Nov. 25, 2011
The California Golden Bears opened the Waikiki Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown with a 69-54 victory over host school Hawaii. Freshman forward Reshanda Gray led the Bears with 16 points.
Cal jumped out to a big lead in the early going with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Mikayla Lyles putting the Bears up 17-10 with just under 12 minutes left in the first half.
The Rainbow Wahine fought their way back, coming within a point, 19-18. The Bears got the ball into the hands of freshman forward Justine Hartman who rotated 180 degrees with a defender all over her to score a bucket to end the run, giving Cal a 21-18 lead. On the next possession, freshman point guard Brittany Boyd drove through the lane, drawing three defenders. She found junior guard Layshia Clarendon wide open in the corner. Layshia popped off a three to give Cal breathing room. Boyd immediately stole the ball back. With the whole team racing down the court, the ball was passed to sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon who go a jumper beneath the hoop to put Cal up eight, 28-20.
Cal slammed the door at halftime with Lindsay Sherbert draining a deep three from the top of the key as time expired to give the Bears their first double-digit lead, 37-26.
The Bears, fueled by a Boyd three-pointer, opened the second half on a 5-0 run, extending the lead to 42-26, before Hawaii finally scored in the second half at the 17:34 mark. Freshman forward Reshanda Gray immediately answered. Gray went up strong in the low post, missed, grabbed her own rebound, and got the put back, to give Cal a 44-28 lead.
The Bears got their first 20-point advantage on a three-pointer from Boyd, with the freshman releasing the shot as the shot clock expired, which gave Cal a 52-30 lead with 14:35 remaining.
Hawaii cut the lead to 13, 45-58, with just under nine minutes left in the game. Sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe battled for a second-chance point to end a 6-0 run and push the lead back to 15, 60-45. After a pair of defensive stops, a short jumper by Gray added another two points. After a block by Jemerigbe, Gray added two more within a lay-in on the other end and the Bears were back in control with a 64-45 lead.
Cal cruised through the rest of the game to hold on for the victory.
"It was nice to get this one out of the way," said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "I think we struggled at times, just with the flow of the game. We put them on the free throw line a little too much. I was really happy with our defensive energy to start the second half. I loved that we were able to get out in transition and score some buckets. I thought our defense did a good job of limiting them, forcing tough shots, holding them in the 50's. But as a coach, you always want to be a little better."
Gray had her fourth consecutive double-digit scoring effort. She has scored at least ten points in each of the first four games of her collegiate career. It was the second time this season she scored 15 points in a game with her career-high 16.
The Bears had three players in double figures with Boyd (12) and Clarendon (13) joining Gray. In addition to the dozen points, Boyd also had seven assists, five steals, and five rebounds.
"Brittany is special," said Gottlieb. "What we have been talking to her about is really being a team leader and having that court presence at all times, not just in spurts. I thought she did a great job of that tonight. Her defense was lockdown. It was a key for us in transition. It was great to have Brittany in that kind of form tonight."
With the win, the Bears improve to 3-1 on the season. Hawaii falls to 1-4.
The Bears will take on No. 24 Texas on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time) in the second game of the three day tournament. Texas defeated No. 22 Virginia, 79-53, in their first game in the tournament.