Jan. 4, 2003
ATHENS, Ga. - With hopes of a sweep of the state of Georgia on their southern road trip and their best start since the 1998-99 season, the California Golden Bears could not keep up with an inspired Georgia squad, falling 94-61, Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
The loss drops Cal, which had won two straight, to 5-6 on the season. Meanwhile, Georgia, which fell out of the top-25 this week for the first time this season, improved to 9-4
The Lady Bulldogs scored on their first possession just 11 seconds into the game and that was a sign of things to come. A junior Timea Ivanyi putback at the 19:19 mark put the Bears on the board, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the game. Georgia poured in the next eight points and saw their lead increase to as many as 22 (42-20) in the first half. The teams went into the locker room with Georgia leading, 42-22.
"We did not come out as aggressively as we needed to," said head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "I was disappointed in us defensively. We didn't block out very well. We need to play better defense."
Cal was facing its greatest deficit, 76-42, before going on its strongest run of the afternoon, an 11-0 run highlighted by seven points by sophomore Kiki Williams. But Georgia immediately responded with a 13-0 run of its own to post its largest advantage of the game, 89-53.
Williams came off the bench to provide a season-high-tying 15 points for Cal, while freshman Lexie Helgerson hit three three-pointers to finish with her first career double-figure scoring effort with 10 points. Williams also paced the team with seven rebounds.
Helgerson, who had made just one three-pointer on one attempt through the team's first nine games, is now 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in the last two games and 6-for-8 (.750) on the season from long range.
Despite Georgia's decided height advantage which featured players standing at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-5, the teams tied in rebounding with 39 apiece. The Lady Bulldogs had come into the game averaging nearly 46 boards a game while giving up 35.4.
In an attempt to find the correct combination of players on the floor, Horstmeyer cleared her 16-player bench for the first time this season.
Five Georgia players scored in double figures, led by Sherill Baker's 19. Four of those in double-digits came off the bench which accounted for 66 of the team's points.
California returns to action Thursday, Jan. 9, when it resumes Pacific-10 Conference play at Oregon.