Feb. 25, 2010
TUCSON, ARIZ. -
The California Golden Bears earned a 58-52 road victory over the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. Gennifer Brandon had her fifth double double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bears played catch up through most of the first half after a slow start, hitting just one of their first eight shots. Cal trailed by six, 11-5, with 11:10 remaining in the half. Before Arizona could extend on that lead, a layup by freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth followed by an arching three by junior guard Rachelle Federico pulled Cal within a point, 11-10, but they continued to struggle against the Wildcats' zone defense. Senior guard Natasha Vital ignited the offense, tying the game, 15-15, after draining a three-pointer with the shot clock expiring. After Arizona answered on the other end, she tied the game again at 17-17 with a pull up jumper. She also put Cal up 19-17 with another short range jumper. Cal took a 25-22 lead into the locker room after freshman forward Gennifer Brandon hit a jumper at the buzzer.
Cal started the first half with senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson grabbing a steal. She scored on a pull-up jumper on the other end. After a big defensive rebound by Gennifer Brandon, Gray-Lawson drained another to give Cal their first comfortable lead of the game, a 29-22 lead with 18:31 left to play. Arizona chipped away at the lead, coming back to within two several times. Arizona finally erased the last of Cal's lead, tying the game, 38-38, with 10:26 remaining. After briefly taking a 41-39 lead, Cal answered with a three from Natasha Vital and an old-fashioned three-point play from Gennifer Brandon to go back into the lead, 47-44 with 7:49 remaining.
"We have some things at stake," said head coach Joanne Boyle. "We needed to come in here and take care of business. It wasn't pretty. Arizona, they do a great job and they play that zone. It puts a lot of pressure on us to hit outside shots, which we weren't doing. I am glad to come away with the win. I think our defense and our rebounding got it done tonight."
Gennifer Brandon had her second consecutive double double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. It was the fifth double double of the season for Brandon and the 10th for a Bear player this season. Brandon was 5-for-6 in her field goal attempts and a perfect 5-for-5 from the freethrow line.
"When the game was tight, (Genn) spread it apart a bit at the freethrow line and she was getting every, and I mean every, rebound for us," said Boyle. "So that was huge for us."
With the victory, the Bears remain in third place in the Conference standings with an 11-5 Pac-10 record and a 17-10 overall mark. The Bears have just two games remaining before the Pac-10 tournament. They head to Arizona State for a Saturday, Feb. 27 match up with the Sun Devils. Tip off is at 3 p.m. Mountain Time (2 p.m. Pacific Time). Live streaming audio for the game will be available on CalBears.com.