LOS ANGELES – A total team effort was necessary, and once again a Brittany Boyd last second steal sealed the victory as No. 18/19 California took a 77-72 win at UCLA to sweep the season series against the Bruins.
Five Golden Bears hit double-figures scoring, and a sixth scored eight points in a game that saw 19 lead changes and 16 tied scores. Afure Jemerigbe led the Bears with 15 points while Boyd and Gennifer Brandon each added 14 points, Reshanda Gray added 13 points and Courtney Range scored 11.
Boyd, who also added six assists, six rebounds and four steals, stripped UCLA’s Thea Lemberger of the ball in the final seconds of the game to secure Cal’s (19-7) place at No. 2 in the Pac-12 standings at 11-4. The theft was Boyd’s 80th of the season as the junior inches closer to the program single-season record of 100 set by Eliza Sokolowska in the 1994-95 season.
Gray and Brandon both notched double-doubles for the Bears, a growing trend for the duo. Gray matched her career-high with 15 rebounds to go along with her 13 points. Coincidentally, Gray’s lone other career-game with 15 rebounds came against UCLA earlier this season in Berkeley.
Brandon was 6-of-9 from the field and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Jemerigbe scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half.
UCLA held a slight 36-35 lead at halftime in a game that saw neither team able to pull away. The largest lead of the game was California’s seven-point advantage at 53-47 while UCLA’s largest lead was five points, a 10-5 lead early in the first half.
California’s final field goal of the game came with 3:21 remaining when Jemerigbe put the Bears ahead 69-67, but California sank eight consecutive free throws over the final 2:32 to claim the 77-72 victory.
The victory improves Lindsay Gottlieb to 5-2 against the Bruins in her Golden Bear career.
California takes on USC Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. A victory over the Trojans Sunday could secure a first round bye at the Pac-12 Tournament coupled with a loss by Washington against Oregon State.