Nov. 24, 2012
BERKELEY - Layshia Clarendon scored 10 points in the opening four minutes and finished with a season-high 20 to be named the Cal Classic by Doubletree MVP after No. 11 California toppled Georgetown, 72-56, in the final of the tournament.
Fellow Bears Talia Caldwell and Brittany Boyd were also named to the All-Tournament team that included Sugar Rogers (Georgetown), Andrea White (Georgetown) and Lexie Nelson (Eastern Washington). Caldwell earned 12 points and nine rebounds in the final, and Boyd dished a new career-high of 14 assists to go with six points and three steals for the Bears. Over two games of the Cal Classic, Boyd tallied a stat line of 19 points, 24 assists and 11 steals.
Junior Gennifer Brandon registered her fourth double-double in five games this season with a 13-point, 13-rebound effort, and senior Eliza Pierre had a season-high 10 points along with two assists and two steals to help keep the Golden Bears undefeated at 5-0 on the year. Georgetown, ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press poll last week, fell to 4-2 with the loss.
"I think that it just says so much to how we have grown and how we are shifting into an elite team," Clarendon said. "These are the kinds of games that separated us last year. The Ohio State game we lost, the Stanford game, the big games that we could have won and would have put us over the edge, but now I think that we are growing and that these are the types of games that are going to separate us and make us elite."
The tournament title was the eighth in the last 10 years for the Golden Bears. The matchup was also the first meeting in the all-time series between the Bears and Hoyas, who were led in scoring by All-American guard Sugar Rodger's 20 points.
"I'm very, very happy for these players who work extremely hard all the time and I think were excited to get their shot against a team as good as Georgetown," California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "We proved that we can compete and win at that level. Georgetown brought it tonight. Sugar Rodgers is one of the best players in the country, and the rest of the team is athletic and aggressive. Our players responded to that challenge."
Clarendon raced out to an early 10 points after scoring four of Cal's first five baskets that included two three-pointers as the Bears held a 12-11 lead at the first media timeout. They Hoyas, who scored the first points of the game and led 6-3 early, would never reclaim the lead the rest of the way.
With the score tied at 15-15, the Bears went on a 9-0 run to put cushion between the two teams as play began to get testy on the court. Pierre began things with a three-pointer that was followed by a steal and fast break layup from Boyd. Brandon and Caldwell then added two points each in the paint to put the Bears ahead 24-15 with 7:44 remaining in the half.
The Hoyas threatened to even the game out again with the score at 26-22 before a flagrant foul called on Georgetown's Samisha Powell against Pierre turned the tide. Pierre sunk both free throws and Cal used the opportunity to hold its advantage throughout the half with Cal leading 34-29 at the break.
"What Georgetown does, and I credit them because it's their style, they make it a slower paced, physical game," Gottlieb said. "They're in some ways what Rutgers used to be in the Big EAST. That team where nothing is going to be easy and it's going to be low scoring. We knew that coming in. We knew possessions would feel tougher to score. We wanted to play at our pace but also we needed to execute. I thought our players were very patient."
Georgetown twice brought the score to within one point in the second half, the last time occurring when White hit a layup with 16:11 remaining to cut the Cal lead to 38-37. The Bears then went on a 16-4 run to put the game away for good.
The Bears increased their lead to as many as 18 points in the second half before running away with the final 72-56 victory. Cal out-rebounded Georgetown by a 36-28 margin and forced 24 Hoya turnovers, matching a season-best mark for the Bears and a season-worst mark for Georgetown.
Cal hits the road for the first time this season next week with games at Old Dominion and No. 4 Duke. The Bears tip-off against the Monarchs Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) in a game that will be broadcast regionally in Virginia on Cox 11.