No. 12 Cal Too Much for Saint Mary's
Nov. 30, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Ashley Walker had 20 points and 12 rebounds for her Pac-10-leading sixth double-double in seven games, leading No. 12 California to a 77-61 victory over Saint Mary's on Friday night.
Rama N'diaye had career highs of 16 points and 18 rebounds while also playing heads-up defense for the Golden Bears (6-1), who beat a West Coast Conference opponent for the second straight game following a rout of Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night. That came after a 69-56 loss at 10th-ranked Baylor.
Next up for Cal is a tough test against 23rd-ranked Vanderbilt on Sunday, but the Commodores first much face Saint Mary's on Saturday in Berkeley. Vanderbilt shocked No. 11 Duke 68-55 on Wednesday night.
Serena Benavente scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting as Saint Mary's gave the favored Bears a scare with torrid shooting from long range in the first half, but the Gaels (5-3) couldn't keep up in the final 20 minutes and had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Saint Mary's hit five of six 3s early against Cal's zone and started 7-for-8 on the way to a 19-6 lead as the Bears began 4-of-11.
Benavente had three of her team's eight first-half 3-pointers and made all six of her field-goal tries, while Suzie Davis and Jontelle Smith each hit two 3s. Smith finished with 22 points.
For the Gaels, from nearby Moraga, this is a tough weekend that could be a valuable experience once they begin the West Coast Conference schedule.
Cal ended the first half on 12-0 run for a 40-34 lead at the break, holding Saint Mary's scoreless over the final 4:35. And the Bears used a 6-0 spurt out of halftime before Smith's 3 at 18:02.
Cal, which held a 62-32 rebounding advantage, leads the series 12-5 including the last three.
Saint Mary's senior starting power forward from Finland, Maija Lahde -- MVP of the Gaels' home tournament last weekend -- went down with a left knee injury in a win at Pacific on Wednesday. Results of her MRI aren't complete but she was on crutches and wearing a brace, a sign it could cause her to miss significant time.
Reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Devanei Hampton was in uniform for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery Nov. 9 on her right knee, which had been bothering her in practice.
'I'm feeling good,' Hampton said while shooting around before the game.