Stout Second Half Helps Bears Hunt Down Ducks

Photo: Layshia Clarendon dropped a team-high 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds against the Ducks in Eugene, Ore. The Bears have won two of their last three contests.
Allyse Bacharach/File
Layshia Clarendon dropped a team-high 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds against the Ducks in Eugene, Ore. The Bears have won two of their last three contests.

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Cal women's basketball coach Joanne Boyle told her team at halftime on Saturday not to leave any of Oregon's shooters open. They had caught fire in the first period and were leading the Bears by two points.

The defensive adjustments worked.

The Ducks didn't make any 3-pointers in the second half and Cal came back to defeat Oregon, 81-65, at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.

After shooting 7-for-14 from 3-point range in the first half, the Ducks missed all 11 of their attempts in the second half.

"That was the difference maker," sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon said of the 3-point disparity. "We just really held them. We shut down their 3-point game. They are really either transition or 3-point, so we really tightened up on the shooters."

Oregon's junior forward Amanda Johnson scored her squad's first 11 points in the game. She tallied 18 total in the first half, including four 3-pointers, but was held to just eight points and made no threes in the second half.

"We emphasized that not one of their shooters could be open," Boyle said. "We would give them the drive to the basket, but we weren't going to give them an open three. I thought the kids did a nice adjustment, coming out and buying into that game plan."

The Ducks may have rented the 3-point line for the first half, but the Bears (13-7, 5-4 in the Pac-10) owned the glass the entire game. Cal outrebounded Oregon, 43 to 29, and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds.

Center Talia Caldwell was especially dominant on the offensive glass. The sophomore pulled down eight rebounds on the offensive end - 11 in all - to go with 17 points and a team-high five assists.

"Defensively and offensive rebounding, on both ends of the floor, I think she was just a monster," Boyle said. "When she plays like that and gets put-backs, goes to the free throw line and has been defending the way she does, then it is a great boost for us."

The Bears' offensive rebounding effort created easy baskets. Caldwell's proficiency on the offensive glass led directly to 10 of her points. Four times she followed an offensive rebound with a tip-in and another time she was fouled and made both free throws.

Still, in the first half, Cal had trouble getting good shot opportunities and was turning the ball over.

Clamping down defensively on Oregon's 3-point shooting had much to do with the Bears' 18-point differential in the second half, but there was another major factor.

"We were more patient in the second half," Clarendon said, "We didn't turn the ball over. We had 10 turnovers in the whole game and only two in the second half ... It was patience and good shot selection on our part."

That patience enabled Cal to retake the lead early in the second half. The Ducks (12-8, 3-6) chipped away and narrowed the score to 56-53 at the midway mark of the period.

However, the Bears went on a 20-6 run to close out the game and net their first road sweep in Pac-10 play.

They hope to continue their recent road success when they travel to Arizona this week.


Jonathan Kuperberg covers women's basketball. Contact him at [email protected]

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