Dec. 21, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif.-Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson recorded a season-high 25 points to lead No. 12 California to a 74-41 victory over Kansas Friday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears improved to 9-2 with their 29th consecutive home non-conference victory, while the Jayhawks fell to 9-2.
"I thought it was a great game for us," said head coach Joanne Boyle, who recorded her 50th win at Cal. "It was a team win. We got everybody in. Our guards really stepped up. They were really going to be focused on Ashley (Walker). Rama (N'diaye) was out with foul trouble, Dev's (Hampton) out and Ashley is not playing her best game, and somehow they find a way for someone to step up."
Gray-Lawson, who tore her ACL in her right knee last season in a Dec. 10 win at Kansas, posted 16 of her points in the first half and shot 8-of-13 overall from the field for the game, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Sophomore guards Natasha Vital tallied a season-high 14 points, and sophomore guard Lauren Greif added 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds, as the Bears returned to action after an 11-day break for final exams.
Both teams were playing without one of their top players. Junior forward/center Devanei Hampton, the 2006-07 Pac-10 Player of the Year, did not dress after experiencing swelling in her surgically repaired right knee earlier today. Cal anticipates having Hampton for the Pac-10 opener against Washington Dec. 28.
Kansas guard Danielle McCray, who leads her team with 16.6 ppg and 8.0 rpg, has missed the Jayhawks' last three contests due to a stress reaction in her shin.
Cal opened up a 12-0 lead with 15:16 to play in the first half behind eight points from Gray-Lawson. Kansas scored the next five points, but Cal answered with a 9-0 run, capped by a spin move in the key by junior forward/center Ashley Walker to go up 21-5 with 9:11 left in the half.
The Jayhawks closed to within 10 at 26-16 with LaChelda Jacobs and Sade Morris contributing four points each.
The Bears ended the half on an 11-3 run, including the last five points by Vital, to grab its largest lead of the first half at 37-19.
Kansas tallied the first four points of the second half to trail by only 14 points at 37-23, but after that, Cal posted an 8-0 run to regain control of the game for good. Walker converted a three-point play to extend the Bears lead to 45-23 with 16:19 remaining in the contest. A fast-break layup by Gray-Lawson gave the Bears' their largest advantage at that point at 52-28 about three minutes later.
The Jayhawks could never mount a serious come-back-effort and trailed by at least 19 points the rest of the night.
Gray-Lawson recorded a three-point play with 2:44 left on the clock to push the Bears' margin to 30 points at 66-36. She then left the game to a standing ovation after posting the second most points in her Cal career. Her career high of 30 points came at Stanford Jan. 14, 2006.
Vital drained two free throws to help Cal earn its largest lead of the game at 74-39 with 22 ticks remaining. The 2006-07 first-team All-Freshman honoree was 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Cal shot 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) from the free throw line after struggling in that department in recent games.
Morris paced Kansas with 10 points. The Bears, who began today with a Pac-10-leading 56.8 ppg scoring defense, held the Jayhawks to a season-low 41 points and to a 30.6 field goal percentage. The 41 points are also the fewest a Cal opponent has registered this season. Cal hit 44.6 percent from the field.
Cal also committed a season-low 13 turnovers while forcing Kansas into 23 miscues.
Before the game, Walker was honored with a commemorative game ball from her 1000th-point game. The Modesto product became the 18th player in Bears' history to reach the 1000-point milestone with her 25 points against UC Riverside Nov. 15. Walker, who had nine points tonight, moved into 10th place in Cal history in scoring with 1149 points, surpassing Jennie Leander's (1996-99) 1144 points.
Cal returns to action against Washington Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears completed their non-conference slate at 9-2 to equal last season's record through 11 games.