After the Georgetown Hoyas shot 56.5% from the field in the first half on the strength of 5-for-9 shooting by star guard Sugar Rodgers, the California Golden Bears defense held the star guard to 2-for-12 shooting in the second half simply by sticking to the game plan and forcing her into difficult shots.
"I heard her ask for a sub a couple of times - getting tired I think," said Cal guard Layshia Clarendon of the second half defensive effort against Rodgers. "We're the type of team that can just wear you down, wear you down...We knew how good of a player she was too and coach was like, 'Don't worry - she's going to get shots. It's ok - just make her take tough shots.'
"I know as a player like when someone is constantly bumping you, constantly lock and trailing you it wears you down, you get tired, you have to work for your shot it's really hard. So I think we just made her work every single possession and that was our game plan - it's harder to hit shots when you're getting bumped all game."
The combination of aggressive perimeter defense and a strong second half shooting effort helped Cal to a 72-56 win to take the title in the second Cal Classic by Doubletree this weekend.
While seniors Layshia Clarendon and Eliza Pierre along with junior Afure Jemerigbe took on the primary responsibility for containing Rodgers, Boyd orchestrated an effective transition offense finishing with a career- and game-high 14 assists despite scoring only 6 points herself. Although it's easy to overlook the work of Cal's posts on a night when the guard play took center stage on both ends of the floor, center Talia Caldwell's 7 offensive rebounds were a major part of why Cal was able to compete with a rugged Georgetown team in the paint and Gennifer Brandon led the team with a game-high 13 rebounds to go with 13 points.
"I think they compare extremely well in the Big East," said Georgetown coach Keith Brown after the rather physical game when asked how Cal compares to Big East competition. "The biggest thing about the Big East, we play those type of games every night. And I think they would do well in the Big East, but they would probably have to get used to it - all our games are like that in the Big East. So that's why our kids could kind of weather the storm early when they were knocking down the shots, but I think Cal- I think they're a tremendous team.
"I think their ranking is well-deserved because we've been in the Top 25 for the last 2 or 3 years and they're definitely one of he top teams in the country."
Clarendon and Rodgers finished the game tied with a game-high 20 points.
For their efforts, Boyd, Caldwell and Clarendon were all named to the All-Tournament team. With the win, Cal moves to 5-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 Sweet 16 team began the year 7-0 and ran out to a 20-2 start to the season.
"This is just a really exciting win for our program," said Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb after the game. "I'm very, very happy for these players who work extremely hard all the time and I'm glad they get their shot against a team as good as Georgetown and prove that we can compete and win at that level. Georgetown like we knew they would brought it tonight...and I think our team responded to that challenge."
2012 Cal Classic All-Tournament Team
MVP: Layshia Clarendon - California Golden Bears
Brittany Boyd - California Golden Bears
Talia Caldwell - California Golden Bears
Sugar Rodgers - Georgetown Hoyas
Andrea White - Georgetown Hoyas
Lexie Nelson - Eastern Washington Eagles