California Thrives at Home, Downing USC 82-71
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/20/2011

Jan. 20, 2011

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The California Golden Bears improved to 9-1 at home this season with a 82-71 victory over the USC Trojans. Sophomore DeNesha Stallworth had a game-high 21 points for the Bears.

Both California and USC started hot, with both teams scoring on three of their first four possessions. The Bears got four early three-pointers from four different players (freshman guard Lindsay Sherbert, sophomore guard Eliza Pierre, sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon, and freshman guard Mikayla Lyles) to take a 16-12 lead with 14:20 left in the first half. The Trojans retook the lead, edging out to a 20-16 advantage when another three by Clarendon cut the gap to 1, 20-19. After a layup by freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth put Cal back into the lead, another pair of three pointers, this time coming from Sherbert, extended the Cal advantage to 28-24 with 8:46 left in the first.

Cal could not build on the lead, with USC pushing back out ahead, 33-32, on a three of its own with 5:20 left in the half. Cal's eighth three of the period, coming from Lyles in the right corner, put Cal back up 36-33 with four minutes remaining on the clock. The Bears extended their advantage to four, 44-40, with a pair of free throws right before the buzzer put an end to a half that featured three ties and seven lead changes.

After USC retook the lead for a single possession, Cal answered with six straight points, capped by a short jumper by Sherbert, to go back up 52-47 with just under 16 minutes left to play.

After Stallworth stripped USC's Briana Gilbreath of the ball, Lyles hit a three to put the Bears up by 10 at 61-51 with 12:28 to play. The three was the first of the second half, giving Cal its first double digit advantage of the game. Rama N'diaye made a layup right below the basket on the pass from Clarendon, upping Cal's advantage to 65-54.

The Trojans pulled to within seven, 74-67, on a fast break layup after a steal with 1:47 remaining. Clarendon made an easy lay-up from the middle of the key, to which USC's Cassie Harberts responded with a basket of her own, bringing the score to 76-69. Gilbreath fouled Stallworth, who made the front and back ends of her one-and-one to give Cal an eight-point lead. USC's final points of the game came off a layup by Gilbreath with Ashley Corral assisting. With 10.3 seconds remaining in regulation, USC's Jackie Gemelos was called for a technical. Sherbert and Clarendon each made one of their two free throws, bringing Cal's lead to the final score of 82-71.

"We shot the ball with confidence," said head coach Joanne Boyle. "Mikayla [Lyles] came in and opened it up for us. [Lindsay Sherbert] shot the ball well outside. Layshia [Clarendon] was attacking. [DeNesha Stallworth] was really posting to get touches. I think the guards delivered it to her for the most part. We finished. We made our first couple of baskets, played well in the first half, and then had momentum."

DeNesha Stallworth had a game-high 21 points with five rebounds and a pair of steals. Layshia Clarendon flirted with a triple double with 17 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Lindsay Sherbert had 19 points with six rebounds.

The Bears, who hit eight three-pointers in the first half (on 14 attempts), finished the game gong 9-for-18 from long range, with Mikayla Lyles and Lindsay Sherbert each hitting three treys.

The Bears improve to 11-6 on the season and pull even at 3-3 in Pac-10 play. They will test their 9-1 home record on Saturday afternoon when they host the No. 8 UCLA Bruins. The game tips at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. It will be another Cal Kids Day, presented by Outback Steakhouse, with all youth general admission tickets costing just $1. There will also be pregame activities like face painting and poster making and a post game autograph session.