Cal WBB: Oregon State Preview

The No. 6 ranked Cal's women's basketball team had a goal heading into its contest against Oregon on Thursday. Bounce back.

Whatever it took, the Bears needed to get a 17-point loss to Stanford that had been boiling inside them for five days, out of their minds for good.

"I thought the kids were anxious for the last few days, just to get another game underneath their belt," Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "We just needed to get back on the court after the last game and just kind of regroup."

If a loss to the Cardinal was the motivation the Bears needed to put together one of their most well-rounded and dominant performances in some time, then perhaps Cal owes Tara Vanderveer a thank you card.

Not only did the Bears dismantle Oregon (9-16, 5-9 in the Pac-10) on both sides of the ball in a 84-42 finish, but also Cal did it nearly flawlessly.

To rattle off a few numbers, Cal: outrebounded the Ducks 42-26, shot 53% from the field, while converting on 7-of-12 three point opportunities, had 46 points in the paint and finished with five players in double figures.

"We were taking quick shots. As long as they are good shots, I don't have a problem with that. As long as we are making them, we'll keep doing it," Boyle said. "It was nice that Lauren Greif got a couple of threes early. They had to guard her, which opened up the inside a little more for us. The doubles were tougher for them. We were just in a flow tonight. We need that."

Thanks to Greif and Alexis Gray-Lawson's success from range (they combined to shoot 6-of-8 from beyond the arc); Oregon couldn't afford to leave Cal's guards alone on the perimeter, forcing the Ducks to try to guard Ashley Walker one-on-one in the post.

How'd that work out?

Well, Walker went off early and often, notching 20 first-half points and finishing with a game-high 24 to go along with 11 boards in just 26 minutes of play.

"In the first half, I told myself to just run and get early post touches. Coach always tells us that and it was something we worked on over the week," Walker said. "Then they started sending triples and doubles at me, so I had to kick it back out to my teammates, and they played really hard and they did a good job of scoring tonight."

Greif, Gray-Lawson and junior guard Natasha Vital combined to shoot at a 12-for-20 clip—scoring 31 points—a vast improvement from Saturday when the three amassed just 23 points on 29 percent shooting.

But perhaps the guards' most impressive stat line was their assist to turnover ratio.

The three starters teamed up with freshman Casey Morris for 15 assists to just five turnovers. In fact, Cal as a team did better taking care of and distributing the ball against the Ducks then they had all season.

The Bears racked up 20 assists to only eight turnovers, just the second time all year they managed single-digit turnover numbers.

How important is such a stat?

A 20 assist to eight turnover ratio means that Cal is likely finding and taking higher-percentage shots—evident by their high shooting percentage on Thursday.

Compare the performance against Oregon with the final 12 minutes of the Stanford game and it's easy to see why the Bears scored just seven points during that stretch against the Cardinal—Cal had six turnovers without recording a single dime.

That said, taking care of the ball today against Oregon State should again be a priority. When Cal was nearly upset by the Beavers in Corvallis on Jan. 22, the Bears turned the ball over 16 times to just 14 assists.

In fact, in Cal's three losses this season, the Bears gave the ball away 45 times while notching just 33 helpers.


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