Cal Boards Up Beavers In Stifling First Half

Photo: Guard Lindsay Sherbert missed all four of her 3-point attempts against Oregon State, but the Bears cruised to a 60-47 road win. Cal grabbed 50 rebounds to the Beavers' 29.
Annie Schuler/Staff
Guard Lindsay Sherbert missed all four of her 3-point attempts against Oregon State, but the Bears cruised to a 60-47 road win. Cal grabbed 50 rebounds to the Beavers' 29.

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At the start of last night's match at Oregon State, the Cal women's basketball team was kept on their toes. Though the Bears first shut the Beavers out with an early five points, Oregon State responded with a 7-0 scoring streak to take the lead.

Then the Bears got down to business. Eliza Pierre and DeNesha Stallworth retook the lead, 9-7, with a layup each.

Talia Caldwell widened the gap between the Bears (12-7, 4-4 in the Pac-10) and the Beavers (7-12, 0-8), which remained in Cal's favor through the final whistle, a 60-47 victory. Caldwell followed her next three offensive rebounds with field goals.

Such unrelenting pressure from the sophomore center proved too much for Oregon State to handle. Caldwell scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds by the end of the game. The Beavers had difficulty containing Stallworth, who also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

"They really did the work down there and got the second-chance points," coach Joann Boyle said. "That is really what won the game for us."

By the end of the half, Cal had almost doubled the Beavers' score, 30-16.

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck suggested his team's defensive weaknesses last night were a result of failures to get into position.

"Part of that was Cal's athleticism and their quickness," he said. "We were out of position for a reason sometimes, because of them."

The Beavers eventually found a defensive clutch in senior forward El Sara Greer. Late in the game, Greer made seven blocks, matching Cal's total for the game.

"(Battling down low) was a big focus because Greer is such a good rebounder," Caldwell said.

Greer served as a counter to Caldwell's explosive scoring and rebounding, which was likely Oregon State's most frustrating defensive task.

The Beavers' 32.3 percent shooting also played into their downfall. Sage Inendi, who leads Oregon State in points per game and 3-pointers with fellow guard Alyssa Martin, scored just one from beyond the arc. The removal of a typically potent offensive force was just one of the obstacles that stood in the way of the Beavers' chance to change their winless Pac-10 record.

The Bears had 24 defensive rebounds, totaling 50 over the Beavers' 29 rebounds. Cal simply possessed the ball, preventing the Beavers from even attempting the field goals from which they were finding so little success.

Until last night, the road had not been kind to the Bears' conference record. While they managed a double-digit victory over USC at Haas just last week, the weekend before that saw Cal swept by the Washington teams during their first conference road trip.

But this game doesn't necessarily forecast a winning road record for the Bears. Oregon State is a young team, with a head coach in his first year.

Oregon, the next stop for the Bears, has demonstrated a caliber of play comparable to both Washington teams. The Ducks will be a more realistic road test for the Bears' conference abilities.


Alex Matthews covers women's basketball. Contact her at [email protected]

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