Photo by Cal Athletics

Bears Outlast Terriers, 73-62

December 7, 2019

The California Golden Bears used a strong second quarter to build a big lead then held on with a dominant performance on the offensive glass and good team play to pull out the 73-62 win against Boston University.

“We’re happy to come away with a win,” said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. “Had some stretches where it was dicey. That’s a really well-coached team.”

The Bears built a 16-point lead in the second, only to watch the Terriers come back to within four. But as their shooting went up and down over the course of the game, Cal executed well enough on offense to pull out the win.

“The one thing that I would say that’s a huge difference, is that we only had seven turnovers,” said Smith. “We’ve been in the twenties; it’s been rough for us taking care of the ball. I really challenged the team today to have under 14, and we had half of that, so really really pleased with that focus. If we had 20 turnovers against this team, the way we were struggling to score even we got a shot up, I don’t know what the outcome would have been.”

Cal ended the game shooting 39%, but the Bears struggled mightily in the first and third periods, hitting under 27% of their shots in each.

“I don’t think we had a lot of energy today,” said Smith. “The focus was off. I just asked them to get dialed in on each other and on this moment. And sometimes, for college students, there’s a lot of things on your mind. We’ve got exams coming up and all kinds of things that can’t be an excuse. We’ve got to lock in and be present. I didn’t think we were present as we’ve been in previous games.”

Freshmen Jazlen Green and Evelien Lutje Schipholt agreed with their coach. 

“I’m not sure if finals and school are the reason,” said Lutje Schipholt, who contributed nine points and three rebounds. “It shouldn’t be an excuse at all.”

“We signed up to play at this level and to go to school at the same time,” said Green, who hit three of Cal’s four threes en route to 10 points. 

Nine players scored for Cal, including Jaelyn Brown and Alaysia Styles, who each had 11 points. CJ West contributed 10.

“It’s been feeling really good this year in that we’re not reliant on one player,” said Smith. “We have a lot of weapons. Everyone we put in the game has the ability to put the ball in the basket, and it makes us hard to guard because you don’t know where it’s coming from.”

Styles also had a game-high 10 rebounds as Cal collected a 42-33 edge. The Bears had 18 offensive rebounds, leading to 14 second-chance points.

Sydney Johnson had 19 points for Boston University.

With the victory, Cal moves to 6-2; it’s the Bears’ sixth win in a row. BU falls to 3-4.

In an anemic first quarter, neither team could find the basket. Halfway through the period, the game was tied at four. 

With both teams shooting under 30%, the Bears finally strung together a few good possessions on both ends, and their 5-0 run closed the first with Cal up 11-8.

Cal opened the second with four bench players and Cailyn Crocker barking out orders at the point. Jazlen Green knocked down a three to get the Bears untracked offensively. After a 0-for-5 start from distance, the first-year Bear has hit seven of her last 11 attempts (63.6%).

“I’ve told Jazzy, she needs to be a scorer for us,” said Smith.

“I knew when I made the decision to come to Cal that I would be filling in roles that were leaving,” said Green. “I knew that I had to come in and be an impact from the beginning. And the trust from Charmin was just from the beginning. She knew my ability to be able to score the ball. It makes a lot easier to know that your head coach believes in you.”

Jaelyn Brown, the lone starter on the floor, played tough defense, moving her feet and forcing her opponent into a miss. Brown grabbed the rebound, found Crocker for the quick outlet, then sprinted straight down court for layup and plus one.

“The way Jaelyn has been playing the last few ways has been a huge positive for us, to have that veteran leader,” said Smith. 

A second chance score inside by Evelien Lutje Schipholt pushed Cal into its first double-digit advantage, 19-8, forcing BU to call time with 7:36 left in the second.

Cal stayed patient against the BU zone, probing with passes until finding Green for another three. CJ West returned to the game and made an impact immediately, hitting two baskets down low. At the end of a 17-4 run, Cal was up 28-12 halfway through the quarter.

BU attacked Cal off the dribble and found success at the line, hitting five free throws to keep pace. 

Chiara Tibbitt’s layup got the Terriers back to within 10, but Crocker’s tough take down the lane that resulted in a three-point play closed the half for Cal, with the Bears up 35-22.

Boston opened the third with a three from Maggie Pina. 

Cal responded by attacking the paint, earning five quick points. 

Sydney Johnson scored eight straight points for the Terriers, keeping Boston in the game. Her three from the top of the key narrowed the lead to 42-33.

With the Bears now keying on her, Johnson then found Mackenzie Miers for an easy basket. A three by Katie Nelson forced Cal to call time, with the lead suddenly down to 42-38, with three minutes to go in the third.

Lutje Schipholt knocked down two free throws to stop the 13-2 Terrier run. The freshman, who came into the game hitting only 55% from the line, was Cal’s best on the day, hitting five of six for the game.

Cal’s defense stiffened, forcing three consecutive turnovers, and Green’s third three of the game restored some breathing room for the Bears at the end of the third, 49-40.

Cal played good help defense to open the fourth, and Green jumped into the passing lane to pluck a steal. The Bears converted on the other end, with Brown finding Styles on the fastbreak.

Boston responded with another three-point play from Johnson, and the Terriers got hot from the floor, knocking down a flurry of jumpers in making nine of their first 11 attempts in the quarter.

In response, the Bears continued to execute on offense, and when they missed, Cal crashed the offensive glass. The two sides traded baskets for the next several minutes, with Cal maintaining a three-possession lead.

McIntosh hit a corner three--her first points of the game--to put Cal back up 65-55, with 2:42 left in the game. 

Boston extended the game by sending Cal to the line, and the Bears accommodated by splitting their free-throws. But on the other end, Boston could not generate enough offense to mount a comeback, and two free throws from McIntosh and one from Crocker salted the game away.

Afterwards, Lutje Schipholt was asked about the impact she and her fellow frosh--Crocker, McIntosh, and Green--have made this season.

“All four freshmen are so blessed to have this opportunity to play this much and get all this experience at such a young age. I’m happy to be here and am gonna work.”

Tags: WBB
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Bears Outlast Terriers, 73-62

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