Photo by Cal Athletics

Bears Fall to No. 3 Oregon, 93-61

February 21, 2020
818

The California Golden Bears stayed with No.3 Oregon for one quarter before falling 93-61. In front of a large crowd, the Ducks (25-2, 14-1 Pac-12) showcased why they’re a favorite for this year’s national championship.

“Oregon is a beast,” said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. “I was proud of how we thought, I'm proud of the growth that we've shown since playing them in Eugene, and, you know, we're going to keep fighting and keep getting better every day.”

Jaelyn Brown scored a game-high 26 points, en route becoming the 31st player in program history to have 1000 points.

Cailyn Crocker had 15.

“Second start and, you know, being able to knock down shots and execute game plans really well,” said Smith of Crocker.  “You know she's listening, she's learning. And we can rely on her. And that's progress you know especially for freshmen.”

Chen Yue came off the bench to grab nine rebounds. The Bears had eight turnovers, their second lowest total of the year.

Cal was within 23-19 after the first period, but an 18-0 blitz by the Ducks to start the second period broke the game open, and the Bears never threatened thereafter.

For many in attendance, the game then became about the Ducks and what they were able to do.

With Steph Curry and his daughters watching, the Ducks brought up memories of the Golden State Warriors, playing beautiful team ball and giving up a good shot for a great shot. 

Erin Boley hit eight threes (on nine attempts) for 24 points to lead Oregon.

“I think when everybody's working together well and we're able to find the open person, each time down the floor, depending on whether it's inside or out I think it definitely helps us get into a good rhythm,” said Boley.

“We have four or five players that on any given night can get us 25 or 30,” said Oregon head coach Kelly Graves. “And so I think our team is unselfish enough--which is what I'm most proud of--to keep feeding the hot hand. We passed up some good shots to get it to Erin for an even better shot on a night that she was shooting it well, so that's a mark of a really mature team and an unselfish team.”

Ruthy Hebard hit 10 of 13 for 20 points; she also grabbed 15 rebounds as the Ducks owned the glass 48-32.

Sabrina Ionescu extended her NCAA record of career triple-doubles to 25, notching 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

The Ducks hit 53% of their shots, including 12 of 24 from distance. They had 23 assists on 36 made shots.

Cal is now 10-16 (2-13 Pac-12).

 

 

 

Oregon’s offense came out firing, as the Ducks hit six of eight to open the game, including three threes. Erin Boley had two of the treys, and Oregon went up 15-2.

“I think our guards did a really great job at the beginning of the game, and penetrating and finding the open shooter,” said Boley. “They were helping in whenever we would drive into the lane and that left people around the perimeter.” 

After a Cal timeout, Jaelyn Brown took over for the Bears, hitting four jumpers, including two threes of her own. Cailyn Crocker also knocked down a three.

The Bears also began to play better defense, moving their feet and forcing Oregon into contested misses.

Evelien Lutje Schipholt scored down low, and when Brown hit yet another pull-up, the Bears closed the first period hitting five of six and were down only 23-19.

Brown led all players with 12 after the first period.

“We kind of focused in a little bit better defensively,” said Smith of Cal’s push. “And we were making shots in that stretch during the first quarter, and we got to catch up.”

But the Bears cooled down at the start of the second, missing eleven straight shots.

Oregon took advantage, promptly going on an 18-0 run. The Ducks put on a dazzling exhibition of crisp passing and movement to find open players. Many of those passes ended up in Boley’s hands, and she hit four more threes.

Crocker finally got Cal on the board in the second. The freshman, getting her second consecutive start in place of injured senior Sara Anastasieska, saved a near turnover at midcourt and then hit a three to beat the shot clock.

Crocker’s fellow frosh helped Cal keep pace the rest of the period. Lutje Schipholt knocked down two free throws, and after Crocker also hit two from the line, Jazlen Green picked up a missed shot and put it back in. Still, the Bears were down 47-28 at halftime.

