Cal Dispatches Hornets for Gottlieb's First Win
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/17/2011

Nov. 17, 2011

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Lindsay Gottlieb earned her first victory as the head coach of the Golden Bears with a decisive 85-61 victory over the Sacramento States Hornets. Junior center Talia Caldwell tied a career high with 17 points and 11 rebounds, the 12th double double of her career.

Sacramento State took an early lead. Applying a press on defense and firing off three-point shots on the offensive end, the Hornets held a 7-5 advantage in the first three minutes. Back-to-back floaters in the lane from junior guard Layshia Clarendon put Cal back ahead, 9-7, and they never looked back.

Freshman forward Reshanda Gray battled for an offensive rebound and went up strong for the put-back, giving Cal a 21-11 lead, their first double-digit advantage. Moments later, junior guard Eliza Pierre drained a three. Junior forward Talia Caldwell cleaned up an offensive miss, grabbing the rebound and converting it to another two points to cap a 13-0 run and give Cal a 26-11 lead.

Gray gave Cal its first 20-point lead, 38-18, getting a quick jumper on a set inbounds play. She showed her defensive prowess seconds later, smacking down a shot on the other end to deny Sac State from answering.

The Bears, who led 48-26 at halftime, had three players in double digits by the break. Clarendon was the first Bear to hit double digits, scoring ten points in the first 12 minutes of the game. Gray (11) and Caldwell (10) also had double digit first half scoring efforts.

The Hornets continued pressing and hitting threes, matching the Bears point-for-point through the first twelve minutes of the second half.

Freshman guard Brittany Boyd muscled her third steal of the game, racing down the court to get a fastbreak layup with just over seven minutes left to play, putting Cal up, 70-46. Clarendon followed with a jumper to give Cal a 72-46 lead.

Freshman guard Erika Johnson made her collegiate debut, subbing into the contest with just over six minutes remaining. She promptly got her first collegiate steal, the 12th of the game for the Bears. Johnson scored her first career point on a free throw with 4:18 left in the game.

Redshirt freshman Avigiel Cohen made her delayed debut, taking the floor with just under five minutes to play. Cohen sat out all last season recovering from ACL surgery.

The victory, first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb's first at the helm of the Bears, was the most lopsided victory for any Bear head coach in their first Cal win. The previous biggest margin of victory in the first W for a new Cal coach was Joanne Boyle's 19-point win, a 64-45 victory over Eastern Washington in her debut game at Haas.

"Always glad to get the win," said Gottlieb. "It's nice to get that first one. I really credit Sac State playing hard. I watched them on film, and even when they are losing, they are always playing hard. It wasn't our best basketball. What we are talking about with our team is defining what Cal basketball is and playing that way no matter what the other team is doing. Sticking to what we do well. I thought we did that in spurts, but not well enough."

The Bears changed up their starting lineup with sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe getting the first start of her collegiate career. Freshman guard Brittany Boyd also made her first career start.

Caldwell logged her 12th career double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. It was the fifth time in her career she had scored 17 points in a game (her career high). Caldwell, who went 4-for-4 from the field against Rutgers, has only missed one shot this season, going 12-for-13 from the field in the first two games for a 92.3 percent shooting percentage. Gray made it back-to-back games scoring in double figures, putting up 15 points in 15 minutes on the court. She also had seven rebounds, an assist, and a block. Freshman forward Justine Hartman scored 16 points in 18 minutes.

The Bears had a dominant inside game, with the four posts combining for 51 of Cal's 85 points, making 24 of their 35 attempts from the field.

"I think this post group could be scary good," said Gottlieb. "We are deep and we can go with four of them. Talia can play fresher than she has been able to in the past two years, because she can get her wind and then come back in. I think Justine and Reshanda buying into that."

The Bears perimeter game struggled with the team hitting on two of their 19 three-point attempts.

The Bears improve to 1-1 on the season. They will host Illinois on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The game is "Thanks for Being a Golden Bear" Day. Any fan who brings a canned food item to the game can purchase a $3 general admission. Fans can also register to win gift cards for turkey's throughout the game and there will be Turkey Bowling at halftime. There will also be a post-game Autograph session with the team