No. 7 California 53, No. 20 Colorado 49

Unable to hit free throws with any consistency down the stretch,

No. 7 California still found a recipe for success with some

old-fashioned defense and rebounding.

Brittany Boyd scored 15 points, Reshanda Gray and Afure

Jemerigbe both rebounded missed free throws in the late going and

Layshia Clarendon figured in a defensive stop that prevented a

last-second shot as Cal hung on to beat No. 20 Colorado 53-49

Sunday.

”That was very important,” Boyd said of Cal’s physical finish.

”I think rebounding is the key to our team. I just think we were

dialed in, focused and didn’t want to lose.”

Jemerigbe and Gray added 10 points apiece for Cal (12-1, 2-0

Pac-12 Conference), which is off to its best start ever. The Golden

Bears won their sixth straight since their only loss of the season,

a 77-63 setback at No. 3 Duke. It was Cal’s fourth win in a row

against Colorado, which still leads the series 5-4.

Chucky Jeffery scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half,

leading a rally by Colorado (11-2, 0-2 Pac-12). But she also

committed a key turnover – forced by Clarendon’s tenacious defense

in the final moments – that denied the Buffaloes a chance to get

off a final shot.

”Obviously, in a one-possession game, that was huge,” Cal

coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. ”It’s two great players going at it,

and we’re lucky to have Layshia. She’s just a great leader and an

all-around complete kid on the offensive and defensive end.”

It was the second consecutive loss in the league for Colorado

after an 11-0 start in non-conference play.

Arielle Roberson added 11 points for Colorado, which also lost

to No. 4 Stanford in the Pac-12 opener Friday.

With Cal leading 51-43 with less than three minutes left,

Colorado ran off six straight points, capped by Brittany Wilson’s

fast-break layup with 16.7 seconds left.

Clarendon missed two free throws, but Talia Caldwell managed to

tie up Jeffery on the rebound, and the possession arrow gave the

ball back to Cal. Clarendon was again fouled with 10.3 seconds

left, and she made one of two.

But Colorado never got a chance to attempt a tying 3-pointer

when Jeffery turned the ball over with 5.2 seconds to go.

Cal again missed two free throws – this time by Boyd – but

Jemerigbe pulled down the offensive rebound. Jemerigbe made a foul

shot to finally clinch the victory.

”We were getting shoved under the rim,” Colorado coach Linda

Lappe said. ”They were lower, more physical and quicker than us

off the line. A lot of times, they were getting inside position

before we had inside position and then they exploded up. I felt

like our guards could have helped out a little more. But not

getting those rebounds, I think, was the difference in the

game.”

Jeffery echoed her coach’s sentiments.

”We had more opportunities than we can ever expect” down the

stretch, Jeffery said. ”We have to bear down and box out and get a

rebound. They gave us opportunities to rebound. We have to get

tougher.”

Cal outrebounded Colorado 43-34. It was the second straight time

the Buffaloes had been outrebounded after either winning or tying

the rebounding battle in their first 11 games, all wins.