Bears Win First Pac-12 Game of '12
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/05/2012

Jan. 5, 2012

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Three-point shooting from sophomore guards Lindsay Sherbert and Mikayla Lyles and three post players in double figures helped California Golden Bear head coach Lindsay Gottlieb notch the first Pac-12 conference victory of her career, a 73-56 win over the visiting Oregon State Beavers Thursday night at Haas Pavilion.

Sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon started the game on a personal 5-0 run. Brandon scored a layup on Cal's first possession, getting fouled in the process and knocking down the ensuing free throw. She followed with a jumper from six feet out in Cal's next possession to put the Bears up by five a little over a minute into the game.

Oregon State fought back, pulling within a point, 9-8. After both teams traded misses for two minutes, the Beavers took a 10-9 lead on a layup by their 6-7 post player, Thais Pinto, with 14:24 left in the first half. Brandon erased the Beavers' lead thirty seconds later with a layup that put Cal back up, 11-10. The Bears would never again trail in the game.

Fueled by a pair of three-pointers from sophomore guard Lindsay Sherbert, Cal pushed the lead out to 19-12. The Beavers couldn't put together any sort of run with Cal's defense keeping Oregon State from making back-to-back baskets through the end of the half while on the offensive end, the Bears kept scoring.

A feed to the low post from junior guard Eliza Pierre to junior center Talia Caldwell gave Cal a 39-22 lead with 53 seconds left in the half.

Caldwell scored the first bucket of the second half, hitting another layup to give Cal a 41-24 advantage.

Oregon State pulled back to within single digits on a three-pointer by Sage Indendi with 16:15 left to play. Sophomore guard Mikayla Lyles answered moments later with a three of her own, pushing the lead back to 11, 44-33, with 16 minutes remaining in the game.

Lyles drained another three with 12:45 remaining to give the Bears some breathing room, increasing the lead to 51-36. Gray battled under the hoop to lay in a ball to add another two points for a 53-36 advantage with 11:45 remaining.

The Beavers never threatened again with the two teams trading baskets. The point differential remaining right around 15 points for the rest of the game. The Bears took their largest lead, 72-52, on a layup by Gray from another Pierre feed, with 59 seconds left in the game. The Beavers hit a basket with six seconds left in the game to end the contest with a final score of 73-56.

"I was really happy with the way our team bounced back from last weekend," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "I thought we came out tonight and controlled the tempo of the game, which is what we wanted to do and got a good win in front of our home crowd."

The Bears had three post players in double digits. Gray scored 15 points with seven rebounds. Caldwell had 11 points and nine rebounds while Brandon finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. "We get the ball where we want to get the ball, which is inside," said Gottlieb. "We are plus twenty rebounds in our last three games. We are going to continue to set ourselves up to get good looks, being above the block, using the proper hand, kicking it out when we're doubled."

Sherbert hit three three-pointers, going 3-for-4 from long range for nine points. Lyles was 2-for-4 from three-point range for six points.

"Sherb and Mikayla did a great job knocking down shots," said Gottlieb. "We know our guards have the ability to knock down shots, and I was happy with that. The last couple of weeks in practice, [Sherbert] has had a more confident look. It feels like everything that she is putting up in practice goes in. It is a good sign. She is taking good shots and it is fun to see."

Starting sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe sprained her ankle in the first half, scoring six points in her seven minutes on the court. She did not return in the second half.

With the win, the Bears improve to 10-5, 1-2 in the Pac-12. Oregon State falls to 10-4, 1-2 in the Pac-12.

"It feels good to get our first win of 2012," said Gottlieb. "It feels good to get the first Pac-12 win. It's a week later than we wanted, but sometimes the adversity you face makes the wins a little bit sweeter."

This was the Bears 11th consecutive win over the Beavers. Oregon State's last win over Cal came back in the 2005-06 season. Cal has won 15 of the last 16 meetings between the two teams.

The Bears will be back home on Saturday, Jan. 7, when they host the Oregon Ducks (9-6, 1-2 Pac-12) at 2 p.m. It's a Cal Kids Day where all youth 12th grade and younger can purchase general admission tickets for $1. There will also be pre-game festivities 90 minutes before the game with face painting, poster making, and `inflatables in the plaza outside of Haas Pavilion.