On Saturday, the Cal women’s basketball team played Washington for the second time this season. The first time around was a close game in Seattle earlier in January, where the Bears lost to the Huskies, 79-77. The second time around, it looked as if there were two completely different teams competing. With a score of 82-58, the Bears (15-5, 7-2 Pac-12) walked away from the game looking unstoppable, with a win that never appeared to be in doubt, despite the loss to the same team only a few weeks before.
“(I’m) not surprised; that’s not a knock on Washington. They are as good as any team in the country, but it’s more of a statement on what I think we can be when we are really locked in and we know what we are trying to do,” said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “It was a great week of preparation. It’s really, as a coach, gratifying to see it all pay off. It was a great team win.”
Washington (16-5, 5-4) started out the game on the losing side of a 8-0 run by the Bears, which included two 3-pointers by sophomore guard Mercedes Jefflo. The Huskies did not score their first basket until there was 16:42 left in the first half, when senior Jazmine Davis shot a big 3-pointer.
Senior guard Brittany Boyd also had two 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the game. Boyd was dominant all along the floor in the game with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, despite being held out of the game in the last 10 minutes because of fouls. Boyd’s passes to senior forward Reshanda Gray during the game were incredibly accurate, showing the connection the two have, with Boyd getting the ball in a location that only Gray could reach.
Cal dominated throughout the game, not allowing the Huskies to lead the game for a single minute. The team’s largest lead was 34 points, which came at the end of the second half.
Gray showed how powerful she can be throughout the game, but she especially shone during the second half. She used her body against the smaller Washington team to score 27 points and come down with 14 rebounds.
“When we played Washington last time, I got in a lot of foul trouble,” Gray said. “I’ve been in the gym more this week, learning how to use my footwork instead of just bulldozing people. So that’s one of the things I focused on and just trying to play solid defense without fouling. … I need to stop fouling — the team needs me on the court.”
Jefflo had a huge game in addition to her 3-pointers to start off the game. She scored 19 points, a career-high for the sophomore, and surpassed her previous record of 17 by only a basket.
The high points that the Cal players had in the game came from shooting 50.8 percent from the field while holding the Huskies to 34.5 percent, which hurt Washington’s ability to ever get into the game once the team was down. Getting the win for Cal came from both its high scoring offense and its ability to get turnovers throughout the game.
“I think our growth is tremendous,” Gottlieb said. “I just think our kids are locked in right now.”
Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s basketball. Contact her at [email protected]