BERKELEY, Calif. – Oregon State coach Scott Rueck gave the stat sheet a quick glance at halftime and couldn't have been happier.
The Beavers had a double-digit lead, held a slim edge over California in rebounding and were getting good success out of their defensive transition.
They just couldn't keep it up.
Layshia Clarendon scored 18 of her 26 points in the second half and the sixth-ranked Golden Bears rallied from 17 points down to beat Oregon State 58-56 on Sunday, handing the Beavers their 10th consecutive loss.
"I thought we did a great job in defensive transition in the first half and we were up on the boards," Rueck said. "If you're in control of those two things against this team, you're competing. I'm really proud of the team for battling like they did in those two areas all day."
It just wasn't enough to complete what would have been Oregon State's first win over a ranked team since 2004.
Jamie Weisner had 20 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double this season, while Mollee Schwegler added 15 points for the Beavers (9-19, 3-13). Seven of Oregon State's conference losses have been by five points or fewer.
The win didn't come easily for Cal.
The Beavers, who start two freshmen and a sophomore, gave the Bears fits in the first half and were positioned to beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2004 before unraveling in the second half.
Cal had limited Oregon State to 14 points in the first half of their first meeting earlier this season but it was a complete turnaround in the rematch.
The Beavers built a 28-11 lead with just over three minutes left in the first half behind the aggressive deep shooting by Weisner and Schwegler. Weisner, the Pac-12's leading 3-point shooter, made three 3s while Schwegler added two from beyond the arc, including a one-hander that banked in just before the shot clock went off.
The Bears struggled to get going.
They missed 13 of their first 16 shots, blew a breakaway layup and let a defensive rebound slip away for a turnover against a team Cal beat by 22 on Feb. 1.
"I really credit Oregon State because it was more them being good than it was us not being ready," Bears coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "They were tough, they knew what they were doing and we faced major adversity."
Gennifer Brandon helped the Bears briefly stop the slide with three free throws over the final 2:44 while Eliza Pierre drove through traffic and flipped the ball off the backboard to help cut Oregon State's lead to 30-18 at the break.
Brittany Boyd, who was held out of Friday's win over Oregon with a strained groin, helped jumpstart the Bears in the second half.
She scored Cal's first basket of the second half on a breakaway layup then had four points, two steals and an assist during a 6-0 run that pulled the Bears within 36-31 with 15:16 remaining.
Weisner ended the burst with a three-point play and Oregon State later extended its lead to 10 before Clarendon took over.
She scored eight straight points during one stretch and made an off-balance 14-foot leaner that gave Cal a 57-51 lead with just under 4 minutes remaining. The Bears (25-2, 15-1 Pac-12) didn't make another basket after that but held on for the win after being dominated for much of the game.
California's 13th straight win assured it of finishing no worse than second place in the Pac-12 for the fourth time in six years, though Coach Lindsay Gottlieb's team is eyeing a bigger prize. The Bears have never won the conference championship, something they can accomplish with wins against Washington State and Washington next weekend.
Oregon State pulled within 57-54 on Ali Gibson's 3-pointer, and after one free by Cal's Talia Caldwell, Deven Hunter scored on a putback to make it 58-56. The Beavers took only one shot after that but ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley's long jumper missed and Pierre grabbed the rebound to secure the win Cal's 14th consecutive win over Oregon State.