RENO, Nevada – Justine Hartman missed No. 20/20 California’s last three games due to a concussion, and the junior forward seemed determined to make up for lost time by leading the Bears with 16 points in an 84-61 rout of Wake Forest in the Nugget Classic at the Lawlor Events Center.
Hartman finished one point shy of her career-high of 17 points set against Illinois on November 20, 2011 to help the Golden Bears pull away from the Demon Deacons in a game that saw Cal shoot 55 percent (16-of-29) from the field. Cal now moves on to play Idaho in the Nugget Classic Championship game Saturday night at 8 p.m.
A total of six Golden Bears scored in double-figures with Afure Jemerigbe posting 15 points and six rebounds, Brittany Boyd adding 13 points, Reshanda Gray scoring 12 points and the freshman tandem of Courtney Range and Hind Ben Abdelkader each scoring a career-high 10 points.
Gray shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
After being held scoreless for the first time in her career in Cal’s last game against Northwestern, Boyd also dished six assists to move to No. 10 in the California all-time record book with 349 career assists – surpassing Colleen Galloway’s 346.
California jumped to an early 11-5 lead after back-to-back 3s by Jemerigbe and Ben Abdelkader, but the Demon Deacons used a 12-0 run over a five-minute span to lead 17-11 before Hartman hit a jumper to end the drought. Another jumper by Hartman and a basket by Boyd tied the game 17-17.
Wake Forest took their final lead of the game, 21-20, with 7:35 remaining in the first half. Cal closed out the first half behind strong offensive efforts from Jemerigbe and Hartman to lead 40-31 at the half.
The Bears blew the game open with a 9-0 run to start the second half to push the lead to 49-31 less than three minutes into the period. Jefflo opened with a 3-pointer, and Boyd had a steal and assist to Range to bookend the run until Wake Forest hit a free throw to put a damper in the bleeding.
California pushed its lead to as many as 24 points (66-42) en route to the 84-61 win.
Idaho awaits Cal after defeating Nevada 88-77 in the first game Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.