I can’t believe we really won a championship! I don’t think anyone believed we could do it and everyone came out to support us. My best friend came from Poland, so I was super-excited today. It was great to be able to win it for everybody. -Alexis Gray-Lawson
The Cal Golden Bears ended their WNIT run taking the championship Saturday in Berkeley over Miami, 73-61. While Cal began the game on a hot 9-0 run, Miami came back and took a five point lead, 16-11, with 8:55 remaining in the half. Talia Caldwell led Cal’s resurgence and the Bears took back the lead. Miami never led again during the game.
Cal head coach Joanne Boyle expressed pride in her team’s victory after a tough season of off-court heartbreaks and not getting an NCAA tournament berth.
“I am incredibly excited for this group,” said Boyle. “They took the bull by the horns in postseason and said ‘we’re going to make the most of it.’ We decided to refocus and show people we can handle postseason play. I thought they did an unbelievable job today just finalizing it all.”
Cal senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson echoed her coach’s comments.
“It couldn’t have gotten better,” said Gray-Lawson about the victory. “I think our season was definitely about being up and down and dealing with adversity. I have dealt with adversity over my five years here. I think this was the hardest year for me playing with new people around me. They embraced me and I embraced them and we’ve become such a great team by doing so.”
Cal’s DeNesha Stallworth finish 21 points and Gray-Lawson added 17. Shenise Johnson led Miami with 21 points and Riquna Williams added 20.
Senior Gray-Lawson was selected the tournament MVP. She ended her college career as Cal’s all-time leader in made three-pointers (211) and games played (143). She is third on the all-time scoring list with 1,982 points.
The All-Tournament team team included: Stallworth, Michigan’s Veronica Hicks, Illinois State’s Nicolle Lewis, and Miami’s Williams and Johnson.