missed the second, but junior center Talia Caldwell got the rebound. Pierre ended up with the ball and was fouled. With Cal in the double bonus, Pierre sank both to put Cal up, 56-48 with 32 seconds left.
The Bears hung on for the 59-50 victory.
The win was Cal's first victory over a top-25 ranked team since the Boyle coached Bears defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 99-73, in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. It was the first victory over a top-25 team for any of the players on the team. It was also the first victory over a top-25 team for head coach Lindsay Gottlieb in her career after she went 0-3 against top-25 teams during her tenure at Santa Barbara.
"It is a relief to know that you finally got it," said Clarendon. "It's almost like tears. Maybe I will cry later. Especially after two heartbreakers against Rutgers and Texas. We could easily be 6-0 right now, but it was such a relief to finally get one."
The victory was also the first for Gottlieb over her mentor, Joanne Boyle and a victory for the team which includes nine players who were on teams coached by Boyle. Of the 13 players on the roster, only Justine Hartman was not recruited and signed by Boyle.
"For me, personally, I wouldn't be where I am and have this job that I love without Joanne Boyle," said Gottlieb. "I felt that the best way to honor that was coach this game like I know how, prep like I know how. Treat it like it is a game against a top-25 team and for us to take steps towards becoming the team we want to be. I was really proud of our team and how they came out today and was thankful to get a win over a very good Virginia team."
The Bears improve to 4-2 on the season. Virginia falls to 5-2.
Clarendon had her first double double of the season (fourth of her career), with game-highs in points (16) and rebounds (11). Hartman continued the dominance of the Cal bench, scoring 12 points. Gennifer Brandon had eight points with nine rebounds.
The Bears return from Hawaii on Monday night. They will be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 3 when they host their own tournament, the Doubletree by Hilton Berkeley Marina Classic. The Bears will take on Cal State Bakersfield in the opening game and then face either UNLV or Prairie View A&M in the tournament finale on Sunday, Dec. 4.