Another weekend of Cal basketball just goes to show that the Ducks are better off playing football.
After a last second winner from the male counterparts last night, the Cal women’s basketball team crushed the Ducks, 77-55, on Friday night in Haas Pavilion. The Bears swept the season series against Oregon and extended their conference-leading 12-game winning streak.
The game began exactly how a match between a top-10 team and conference cellar-dwellers should go. Despite missing starting guard Brittany Boyd, who dressed for the game but was benched, the Bears still remained effective in spacing out the floor and produced quality shots from seniors Talia Caldwell and Layshia Clarendon. Simultaneously, Oregon had no response to Cal’s stifling defense.
Five minutes into the game, the Bears were up 10-0, and the blowout meter was reading high. Oregon failed to even make a field goal until the 13:26 mark, when guard Ariel Thomas sank a jumper off of an effective pick-and-roll.
The Ducks did not go down so easily. A pair of baskets, including a long range bomb that banked in from high off the glass, quickly cut Oregon’s deficit to six. The Bears’ incredibly poor shooting did no favors as they missed five consecutive shots. Numerous jumpers and layups rattled in and out, allowing the Ducks to lead the Bears at one point, 19-18, with 3:49 remaining.
“We missed some good looks and it affected our demeanor a bit,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We just couldn’t get in a good rhythm.”
With only a few minutes remaining in the first half, the Bears regained a bit of their shooting touch. Mikayla Lyles, Cal’s 3-point specialist, sank two huge shots from beyond the arc to sway the tide against the Ducks. Clarendon, who led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, also nailed a 3-pointer and the final shot of the half. Her stop-and-pull jumper topped a Cal 11-3 run and led Cal’s 30-21 halftime lead.
The Bears would keep up that momentum exiting the locker room to begin the second half. With better shooting and increased aggressiveness on offense, Cal began a slow but steady breakaway in score from the Ducks.
Leading the charge on the offensive end was Afure Jemerigbe. The junior guard, who only averages seven points per game, did her best to make up for Boyd’s absence. Jemerigbe was everywhere on the court, totaling a 5-for-11 shooting performance, including 3-for-5 from behind the 3-point line. She also added six rebounds and four assists.
“I try to get my energy from defense and the little things,” Jemerigbe said. “It just fuels me more and when it comes to offense, it’ll fall.”
Halfway through the first half, with Jemerigbe’s help, the Bears established a solid 57-39 lead. They ensured the Ducks would have to face a double digit lead for the remainder of the game. Finishing with a 32-8 advantage in points in the paint and 51-37 in rebounding, the Bears closed out the game in strong fashion.
Vincent Tzeng covers women’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected].