*Game Notes: Brittany Boyd moves to No. 21 on the California all-time scoring list with 1,044 career points ... Boyd was one assist shy of posting the second triple-double in California WBB history (Eliza Sokolowska - Feb. 9, 1995 - 13 points, 15 assists, 10 steals) ... Gennifer Brandon had season highs in points and rebounds at 11 each to record her 35th career double-double ... Afure Jemerigbe matched her career high with 17 points*
By Jonathan Okanes
Cal Bear Blog
BERKELEY - Brittany Boyd had one of the best floor games in the Pac-12 this season Friday night, but all she could focus on afterward was her six turnovers.
“I turned the ball over a lot. I have to take care of the ball,” Boyd said after the No. 19 Cal women’s basketball team fell to USC 77-70 at Haas Pavilion.
Boyd may have been a tad hard on herself. She had 17 points, tied a career-high with 13 rebounds and dished out nine assists, falling just short of a triple-double in a game in which the Bears seemed to have in control until the final minutes.
Cal led by as many as 11 in the first half and was still in front with just over five minutes left. But the Bears went cold down the stretch and couldn’t hold on.
“There’s no doubt people in our locker room are really disappointed and we know we controlled most of the game,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “They made more big plays when they needed to at the end. We have to take this loss and get better from it. That’s our only choice.”
Truth be told, the Bears (13-5, 5-2 Pac-12) did a lot of good things against one of the upstart programs both in the conference and nationally. It started with Boyd, who almost had Cal’s first triple-double since Eliza Sokolowska accomplished the feat in 1995. Jemerigbe displayed a strong midrange game while Gennifer Brandon was active off the bench with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Reshanda Gray added 13 points and eight rebounds.
“This was a game we needed to win collectively,” Gottlieb said. “I saw a lot of good things tonight. We just need to manage the game better down the stretch.”
The Bears outrebounded the Trojans (14-6, 7-1) 45-37 but were held to just 25 percent floor shooting in the second half. USC went 8-fo17 from 3-point range while Cal was 1-for-11.
USC guard Ariya Crook, who always seems to have her best games in Berkeley, poured in a career-high 34 points and went 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.
“First I want to credit USC,” Gottlieb said. “This is what we want in the Pac-12. We want a deep and competitive conference, and I think we do have a lot of good teams. USC can compete with anyone on a national level.”
Boyd had eight points, seven assists and six rebounds in the first half, when the Bears picked apart USC’s zone and shot 47 percent from the floor. Cal still led 64-58 after a layup by Gray with 6:42 remaining in the game.
After leading 66-61 with 5:39 left, the Bears watched the Trojans score 11 unanswered points to lead 72-66 with 25 seconds remaining. Cal whittled the deficit to 73-70 after Boyd made one of two free throws with 14 ticks left, but USC made its free throws down the stretch to close things out.
Cal will return to the court Sunday when it hosts UCLA at 6 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The game will air on the Pac-12 Networks.