November 24, 2010

Cal’s Sophomores Key Victory over Yale Women’s Basketball

Bulldogs Drop Third Straight Loss To Fall To 1-3

 

BERKELEY, Calif. — Of the 12 players on its roster, the University of California features six sophomores, four freshmen, no juniors and only two seniors, which doesn't allow the 10 underclassmen much opportunity to develop and acclimate themselves to the task of playing Division I college basketball.

When the starting lineup is made up of four sophomores and a freshman, it is evident that Head Coach Joanne Boyle has confidence in her players despite their inexperience. After all, she lost only three letterwinners from a squad that won the WNIT championship last season. That experience has certainly carried over to the 2010-11 season.

Unfortunately for Yale, Cal's underclassmen are proving to be a pesky bunch that is more than capable of competing with the nation's best.

Sophomore center Talia Caldwell, in her first start of the season, and sophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth each recorded a double-double to power Cal to a 64-41 victory over Yale at Haas Pavilion Tuesday night.

Yale falls to 1-3 overall with the loss. Cal improved to 3-1 with the victory.

Caldwell was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 7-of-13 from the free-throw line in setting her career-high with 17 points. She also had a game-high 16 rebounds. It was the third double-double of her career. Stallworth tallied 14 points on 7-for-12 shooting and a career-high 11 boards for her fourth double-double in the four games Cal has played this season.

Sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon added 14 points for Cal on 7-of-11 shooting. Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre put together a solid all-around effort for the Golden Bears, tallying seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.

"It is a road game and they were at home and all fired up," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball. "They had just gotten beat earlier and came out with a lot of energy. They kept taking us to the rim at the beginning of the game and caught us flat footed. We adjusted and found our legs a little bit and were a lot better but we just never shot well or rebounded well."

The Bulldogs were outrebounded 64-34 and they shot 16-for-72 (22.2 percent) in the game. It was the second time in three games that the Bulldogs could not eclipse the 30-percent mark. They shot 28.4 percent at Boston University on Nov. 17. Cal, on the other hand, made 26-of-61 shots (42.6 percent), including a sizzling 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) in the first half.

"It was obviously decided on the boards," Gobrecht said. "We are a much better shooting team but we just shot the ball very poorly tonight. I thought the biggest impact was made on the boards. They were getting three shots to every one of ours. We were stopping them but had to defend them two or three times every trip down."

The Bears jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Gobrecht was forced to call a timeout to settle her players down. The Bulldogs scored right out of the time out on a layup by Allie Messimer, but the Bears quickly extended the lead to 15-2 before the Yale offense could finally gain its footing.

Yale rallied to cut deficit to 19-12, but Cal closed the half on a 15-4 run to go into the break ahead 34-16.

The Bears came out of the halftime break and quickly picked up where they left off at the end of the first half. Caldwell scored five of her points to fuel a 15-4 run that allowed the Bears to extend their lead to 49-20, their largest lead of the game, with 14:02 to play.

If there was a positive sign for the Bulldogs to take away from the loss it was on the defensive end. Despite the 23-point loss, it could have been much worse if the Bulldogs weren't so stingy on defense. They finished the game with 15 steals and forced a total of 29 turnovers. However, the Bulldogs can also come away from the game knowing that it was a missed opportunity. With that defensive effort, if they had shot only marginally better, the result could have been a much more positive one.

"They are a little lucky we shot so poorly because we are a pretty good shooting team but just didn't have it tonight. These road games we just can't find the basket," Gobrecht said. "The turnover difference came because that's how we defend. It is a major part of our defensive plan and we had to because it was the only way to keep up with what was happening on the boards."

One game after shooting 1-for-11 in a loss to Delaware, Megan Vasquez struggled once again with her shooting but still managed to find her way back to a double-figure scoring effort. She finished with 11 points on 2-for-12 shooting. She scored 17 points in each of the Bulldogs' first two games. Mady Gobrecht recorded 10 points and five rebounds. Michelle Cashen added eight points, five rebounds and a game-high five steals.

Yale closes out the West Coast trip on Friday at UC Davis with the hopes of returning to the win column for the first time since the season opener against Holy Cross.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity