The Washington State women’s basketball team traveled to Berkeley not to take on the No. 18 Bears but rather one fearsome Reshanda Gray.
Gray put on a one-woman show through the first half, recording 32 of the team’s 43 total first-half points. To illustrate just how dominant her performance was, the next leading scorer for the Bears had just four points.
The squads faced off in Haas Pavilion on Thursday at 6 p.m., and though the Bears held the lead throughout the half, the Cougars never trailed by more than seven. Due much to Gray’s drive on the floor, the Bears were able to prevail despite a poor team performance, topping the Cougars (15-14, 9-8 Pac-12) 75-68 in overtime. Gray finished the game with 43 total points, the most in the Pac-12 this season.
“I wanted to put on a show,” Gray said. “Did that sound cocky? I didn’t mean to sound cocky.”
In the final weekend of conference play until the Pac-12 Tournament, the game held significant stakes for the Bears. A win would guarantee Cal (21-7, 13-4 Pac-12) no worse than third place in the Pac-12 and ensure at least a No. 3 seed in the tournament.
“I looked up, and it was like two minutes into the game, and (Gray) had 10 points, and I was like, ‘Really?’ ” said junior guard Brittany Boyd. “Our teammates knew Reshanda was hot. Nobody could stop her.”
Cal held the lead through the half, but the Cougars were never far behind. Besides Gray, the Bears were nowhere to be seen on the scoring sheets. Washington State closed out the half trailing 43-40. With 32 points on the half, Gray had already recorded more than she had in the last meeting with the Cougars.
“I thought I had the wrong box score,” said Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb of the halftime statistics.
The two teams ran neck-and-neck through the rest of the game. With about 30 seconds left in regulation, the squads were tied at 64 and a held-ball call gave the Cougars possession.The Bears intercepted the inbounds and called timeout to set up a final play for the win. Boyd drove to the basket but missed the finger roll, and the ball ended up out of bounds with just less than seven seconds left. The Bears were unable to convert their final chance, sending the game into overtime.
With less than a minute left in overtime, Boyd drove powerfully, barrelling over Cougar Tia Presley but earning the foul call. She missed the front end but sank the second to give the Bears a 3-point lead, 69-66. On the other end, Lia Galdeira missed both of her free throws, and the rebound resulted in another held ball call, this time in favor of the Bears. The Cougars immediately fouled Boyd, who sank both this time, all but solidifying the win for the Bears. Boyd and Gray each added two more free throws apiece to put the cherry on top.
“I felt a lot of energy from my teammates,” said Gray of her record performance. “They gave me energy, and I put that out on the court.”
Boyd finished with a triple-double — only the second in Cal women’s basketball history — with 13 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds.
Taylor Brink covers women’s basketball. Contact her at [email protected]