February 21, 1999
OAKLAND - Courtney Johnson took control of the visiting Huskies Sunday, leading the final charge to push California into a narrow 58-56 victory over Washington in Kaiser Arena. The win snaps a 13-game Washington winning streak over the Bears.
"It would be easy for our players to have said that there's just five games left," said California head coach Marianne Stanley, "but they were all focused today. We've gotten back to playing a lot more aggressive."
California pulled out of a 27-33 halftime deficit to threaten numerous times through the final 15 minutes of the game before Johnson smashed through the Washington Dawg Pound.
With 3:05 remaining in the game and California down 51-52, Sherrise Smith picked Megan Franza's pocket, feeding Johnson on the breakaway for a one-point advantage over the Huskies.
Seconds later, Lauren Ashbaugh, who finished with a season-high 12 rebounds (nine in the second half), added a steal of her own and the Bears season-high 14th steal of the game, intercepting an errant pass from Julia Gray, and handing off to Smith, who would again dish out the ball, this time to a waiting Paige Bowie who, like her old self, nailed the clutch three-pointer back in the right corner to push the California lead to four.
Re-enter Johnson, sent to the charity stripe off a hard check to the chest by Malinda Lynch, who hit 1-of-2, giving the Bears a five point, 57-52 lead. Franza followed with a driving hook shot and Gray added a lay-up following her own steal, cutting Cal's lead to 57-56 with :20 seconds remaining. Johnson would be sent the line one more time, with 0:12 left on the clock, hitting once to score the final point of the game and clinching an intense and energetic California comeback victory.
"Sherrise Smith was one heck of a floor leader," said Washington head coach June Daugherty. "That kid has my admiration. She gets that team going offensively and defensively. Nothing in her eyes says her team is having a losing season."
Bowie contributed 15 points and Shavaki Jackson came off the bench to record five points, four rebounds, and a career-high two steals on the afternoon.
Washington was led in scoring by Jamie Redd and Franza, who each finished with 14 points. Amber Hall added a double-double showing 10 points and 10 rebounds.
California jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first half before being held to just 28% in the first 20 minutes of action, compared to the Huskies 47% mark on the floor. The Bears tied the game with 2:46 remaining in the period on a 5-0 run led by Jackson. However, Washington would tally six unanswered points in the final two minutes before heading into the locker room.
California travels to Arizona Thursday to take on the Wildcats at 7:00 p.m. before facing Arizona State Saturday in Tempe, also at 7:00 p.m. The Bears return home for their final series against the Oregon schools March 4.