9:00 PM ET, February 21, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. -- It's almost a lock that California's Ashley Walker will be the Pac-10 player of the year this season.Golden Bears coach Joanne Boyle is touting her senior forward for national honors, too.Walker had 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to become Cal's career leader, helping the sixth-ranked Bears to a 62-40 win over Oregon State on Saturday night."She's put herself in position, and I know she'll give a lot of credit to her teammates but she's worked hard and she's always been the unsung hero on this team," Boyle said. "Great things have happened for her but she's gone and gotten them, too. Everything she gets this year she deserves."Walker has done pretty much everything since arriving at Cal nearly four years ago, the same time Boyle was hired to take over a program that hadn't had a winning record in 12 straight seasons.Boyle and Walker have led the Bears to the NCAA tournament each of the past three years and they have them on the verge of capturing at least a share of the Pac-10 title for the first time ever.Walker's 1,030 rebounds moved her past Colleen Galloway, who had 1,029 from 1978-81. The Pac-10's leading scorer also went 8-for-13 from the field and needs only 23 points to become the second Cal player to have 2,000 for her career."[Galloway] holds every record here so it's really cool that I got to do it at home," Walker said. "I didn't know I got the [record] rebound. I just thought I was coming out."Walker scored 12 points in the first half then spent the second half chasing down the Bears' rebounding record. She got it with 5:37 remaining on a miss by Oregon State's Kirsten Tilleman.When Boyle called a timeout soon after, an announcement of Walker's achievement was made and the crowd at Haas Pavilion gave the Bears' senior leader a standing ovation. She walked to the bench and waved to the crowd then sat out the final five minutes."She's just got so many things to her game that matter," Oregon State coach LaVonda Wagner said of Walker. "She can shoot the ball, get to the glass at ease ... she's a shot-blocker. She's just a total package."Walker moved into 13th place on the Pac-10's career scoring chart.Devanei Hampton and Alexis Gray-Lawson added 11 points apiece for the Bears (22-3, 13-1 Pac-10), who have won 14 of 15 and remain tied with Stanford atop the Pac-10 standings.Brittney Davis scored 16 points for Oregon State (15-10, 6-9), which was swept by Cal for the third straight year. The Beavers lost to Cal 77-72 on Jan. 22.Cal made nine of its first 10 shots and went on a 16-0 run early in the first half to take control, getting six points from Walker while Greif and Gray-Lawson each added 3-pointers. Walker did most of her damage in the paint while outrebounding the Beavers by herself through the first 13 minutes."We just really wanted to run, push in transition and get some easy buckets," Boyle said. "Even tired I thought we ran well tonight."The Beavers went more than seven minutes without a basket in the first half, fell behind by as much as 30 and failed to get anything going against Cal's defense.The Bears went into the game allowing a conference-low 50.3 points a game, the 12th best mark in the country among Division I teams. Cal did nothing to hurt that standing against Oregon State, holding the Beavers to 15 first-half points, their second-lowest half of the season. They had just 14 first-half points against Arizona State on Feb. 14.The Bears improved to 19-0 when holding teams under 55 points.Davis, who went into the night averaging 17.3 points over her previous nine games, did her part for Oregon State but got little help from her teammates. Leading-scorer Talisa Rhea missed her first eight shots and didn't score until 3:41 remained in the game. She finished 1-for-10 from the floor and had two points."They outrebounded us by 10 in the first half and we made 10 turnovers," Wagner said. "Right out of the game we're down 20 possessions to the No. 6 team in the country and that hurt us. We weren't able to recover."The game was so lopsided that with 16 minutes left in the second half, Walker had 16 points and Oregon State had 19.In the two games since losing to Stanford and dropping three spots in the AP poll, Cal has outscored its opponents 146-82 and forced 33 turnovers.
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