Nov. 28, 2008
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I -
The No. 3 California Golden Bears improved to 5-0 to start the season with a 68-54 victory over the Texas Tech Lady Raiders Friday night at the Paradise Jam tournament at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. Ashley Walker scored a tournament-high 30 points to lead the Bears.
Cal started the game on a 7-0 run, keeping Texas Tech off the scoreboard until the 16:07 mark of the first period. The first half was dominated by Cal at the freethrow line, with the Bears taking 20 freethrows in the period, scoring 16 of their 38 points from the line. The Bears took a 38-29 advantage into the locker room.
In the second half, it was the Bears offense that faltered, with the Raiders pulling within four, 38-34, after Cal did not score a point in the first five minutes of the half. The scoring drought was ended with senior center Devanei Hampton pulling up for a three-pointer from the top of the arch. It was just the sixth three-pointer Hampton has hit in her career and the first she has connected on since the 2006-07 season. The basket reignited the Bear offense, with baskets by junior guards Lauren Greif and Alexis Gray-Lawson falling shortly thereafter to put the Bears back in control. A three-pointer by senior forward Ashley Walker at the ten minute mark extended the Bear lead to 13. It was the first made-three by Walker since her freshman season.
Walker later extended the lead to 16 when she shot four straight freethrows following a double technical called against Texas Tech head coach Kristy Curry. Curry was ejected from the game after arguing with the officials. The Bears cruised through the remainder of the game, holding on for a 68-54 victory.
The officials whistled 49 total fouls in the game, sending both teams to the line for a combined 54 free throw attempts. Walker and Gray-Lawson each scored double-digits from the foul line. Walker was a perfect 11-11 from the charity stripe, the third time in Cal history a Bear has been a perfect 10-10 or better from the freethrow line in a game. Lawson hit 10 of her 11 attempts. Walker was 9-14 from the field, scoring a tournament high 30 points. It was the third time in her Cal career she has scored 30 or more points in a game, the last coming in the 2007-08 opener when she scored 31 against Fresno State. Her career high is 32, scored against USC her sophomore season.
"It was a ragged game. There is no flow to it," head Coach Joanne Boyle said."You end up having people do things outside themselves as they are just trying to get something going. When that happens, you just have to get your team to regroup. It wasn't their fault that everything was so ragged, they couldn't get into a rhythm, but when the game is called like that, we just have to find a way to play through it."
Gray-Lawson finished the game with 19 points. She comes into the tournament finale with 996 career points, needing just four more to become the 20th Cal women's basketball player to reach that benchmark.
The team's victory pushes the Bears out to a 5-0 start to the season for just the second time in Cal women's basketball history, matching the start of the 1981-82 Bears.
The Bears enter tomorrow's game against Iowa as the only 2-0 team in their bracket of the round robin tournament. Iowa fell to South Florida 82-79 in overtime in Friday's early game. The two teams will tip off at 5:30 pm Pacific Time (9:30 local time) Saturday night in the final game of the tournament. A victory will guarantee the tournament championship for the Bears. A loss leaves the tournament title to be decided by tiebreakers.