Bears Can't Buy Basket, Pay Dearly in Loss to Ducks

Photo: Talia Caldwell pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds in Cal's 60-46 loss to Oregon on Thursday. Nine of the boards were on the offensive end for the center, who added 10 points.
Eugene Lau/Staff
Talia Caldwell pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds in Cal's 60-46 loss to Oregon on Thursday. Nine of the boards were on the offensive end for the center, who added 10 points.

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Despite the weather forecast no longer predicting snow for this weekend, there was quite a bit of ice on the court at Haas Pavilion on Thursday night.

The Cal women's basketball team simply could not make a basket, shooting an ice-cold 21.3 percent from the field. The Bears lost their sixth consecutive game, this one a 60-46 tilt against Oregon.

"I'm searching for answers, I'll be honest," Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "We couldn't have had any better looks"

It didn't matter if it was a layup, a 3-pointer or anywhere in between; the Bears (14-13, 6-10 in the Pac-10) were 1-for-26 from behind the arc, and missed many more from closer in.

Nor did it matter whether the player was being guarded or not. On several occasions, Cal broke the Ducks' full-court press and had the advantage but could not convert.

At one point, late in the first half, the Bears had a two-on-one fast break, with a third player trailing, and the squad still could not put the ball in the hoop.

"We have to come out better on both ends of the floor," Boyle said. "I don't know why we're not. I don't know if there's a lack of focus ...

"I'm just stuck for answers."

Cal shot 24.2 percent in the second half, which was a considerable improvement from the first 20 minutes. In that period, the Bears made only nine of their 47 attempts and missed all 13 of their 3-pointers.

One reason for the low percentage, besides shoddy shooting, was Cal's work on the offensive glass. The Bears finished with 26 offensive rebounds - 16 more than Oregon (13-13, 4-11) - and actually outrebounded the Ducks, 57-49.

Center Talia Caldwell grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds, nine on the offensive end, to go with 10 points.

But even with extra opportunities, Cal still couldn't find the basket.

"We're all just searching for answers for how to help them," Boyle said. "I hope that they don't want their season to be over."

It took five and a half minutes for Cal to make its first field goal in the second half. At one point in the half, the Bears were shooting close to 16 percent from the field.

The teams' offenses differed greatly. The average Oregon possession consisted of a 3-pointer, going in about one-third of the time. The average Cal possession consisted of a missed basket, an offensive rebound and another missed basket.

"If a team goes up on us at the beginning, we tend to play a little tentative," said senior guard Rachelle Federico, who went scoreless in 11 minutes of action. "And then everybody puts it on their shoulders to be that person who steps up and hits shots. That can get a team playing a bit hectic. That was basically what happened to us tonight."

With just over four minutes remaining in the game, sophomore point guard Layshia Clarendon swung the ball to guard Lindsay Sherbert at the top of the key. The freshman spotted up and swished the shot, Cal's first made 3-pointer of the contest.

It was the Bears' 23rd attempt.

The basket narrowed Oregon's lead to 55-46, the closest the game had been since late in the first half. Less than a minute later, though, the Ducks' senior guard Kristi Fallin banked in a 3-pointer, effectively sealing the game.

The lid to Cal's basket, on the other hand, had already been sealed.


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

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