Cal Advances To WNIT Final

April 1, 2010

NORMAL, Ill. - The California Golden Bears are headed home to host the WNIT Championship game after defeating the Illinois State Redbirds, 61-45, in Normal, Ill. The Bears will host the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, April 3 at 11 a.m. in Berkeley in the Championship Game. Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Playing in a hot and packed arena, the two teams looked sluggish to start the game, with the Redbirds taking the early lead. Cal managed to tie the game four times, but did not take their first lead of the game until a three-pointer by senior guard Natasha Vital put them up 16-13 with 7:28 left in the period. The Bears followed with a layup by freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth. Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson stole the ball right back, laying it in to give Cal a 20-13 lead with 6:50 remaining in the half.

Cal dominated the boards in the first half, pulling in more offensive rebounds (13) than Illinois State had in total boards (10) in the half. Cal closed out the half on a 17-3 run, keeping ISU from hitting a field goal for over ten minutes during the later portion of the half. Cal took a 30-16 lead into the break. Illinois State, energized by the home crowd, made it a single digit game, 32-25, after taking advantage of three early trips to the freethrow line to go on a 9-2 run. Cal ended it with a jumper by Vital. Cal went back up double digits, 39-28, with just over 11 minutes remaining on a three by Gray-Lawson.

Cal held a double-digit lead through the remainder of the game. They held a 57-45 lead with a minute remaining and made foul shots down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

Cal had four players in double figures: Alexis Gray-Lawson with 23, DeNesha Stallworth with 11, Talia Caldwell with 10, and Natasha Vital with 13. Caldwell also had 12 rebounds, giving her the second double double of her career. The victory sets the stage for Haas Pavilion to host its first ever National Championship. The finals, against the Miami Hurricanes, will take place this Saturday, April 3 at 11 a.m. Tickets will go on sale through the Athletic Ticket Office and online through at 9 a.m. Friday morning. All seats will be general admission. Ticket prices are $12 Adults, $7 Youth/Seniors/Students, and $3 Group Ticket Rate (10+).

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