Dec. 22, 2005
PULLMAN, Wash. - California posted its first Pac-10 win of the season with a 53-47 victory over Washington State Thursday night at Beasley Coliseum. The Golden Bears improved to 9-3 overall (1-1 Pac-10), while the Cougars fell to 6-4 (0-2).
"Coming off the loss at Washington, we knew we needed to split up here," said first-year Cal head coach Joanne Boyle, who also garnered her first Pac-10 win. "We need to come away with a win. How do we refocus after coming off a tough loss? It was a competitive grind it out game. I was nervous about the kids being tired and whether they could get back up after a loss. I thought we did that. We started off the game really strong. We definitely had our lulls, but we started strong and finished strong."
Cal led 12-9 with 12:37 to play before the Bears went on a 13-3 run to grab a 25-12 lead following Hampton's third straight bucket for the Bears. Walker scored on the baseline off a pass from freshman guard Jene Morris to give the Bears a 29-15 edge - their biggest of the game - with 6:52 remaining in the half.
Hampton led Cal with 12 first-half points but had to sit the final 6:37 of the half after being whistled for her second foul. The Bears, who shot a torrid 60.9 percent in the first 20 minutes, scored only two points the rest of the half with Hampton on the bench. WSU's Amanda DuRocher hit her second three-pointer of the half and Charmaine Jones, who led her team with nine points, also hit a trey to close the Bears' halftime lead to 31-25.
Walker scored six of Cal's first seven points of the second half, giving her team a 38-29 lead with 16 minutes left in the contest. A short jumper from Gray-Lawson, who had 10 second-half points, lifted the Bears to a 40-31 edge before the Cougars closed to 40-34 at the 12:41 mark.
WSU tied the game at 42-42 with an 8-0 run, which included a three-pointer and a three-point play from Katie Appleton. The Cougars grabbed their first lead of the game since being up 3-0 at 45-44 following two free throws from Jones, who led her team with 13 points.
The Bears answered with jumpers in the key from Gray-Lawson, Hampton and another by Gray-Lawson to go ahead 49-44 with 3:37 to play. DuRocher's third trey of the game brought the Cougars within 49-47. DuRocher finished the game with 11 points.
Walker came up with a critical steal with WSU trying to tie the game with under a minute to play. On the opposite end, Gray-Lawson scored on a driving layup on the right baseline and was fouled by Kate Benz. Gray-Lawson converted the three-point play to give the Bears a 52-47 edge with 22 ticks on the clock.
"They called a timeout (with 54 seconds left), and I told my team that we needed one stop," said Boyle. "I said (in the timeout), `If you get one stop, you'll win this game. Can you look at each other and say you'll get one stop?' I knew we were going to get the stop. They made a commitment to each other. They were yelling at each other in the huddle. I knew we were going to get the stop, and then it was about taking care of the ball and executing one or two quick hitters. Lexi did a good job calling two really good quick hitters and scored on both of them. That kind of deflated them. We put on a little bit of a press at the end, and that sealed the deal for us."
Cal shot 50.0 percent from the floor for the game and held WSU to 27.1 percent. The Cougars held a 38-30 rebounding advantage, including a 17-4 edge on the offensive glass. Benz, the Pac-10's leading rebounder, had 12 boards. Walker and junior guard Sarah Pool paced the Bears with six boards each.
Cal returns home to face UCLA in its Pac-10 home opener Friday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. PT.