10:00 PM ET, November 30, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Joanne Boyle berated her California team during an early timeout for its sub-par perimeter defense.The Golden Bears kept their coach on edge for most of the night.Ashley Walker had 20 points and 12 rebounds for her Pac-10-leading sixth double-double in seven games, leading Cal (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) to a 77-61 victory Friday over Saint Mary's despite allowing 11 3-pointers."Let that happen once, it's OK," Boyle said of defending the 3. "It happens two, three, four times, that's unacceptable. All it's saying is you don't respect them. It was pretty much a chewing at one of the timeouts and I challenged their heart."Rama N'diaye had career highs of 16 points and 18 rebounds while also playing heads-up defense for the Golden Bears (6-1), who beat a West Coast Conference opponent for the second straight game following a rout of Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night. That came after a 69-56 loss at 10th-ranked Baylor.Next up for Cal is a tough test against Vanderbilt (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) on Sunday, but the Commodores first must face Saint Mary's on Saturday in Berkeley. Vanderbilt shocked Duke (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) 68-55 on Wednesday night.Serena Benavente scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting as Saint Mary's gave the favored Bears a scare with torrid shooting from long range in the first half, but the Gaels (5-3) couldn't keep up in the final 20 minutes and had their three-game winning streak snapped."They did a great job of finishing the game off. That's what good teams do," Gaels coach Paul Thomas said. "We were pleased. Our team was prepared to play. We had good energy, enthusiasm and intensity -- all things you need to compete in a game like this. We didn't have to coach effort."Saint Mary's hit five of six 3s early against Cal's zone and started 7-for-8 from the field overall on the way to a 19-6 lead as the Bears began 4-of-11.Benavente had three of her team's eight first-half 3-pointers and made all six of her field-goal tries, while Suzie Davis and Jontelle Smith each hit two 3s. Smith finished with 22 points."They're a very good shooting team, everyone on the floor," Walker said. "We just came out flat. We should have been ready for it. It was just a matter of calming down."Alexis Gray-Lawson had eight points, seven rebounds and six assists for Cal, whose starting guard Lauren Greif was limited to 6 minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls.For the Gaels, from nearby Moraga, this is a tough weekend that could be a valuable experience once they begin the West Coast Conference schedule."We played really hard but missed some key rebounds, a lot of key rebounds," Smith said.Cal ended the first half on 12-0 run for a 40-34 lead at the break, holding Saint Mary's scoreless over the final 4:35. And the Bears had a 6-0 spurt out of halftime before Smith's 3 at 18:02.Cal, which held a 62-32 rebounding advantage, leads the series 12-5 including the last three. The Bears were two off the school record for rebounds."They pounded us," Thomas said.Saint Mary's senior starting power forward from Finland, Maija Lahde -- MVP of the Gaels' home tournament last weekend -- went down with a left knee injury in a win at Pacific on Wednesday. She was on crutches and wearing a brace, and will have arthroscopic surgery next Thursday. Thomas wasn't willing to guess how long she might be sidelined, but called it "serious."Reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Devanei Hampton was in uniform for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery Nov. 9 on her right knee, which had been bothering her in practice."I'm feeling good," Hampton said while shooting around before the game.
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