Gray’s 33 Points Leads No. 23/21 Cal to 101-98 OT Win
BERKELEY – Oregon entered Sunday’s game at Haas Pavilion as the nation’s highest-scoring offense, but it was No. 23/21 California that came out with the grander offensive explosion as the Bears held on to defeat the Ducks in overtime, 101-98, behind a career-high 33-point effort from junior Reshanda Gray.
The two teams combined for a Haas Pavilion women’s basketball record 199 points while California (10-3, 2-0 Pac-12) set the single-team mark for a women’s game after surpassing the 100 points the Bears scored against Idaho State on Nov. 15, 2009. The win also improved Lindsay Gottlieb to a perfect 28-0 against Pac-12 opponents from outside the state of California during her tenure as the head coach of the Golden Bears.
Oregon (9-4, 0-2 Pac-12) forced the Bears into a season-high 26 turnovers, but it was the play of Gray and freshman Courtney Range that helped propel Cal to the win – as well as the return of senior Gennifer Brandon to the court. Gray added 13 rebounds to her career-high 33 points, and Range had a career-day with 12 points and 13 rebounds to go along with two assists.
“Reshanda is so good and I tell her every second that she can be better,” Gottlieb said. “So at half time I really got into her, not for missing layups but for not being as confident and finishing as she could, and look what she did! She turned around and put up incredible numbers. With Courtney Range, the sky is the limit. I love what she’s doing on the boards. She has such great energy and she has a very high basketball IQ. We needed everyone today, and I thought that these two were a huge part of it.”
Senior Mikayla Lyles was a spectacular 4-for-4 from the 3-point line to keep Oregon honest in the first half. Lyles, who finished with a season-high 12 points, matched her career-best of four 3-pointers that was last set in Cal’s historic win at Maples Pavilion last season.
Brittany Boyd had another near-double-double with 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals, and Afure Jemerigbe added 10 points, but it was Brandon’s return that drew the biggest cheers from the 2,071 in attendance at Haas Pavilion. Playing in her first game in two months, Brandon made her return to the court with 13:22 remaining in the first half and scored nine points with eight rebounds in 22 minutes of action.
Brandon also joined elite company in the game with her jump shot to tie the game at 33-33 with 4:13 remaining in the first half making her the 24th Golden Bear to hit the 1,000 career-point mark. Add to that Brandon’s 1,000-plus rebounds and she became just the fourth Golden Bear to hit the 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound mark – following in the footsteps of Talia Caldwell, Colleen Galloway and Ashley Walker.
The Ducks were led by a quartet of 20-point scorers in Chrishae Rowe (24 points, 10 rebounds), Jillian Alleyne (21 points, 12 rebounds), Ariel Thomas (21 points, eight rebounds) and Lexi Peterson (20 points).
As a team, California out-rebounded Oregon 61-46, falling just five boards short of the program-record 66 set at Old Dominion last season. Cal shot 48 percent (38-of-79) Sunday.
The two teams played a tight first half with Oregon twice taking a seven-point lead that the Bears would fight back into, despite Cal’s last lead of the half coming with a 13-12 score before the first media timeout.
Oregon took a 42-38 lead into halftime, but the two teams would jockey for the lead over the first 10 minutes of the second half until Cal began to pull away after making the score 60-59 with 9:42 to go. The Bears proceeded to jump out to a 14-4 run over the next two minutes to take a 74-63 lead, and Cal led by as many as nine points (87-78) with 2:29 to go in the second half before the Ducks mounted a comeback of their own by forcing five Golden Bear turnovers in the final minutes of the game to force overtime at 88-88.
In overtime, Oregon tied the game 96-96 with 1:05 to go before Boyd took over the game just like she did against Oregon State Friday night. Boyd scored Cal’s final five points by getting an old-fashioned three-point play and sinking two more free throws to send the Bears to the 101-98 win.
Prior to the game, Gray was presented with a plaque for her participation in leading the United States to the gold medal at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
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