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Cal Women's Basketball

Bears Beat North Carolina Central, 90-69

November 29, 2019
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The California Golden Bears opened the Cal Classic with an easy 90-69 victory over North Carolina Central. 

Five Bears scored double figures, with Jaelyn Brown’s 20 points leading the way. Sara Anastasieska and Alaysia Styles had 15 each, while CJ West had 14 and Jazlen Green had 11. 

Coming off an impressive win last weekend against then-#20 Arkansas, the Bears continued to roll on offense, managing 64% shooting 27 assists, both season highs. Sara Anastasieska had a career-high eight assists.

But despite the win, Cal head coach Charmin Smith was not happy with the Bears’ inconsistent performance.

“We’re happy we got the win today,” said Smith. “We’re not happy with how we played, collectively. We just need to be better in terms of taking care of the ball, decision-making.”

Cal had 20 turnovers.

North Carolina Central was led by Paulina Afriyie’s 18 points and six rebounds.

With the win, Cal moves to 4-2, while North Carolina Central is 1-4.

 

 

Cal’s soft defense allowed the North Carolina Central wide open shots to open the game, and the Eagles took advantage early, pulling ahead 11-6 on four of five shooting.

The Bears responded by taking advantage of their size advantage. Jaelyn Brown hit a putback and one, and CJ West scored inside to tie the game. A steal by West led to a fastbreak on the other end, with Leilani McIntosh finding Sara Anastasieska for a three, and Cal had their first lead of the game, 14-11, five and a half minutes into the game.

Chen Yue came off the bench and made an immediate impact. The senior post found Anastasieska for another, then on the next possession, turned an offensive rebound into a free throw. Two Brown free throws, Anastasieska’s third three, and a score inside (off another Yue assist) by Evelien Lutje Schipholt, and Cal suddenly had a 27-13 lead, on the back of a 21-2 run.

North Carolina Central scored the final three points of the period, and Cal led 27-16 after the first 10 minutes of play.

Cal opened the second on another scoring blits. Yue estblashed early position down low and kept the ball high to knock down the shot. Cailyn Crocker converted a steal into a fastbreak layup. Brown knocked down a three from the wing and a fastbreak layup. Alaysia Styles showed good body control and touch, converted on two tough driving layup. She was fouled on the second, and her free throw gave Cal the 41-20 lead halfway through the period.

Jazlen Green’s layup closed the 16-4 Cal run.

Brown continued her hot offense, scoring four more points to bring her total to 18 before heading to the bench.

“Mentally, I’m just ready for the next game,” said Brown, who earned Player of the Weed awards from both the Pac-12 and ESPN for her 30-point, 12 rebound performance against Arkansas. “That’s all this is.”

The Bears lost focus to end the quarter, with poor passes and missed shots, and the Eagles scored six in the final minutes to close it to 51-35 at the half.

“I think we just got sloppy,” said Smith. “I don’t think that they were forced turnovers. I think we make some careless passes to the wing. We forced things at times, and against this team, we had our best looks and our most success when we just moved it and stayed within the flow and didn’t try to do too much. We had two turnovers in the first quarter; we had eight in the second. And I don’t think because they changed. ”

Despite committing 10 turnovers, Cal dominated the first half with 61% shooting and a 19-10 rebounding advantage. The Bears also played team ball, garnering 15 assists on 19 made baskets.

North Carolina Central continued to eat into the Cal lead to open the third. The Eagles scored eight points in the first two minutes, with four from Madalyn Anderson, and Cal’s lead narrowed to 55-43.

Cal continued to attack the paint, with Anastasieska and West each scoring twice to keep the Bears ahead 63-47, with 4:29 left in the third period.

Cal played good defense and attacked with early offense on the other end, with layups by Styles, Yue, and Lutje Schipholt. A three by Green stretched the lead out 72-50.

Some indecise Cal play and a buzzer-beater by NCC’s Simone Edmundson closed the third, with the Bears up 72-54.

Cal opened the fourth with an 8-1 run. Frosh Green hit two consecutive fastbreak layups, making her the fifth Bear in double-figures.

Playing Anastasieska at point, the Bears continued to build the lead, with the senior finding Yue inside for the score. Cal went up 82-55, with five and a half left to the game.

“It was difficult to begin with,” said Anastasieska of playing point. “But at practice, when someone needs a rest or something, I’ll run the point guard for two or three possessions. So I know the plays. But it’s difficult when there’s defense!”

The Eagles continued to play hard, outhustling Cal’s makeshift lineups, but the Bears were never threatened.

Afterwards, Charmin talked about how important it was for Cal to hold high standards, no matter the opponent.

“I thought 67 points were too many,” said Smith. “So some things we need to do better and clean up, to have the chance at winning the championship game of our tournament tomorrow. Excited to get back out there and get after it again. We need to be smarter, and settle ourselves down, and that’s going to be important tomorrow. We need to clean it up real quick.”

“We respect Charmin so much, that when she holds us to a particular standard, we know that she’s not doing it because she’s hoping we do it, but that she knows that we can,” said Anastasieska. “So I think that when she gives us particular things to do, we really want to get them done, because she knows that’s our potential.”

“She also gives us the tools to be successful,” said Brown. “Our offense is really well-structured, and we can have multiple opportunities to score well acroos the board, from any player.”

“Today I was pretty angry in different moments,” said Smith. “They responded well. Other times, it’s encouragement, and reminding them of success that we’ve had. I reference to UConn game a lot. I know we didn’t win that game, but playing with UConn in their home gym is something that gives us a lot of confidence, and I don’t want us to forget that. We know we have UConn types coming into our gym during conference, and we want to play at that level. That’s the team we want to be. And so we have to work hard every single day to meet those standards and expectations in order to have any chance whatsoever. And that’s what we’re building on.”

Cal plays for the Cal Classic championship tomorrow (November 30) at 3:15pm, against Long Beach State (2-4), who led nearly wire to wire in beating Penn State, 64-56.

 

NOTES:

  • Freshman Cailyn Crocker crashed hard to the floor diving for a ball in the 2nd and was held out in the second half as a precaution. Smith confirmed that Crocker is not the concussion protocol, and the Bears hope Crocker would be available tomorrow.
  • Smith on Anastasieska playing point: “Everybody wants to be the point guard, until they have to be the point guard,” laughed Smith. “Chen said to me after the game, ‘Charm! Charm! Let me be the point guard!’ Not having Cailyn in the second half, I told Sara, ‘You’ll have to play some point.’ When you haven’t had reps in practice, it’s the hardest position to play. But I thought the important thing is the composure--how we handle it when it doesn’t go well.”
  • North Carolina Central’s head coach is Trisha Stafford Odom, who is one of the best players in Cal women’s basketball history. Stafford Odom was an All-American and a two-time All-Pac-10 selection. She was instrumental in getting Cal to its first NCAA Tournament (1990).
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Bears Beat North Carolina Central, 90-69

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