Cal is 'textbook' on the boards, ousts Iowa 84-74
16-2 run late in first half helps carry Golden Bears to second round
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In the eyes of Lisa Bluder, the California Golden Bears' rebounding prowess is worthy of publication.
"They could write a textbook on it," Bluder said after Golden Bears went over, around and through the Hawkeyes on the boards and prevailed, 84-74, in an NCAA women's basketball tournament first-round game Sunday at the Joyce Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.
"They are excellent as far as persistence on the backboards. They keep going for it, and going for it. I love that relentlessness."
A rebounding advantage of 41-29 led to a second-chance margin of 20-7, and California (25-9) advanced to face fourth-ranked Notre Dame in the second round Tuesday.
The Irish (31-3) drubbed Liberty, 74-43, Sunday.
"(The Golden Bears are) a really good team, and they used their athleticism to their advantage," said Iowa's Morgan Johnson. "With their athleticism and strength, they were physical out there. They were pushing and I was pushing back."
But, as is usually the case, Cal pushed hardest. The Golden Bears' rebounding margin of plus-13.2 ranks third in the country, so Sunday's boardwork was anything but a fluke.
"I loved our intensity level," said Cal Coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "We executed our game plan. The stuff that this group brings is hard to coach. It might have been our most complete game from start to finish."
It all started well enough for the Hawkeyes (19-12), who made 8 of their first 12 shots and led 19-16 through 9 minutes. But the Golden Bears went on an 16-2 run to take an 11-point lead, and took a 42-33 advantage into the locker room.
Gennifer Brandon scored three straight baskets early in the second half to give Cal a 48-35 cushion, and the margin remained in double figures most of the rest of the way.
Layshia Clarendon's layup, created off Brittany Boyd's steal, made it 62-46 -- the Golden Bears' biggest lead of the game -- with 7:40 to go.
Iowa got within 78-71 when Kamille Wahlin made a 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining, then 80-74 when Kelly Krei did the same at the 1:13 mark.
But that's as close as the Hawkeyes got, and they fell in the first round for the second consecutive year. Wahlin and Krei played in their final games as Hawkeyes, as did Kalli Hansen.
Both teams had five players in double figures. Wahlin led the Hawkeyes with 15 points. Krei, Johnson and Theairra Taylor added 14 apiece. Samantha Logic posted 11 points and 11 assists.
"What makes it so hard to guard her and their offense is that usually there is a post in the paint," Clarendon said of Logic. She backs you down, and that works very well for her within their offense."
Clarendon scored 16 points to pace California. Brittany Boyd -- like Logic, a freshman point guard -- added 15 points, eight assists, six steals and six rebounds.
Reshanda Gray added 14 points, Brandon and Talia Caldwell scored 11 each.
"They were just really athletic," Krei said. "They went over our heads. They seemed to get every 50-50 ball.
"They came to play."
The Golden Bears' weakness was perceived to be their free-throw shooting at 61 percent. But they made 21 of 30 Sunday.
CALIFORNIA 84, IOWA 74
At South Bend, Ind.
IOWA (74): Kelly Krei 4-8 3-4 14, Morgan Johnson 6-9 2-2 14, Kamille Wahlin 7-14 0-0 15, Melissa Dixon 0-7 0-0 0, Samantha Logic 5-11 1-1 11, Kalli Hansen 1-1 0-0 2, Trisha Nesbitt 0-0 0-0 0, Theairra Taylor 6-7 1-1 14, Bethany Doolittle 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 30-59 9-10 74.
CALIFORNIA (84): Gennifer Brandon 4-9 3-5 11, Talia Caldwell 4-6 3-4 11, Brittany Boyd 4-9 6-11 15, Layshia Clarendon 5-12 6-7 16, Lindsay Sherbert 1-5 0-0 3, Afure Jemerigbe 2-6 0-0 5, Eliza Pierre 3-7 1-1 7, Reshanda Gray 6-9 2-2 14, Justine Hartman 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 30-66 21-30 84.
Halftime: California 42, Iowa 33. 3-point goals: Iowa 5-14 (Krei 3-5, Wahlin 1-4, Dixon 0-3, Logic 0-1, Taylor 1-1), California 3-16 (Boyd 1-4, Clarendon 0-5, Sherbert 1-4, Jemerigbe 1-2, Pierre 0-1). Team fouls: Iowa 21, California 16. Fouled out: Johnson. Rebounds: Iowa 29 (Johnson, Taylor 6), California 41 (Caldwell 9). Assists: Iowa 18 (Logic 11), California 18 (Boyd 8). Steals: Iowa 9 (Logic 3), California 13 (Boyd 6). Turnovers: Iowa 18, California 11.[nggallery id=858]