Women: California 68, Colorado 59
By Lara Boyko
No. 2-seed California (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) used the advantage of having fresh legs and strong athleticism to outlast No. 10-seed Colorado (18-13, 6-12 Pac-12), 68-59 in the second round of the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament at the Galen Center tonight.
California came out strong in the first half and built a 10-point lead in the first five minutes. Despite some physical play and comeback attempts by Colorado, the Golden Bears were able to hold onto a 35-27 lead heading into the half.
"I thought it was a vintage California win in that our depth is what sets us apart," said California coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "We can bring in different players and have different combinations, but our players rise to the occasion. I felt we got enough critical plays at the right times."
The second half saw Colorado make another attack at California's lead. From using more perimeter players when post players were tied up to using tough defense to make California work for every point, the Buffaloes just would not quit. Despite cutting down the lead to as few as four, California was too much to handle.
"I liked our effort, fight and the fact that we didn't quit at any point in the game," said Colorado coach Linda Lappe. "There was a point in the first half where they could have stopped playing and it would have been a blow out. Instead they took enough pride in who we are, what we were doing and did not quit. Our players rose to the challenge."
California was led by Layshia Clarendon's 12 points, Lindsay Sherbert and Talia Caldwell's 11 points each and 10 points from Reshanda Gray. The Bears shot 38.2 percent from the field for the game. It was picking up valuable points from the free throw line and shooting 70.6 percent from the charity stripe for the game that helped them maintain their edge.
"There is a calmness about us that allows us to make our free-throws," said Gottlieb, on her team staying focused and hitting nine of 10 free throws in the last minute of the game.
Colorado may have been a No. 10-seed, but never seemed to act the seed. The Buffalos had contributions from everyone on their roster and was led by Brittany Wilson's 18 points and Chucky Jeffery's 16 points. As a team Colorado shot 35.7 percent from the field and lost some valuable free throw line points by shooting 65.2 percent from the stripe.
California will now face the winner of the Washington State vs. USC game in tomorrow's second semifinal game at the Staples Center.