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.

Alexis Gray-Lawson had eight points, seven rebounds and six assists for Cal, whose starting guard Lauren Greif was limited to six minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls.

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.

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