Cal finished the second hitting two of 16 attempts, while Oregon made eight of 15. Brown stayed stuck on 12 points, missing all of her seven attempts in the second.

“I think we shot 12% in the second quarter, and you just can't do that, against this offense,” said Smith. “They're going to stretch and extend the lead.” 

Boley led Oregon with her six threes for 18, and Hebard had 12. Sabrina Ionescu, content to direct the offense, had seven points, seven rebounds, and nine assists while playing all 20 minutes.

Oregon’s first offensive possession in the third led to another Boley three, prompting Smith to run onto the court to call time.

Cal crashed hard on the offensive glass, and their efforts paid off with two consecutive second-chance baskets. But they again lost Boley, and she hit another triple.

And prompted by Cal turnovers, Oregon then unleashed another weapon in their arsenal--a lethal running game. Time and again, Ducks outraced Bears downcourt and looked for each other with flashy no-look passes.

The lead continued to balloon. When Ionescu brought down the house--ther were a lot of green jersey in Haas--with a tough baseline drive three point play, Oregon had doubled up Cal, 74-37, with 2:47 to go in the third.

Brown continued to take it to the basket, and she managed to score nine of Cal’s 14 total third-quarter points. Chen Yue came off the bench to grab six rebounds in nine minutes in the third.

Lutje Schipholt’s activity down low earned Cal a second-chance opportunity, and Brown cashed in with a corner three.

With the game long-decided, the Bears seemed to loosen up, scoring five baskets in the first five plus minutes of the fourth, on their way to scoring 19 points in the final quarter and giving them something to build on.

 

The Bears will play their last home game this Sunday at 2pm, against No. 15 Oregon State.

 

 

NOTES and QUOTES:

Smith credited Jaelyn Brown for modeling for her teammates on how to stay focused through tough times: “Jaelyn--this game in Eugene was not her best showing. Even in terms of just like handling a loss, you know, it was tough. It was tough, we really took a beating there, and to see Jaelyn come back and respond and to keep playing hard regardless of the score and keep encouraging the young ones, I mean, that's tremendous growth on her part. I mean, how many times do I say Jaelyn's name in film? I mean, I am on her more than anyone else. And as a senior who is our leading scorer who's going to take the most shots and such, the way that she's allowed me to be on her and be hard on her has really told these freshmen like that's what it's going to be like, you know? And if she were pouty and mopey and talk back to me that would be sending a different message. And so, I mean, I think Jay has done a tremendous job of being a leader and showing the young ones what it's like to have all the weight on your shoulders and how you have to take it.”

She's a great mentor for me,” said Crocker of Brown. “Just seeing her on an everyday basis--how she works every single day in practice. When our body hurts, and people don't understand there's more than just the games and what you see of us is a lot of extra stuff that goes into it. So just seeing how she does on an everyday basis and kind of trying to apply that to my life, and help me, amongst the other seniors and upperclassmen as well, just trying to make it through and push through.”

Read more about Jaelyn Brown here.

 

Oregon’s Graves was asked about he saw for Cal’s future in the competitive Pac-12:

“I think Charmin is doing a great job. They play really hard they play to the end. They're just, they're so young. And I know she's got a great recruiting class coming in, so if she can just keep them together and keep getting better each day, I think she's going to be able to build a good program. I think she's the right person for the job. I see all their games; I watch every game that they played. And so I can see a well coached basketball team. But it is hard right now to make a move in this conference. I mean just think about it. You know what, what we did was spectacular. What Adia Barnes has done at Arizona just to get from where they were into that upper half... and now to get to the very top is even harder, as she’ll find out. So, yeah, for a young coach to try and make a move from the bottom to the top in this conference. I'll tell you, it takes some perseverance and some good luck; Sabrina helped that second part for us.”

 

Announced attendance: 4518.

 

 

 

 

Tags: WBB, Jaelyn Brown
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