January 20, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Gennifer Brandon (25 and guard Brittany Boyd (15) during the second half against the UCLA Bruins at Memorial Stadium. California won 70-65. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Cal Women Battle LSU

The second-seeded California Golden Bears women’s basketball team takes on the 6th-seeded LSU Lady Tigers in a Sweet 16 match up in the NCAA playoffs tonight in Spokane, WA.  Cal (30 – 3) defeated Fresno State 90 – 76 and South Florida 82 – 78 (OT) to earn a spot in the Spokane Regional Semifinal against LSU.  The Lady Tigers (22 – 11) from the SEC defeated Green Bay 75 – 71 and Penn State 71 – 66 in the first two rounds of the NCAA playoffs.

Consensus All-PAC-12 selection Layshia Clarendon (16.0 points per game) leads a balanced Cal scoring attack , followed by Brittany Boyd (12.7 ppg), Gennifer Brandon (12.5 ppg), and Talia Caldwell (9.2 ppg).  Brandon leads Cal with 11.3 rebounds per game, with Caldwell grabbing 7.3 rpg, and Boyd netting 5.5 rpg.  Boyd distributed 138 assists, and Clarendon shares the ball with 95 assists for the season.

Cal shoots 42.6 percent from the floor, 30.7 percent behind the 3-point line, and 61.6 percent from the free throw line.  Cal averages 72.5 ppg and 44.6 rpg, while allowing opponents 58.1 ppg and 33.0 rpg.

LSU is led by Theresa Plaisance (17.0 ppg), Adrienne Webb (14.6 ppg), Danielle Ballard (12.0 ppg), and Bianca Lutley (10.4 ppg).  Plaisance grabs 8.2 rpg, and Ballard contributes 6.6 rpg.  Jeanne Kenney dished out 133 assists, and Lutley chipped in 104 assists.

LSU shoots 43.1 percent from the floor, 29.6 percent behind the 3-point line, and 70.9 percent from the free throw line.  LSU averages 69.2 ppg and 38.7 rpg, while allowing opponents 63.5 ppg and 37.5 rpg.

LSU boasts a tall front court, but lack depth, so Cal will look to force an uptempo to challenge LSU’s short bench.  Plaisance is a force in the middle on both ends of the court for LSU, so the game will hinge on the ability of Cal’s athletic front court to neutralize Plaisance on the boards, and limiting LSU’s second-chance scoring opportunities.

On offense, Cal’s quickness should create driving lanes and open shots in the paint as well as on the perimeter.  Caldwell and Brandon dominate the boards, and with multiple scoring options, Cal should win going away.  A Cal win could potentially set up a classic rematch with PAC-12 archrival Stanford, who faces SEC opponent Georgia in the other Spokane Region Semifinal.

Tip off is 8:32 pm Pacific time.


Tags: Cal Bears California Golden Bears Basketball NCAA Playoffs Spokane Region Women's Basketball

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