WASHINGTON (AP) — Before California's game at Georgetown, Brittany Boyd had a talk with an assistant coach about what she could do to help snap the 10th-ranked Golden Bears' two-game losing streak.
The conclusion? Play strong defense.
Boyd more than delivered, tallying nine steals to go with nine points during California's 67-52 victory.
"I took this game kind of personal as, 'OK, I need to play excellent defense to help my team win this game,'" Boyd said.
Rashanda Gray scored 15 points, Mercedes Jefflo had 14, and Afure Jemerigbe added 13 for the Golden Bears, who completed their trip to the nation's Capitol on a better note than they started. California lost at George Washington on Friday night.
"It was all about getting better, being able to guard people, being able to come back as fighters today, and I saw a lot of that," said California coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who guided the Golden Bears to their first Final Four last April.
California did a lot of guarding, forcing Georgetown into 28 turnovers and scoring 40 points off of them. The Golden Bears also outscored the Hoyas 10-0 in fastbreak points.
Natalie Butler scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Katie McCormick added 14 points for Georgetown (1-2), which dropped its second straight game despite outrebounding California 41-31.
"The way we usually play that doesn't affect us," McCormick said of California's pressure defense. "We just didn't take care of the ball for the press."
Georgetown wasn't helped when primary ball-handler Samisha Powell picking up her fourth foul 30 seconds into the second half with the Hoyas already trailing 34-24.
Georgetown was also without Shayla Cooper, the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year, who was suspended before the game indefinitely for "detrimental conduct in violation of team rules," according to Sports Information Director Barbara Barnes. Cooper averaged 16 points and 8.5 rebounds in Georgetown's first two games.
California broke the game open with a 19-4 run in the first half that gave it a 28-11 advantage. The spurt included three fastbreak layups created by its defense. The closest the Hoyas got after that was 32-24 late in the half.
The Golden Bears' success started — and often ended — with Boyd, who made a large impact on the game despite poor shooting.
"She really responded to the challenge of being better defensively," Gottlieb said. "Brittany's not going to go 3-for-14 a lot of days, but what I'm proud of is nine steals, nine points, six rebounds, six assists and being a leader for us the whole game."
Boyd might have tied or broken her career high of 10 steals if she hadn't twisted her ankle taking a charge in the second half and sat for nearly 6 minutes.