Vital, Gray-Lawson Step Up Their Game

CORVALLIS, OR. -- The No. 8 Cal women's basketball team has answered some rather large questions on the offensive end of the floor in its past couple of games…

Walker is getting much needed help on the scoring front

Prior to the Bears' three-point win against then-No. 9 Stanford on Sunday, some wondered if Cal would ever find an elite scorer opposite of Ashley Walker.

But against the Cardinal, Alexis Gray-Lawson answered the billing, scoring a career-high 37 points and awakening from an offensive slumber that saw the former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year score just six points per game in the Bears' first four conference contests.

Even after Cal's historic win though, the Bears' lack of a well-rounded scoring attack was still evident.

Entering Cal's game against Oregon State, the Bears had had four players in double figures just four times in their 16 games. But thanks to a late run that saw Natasha Vital score 14 of Cal's final 18 points and Lauren Greif making good on free-throws in crunch time, the Bears racked up their third largest offensive output of the season, in a 77-72 win at Gill Coliseum.

"We need to have that balanced scoring, we can't just rely on [Walker]," Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "We've just become really scout able, so to open it up from the outside is just huge for us. It gives us an inside and outside attack."

For the second game in a row, Gray-Lawson looked confident from everywhere on the floor, especially from the perimeter, leading a charge that saw the Bears knock down seven of 13 three-point attempts.

Vital equaled Gray-Lawson's success from long range with her tenacity in the paint.

The junior guard capitalized on slower Beaver defenders, late in the game, to get to the basket and, at the very least, get to the free throw line.

Vital's two three-point plays (and six made free throws) in the final 6:34 gave the Bears the boost they needed to maintain a lead and avoid a loss to a scrappy Oregon State team on the road.

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