No. 6 California 58, Oregon St. 56

California coach Lindsay Gottlieb had a simple plan once her

team fell behind by 17 points against Oregon State. Get the ball to

Layshia Clarendon.

Clarendon scored 18 of her 26 points in the second half and the

sixth-ranked Golden Bears rallied to beat the Beavers 58-56 on

Sunday, extending the longest winning streak in school history.

”I rode Layshia like this was her senior year in high school

and I was going to have her (take) 50 shots,” said Gottlieb after

Cal’s biggest comeback of the season. ”The coaches on the bench

were literally in my ear, `Every single thing we have, run it to

Layshia.’ We obviously made a conscious decision to go through

her.”

It couldn’t have worked out any better for the Bears, who were

on the verge of losing for the first time in nearly seven weeks

before Clarendon bailed them out.

Playing in her final home game, Clarendon scored eight straight

points during one stretch in the second half after Brittany Boyd

had given the Bears a spark. Clarendon, who went 10 of 22 from the

floor, also had the assist on Gennifer Brandon’s go-ahead jumper

then made a critical 14-foot leaner before helping Cal (25-2, 15-1

Pac-12) hold on over a frantic final 3 minutes.

The Bears didn’t make another shot after Clarendon’s bucket but

held on for the win after being dominated for much of the game.

”I’m a little in shock still but we got the win,” said

Clarendon, who finished 10 of 22 from the floor. ”It felt good to

have our fans this loud. It was like back East … and I think it

affected them toward the end.”

California’s 13th straight win assured it of finishing no worse

than second place in the Pac-12 for the fourth time in six years,

though Gottlieb’s team is eyeing a bigger prize. The Bears have

never won the conference championship, something they can

accomplish with wins against Washington State and Washington next

weekend.

It wouldn’t be possible had Cal not turned things around in the

second half.

”I’m as proud of this win as any of them,” Gottlieb said. ”It

tested who we are. This team dug in and across the board said this

is not happening today.”

Oregon State pulled within 57-54 on Ali Gibson’s 3-pointer, and

after one free by Cal’s Talia Caldwell, Deven Hunter scored on a

putback to make it 58-56. The Beavers took only one shot after that

but ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley’s long jumper missed and Eliza Pierre

grabbed the rebound to secure the win Cal’s 14th consecutive win

over Oregon State.

”They were more aggressive and they were able to get to the

(free throw) line,” Beavers coach Scott Rueck said. ”That was the

difference in the game.”

Jamie Weisner had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Mollee

Schwegler added 15 points for Oregon State (9-19, 3-13). The

Beavers have lost seven conference games by five points or

fewer.

The Beavers, who start two freshmen and a sophomore, gave the

Bears fits in the first half and were positioned to beat a ranked

opponent for the first time since 2004 before unraveling in the

second half.

Cal had limited Oregon State to 14 points in the first half of

their first meeting earlier this season but it was a complete

turnaround in the rematch.

The Beavers built a 28-11 lead with just over three minutes left

behind the aggressive deep shooting by Weisner and Schwegler.

Weisner, the Pac-12’s leading 3-point shooter, made three 3s while

Schwegler added two from beyond the arc, including a one-hander

that banked in just before the shot clock went off.

Not much went right for the Bears.

They missed 13 of their first 16 shots, blew a breakway layup

and let a defensive rebound slip away for a turnover against a team

Cal beat by 22 on Feb. 1.

Brandon helped the Bears briefly stop the slide with three free

throws over the final 2:44 while Pierre drove through traffic and

flipped the ball off the backboard to help cut Oregon State’s lead

to 30-18 at the break.

Boyd, who was held out of Friday’s win over Oregon with a

strained groin, helped jumpstart the Bears in the second half.

She scored Cal’s first basket of the second half on a breakaway

layup then had four points, two steals and an assist during a 6-0

run that pulled the Bears within 36-31 with 15:16 remaining.

Weisner ended the burst with a three-point play and Oregon State

later extended its lead to 10 before Clarendon took over.

Brandon finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, her 29th career

double-double, while Boyd had nine points and six assists.