It took a little time for the inevitable to happen, but Cal finally imposed their will on the 49ers of Long Beach St. for a decisive, 34 point victory on Saturday afternoon. Cal was led by the inside power of Talia Caldwell and the precision and consistency of DeNesha Stallworth. Cal's two post players combined for 44 points on 18-27 shooting (66%) and 15 rebounds. Layshia Clarendon and Linsday Sherbert both reached double figures and every available player got at least 13 minutes as Cal played most of the 2nd half with a 20 point or higher lead.
The Bears struggled offensively for the first ten minutes of the game as Long Beach St's zone defense seemed to bother Cal's attack. The 49ers kept within single digits until late in the first half, but ultimately Cal's ability to take care of the ball, rebound, and force turnovers turned a close game into a blowout. When the Bears finally started to hit a few three pointers in the 2nd half a 14 point halftime lead grew to as much as 31.
Cal stands at 7-2, and will get another week off before they travel to the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Tournament to take on the University of Texas Arlington and Texas Tech on Sunday and Monday. Today's game was the last home game before Pac-10 play starts in January, as the Bears will play two road games after their games in Las Vegas. Based on the injury news after the jump, the Bears could use another week off to hopefully get Rama N'diaye back - despite being day-to-day she did not log any minutes against the 49ers.
Rama N'diaye sat out the Yale game with an illness. She then missed both games of the Colliers Tournament with inflammation in her knee. Her status is day-to-day. . . Sophomore Gennifer Brandon has been nursing a stress reaction in her shin all summer. She has been increasing her activity levels and hopes to be back on the court in game action soon, but no definite return date has been determined.
After a tough road game against top 10 Texas A&M, and before a potentially tricky matchup with Texas Tech in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Tournament the Bears play host to the 49ers of Long Beach in what I hope is a stress-free get healthy type of game. There's no easy way to get around it: LBSU is not good this year. So far the 49ers have played four Pac-10 opponents: Oregon St., Oregon, USC, and Washington St. Two of those teams are expected to finish 9th and 10th in the conference. The average margin of defeat in those 4 games? 22.5 points. Cal should win this game going away, even with such a shallow bench. And it should be another good opportunity to get players like Afure Jemerigbe and Mikayla Lyles at least 15 minutes of game action.
LBSU is led by senior guard Courtney Jacob and freshman guard Brandi Henton, both of which score in the double digits. LBSU is nearly as young as Cal - only four contributing upper classmen and 10 total underclassmen, and based on the amount of players that have seen action I get the sense that their coach has been trying all kinds of different combinations in an attempt to find some success on the court. There hasn't been much of that yet - LBSU is just 1-9, with a lone win over North Carolina Central.
Cal should have success in every facet of the game today. Befitting a 1-9 team, LBSU hasn't shot well, they haven't drawn many fouls, the get killed on the offensive glass and the have turned the ball over 6 times more per game than their opponent. The Bears should walk away from this game with at least a 20 point win and a painful hit on their RPI.