Jan. 25, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. - No. 20 California trailed No. 10 Arizona State by only four points with under five minutes to play in the game but saw its four-game winning streak snapped with a 66-54 loss Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Sophomore forward/center Ashley Walker paced the Golden Bears (15-5, 6-4 Pac-10) with 20 points and eight rebounds, marking her seventh game with 20 or more points this season. Sophomore forward/center Devanei Hampton tallied 15 points for the Bears, including 12 in the second half.
Down 56-52, Cal senior guard Keanna Levy grabbed a rebound and threw a pass down court to Walker, who barely missed a transition layup with a defender trailing closely behind her. At the other end of the court, ASU's Jill Noe, responded with her second three-pointer of the game with 4:09 to play. Noe paced ASU (19-2, 9-1) with 19 points, and Emily Westerberg contributed 15 points.
Noe's trey ignited a 10-2 Sun Devils' run to close the game. Freshman forward/center Rama N'diaye scored on a layup with 1:40 to go for the Bears' final points.
Cal got off to a sluggish start offensively in the first half, falling behind 19-9 on a three-pointer by Reagan Pariseau with 10:12 remaining until halftime.
Keyed by six of Walker's 12 first-half points, Cal went on a 7-1 run to close the gap to 20-16 less than five minutes later. N'diaye stole the ball near center court and fed Levy for a fast-break layup, bringing the Bears to within 24-22 with 3:18 left in the half. Walker, a member of the Wade Trophy watch list, scored a basket in the key off a pass from freshman guard Natasha Vital to cut the deficit to 26-24.
Cal, which trailed 28-24 at halftime, struggled at the free throw line, hitting only 47.6 percent (10-of-21) in the contest, while ASU sunk 82.6 percent of its opportunities (19-of-23). The Sun Devils shot 35.7 percent in the second half from the floor but secured the win by hitting 16-of-19 free throws (84.2 percent) after halftime.
Walker committed two fouls in the first minute of the second half and posted her third at the 16:37 mark, allowing Danielle Orsillo to convert a three-point play that propelled ASU to a 35-27 lead. Walker left the game briefly but didn't foul out until the final six seconds of the game.
Cal answered with an 8-2 run, which began with a banked three-pointer by Vital, to trail only 37-35 with 13:31 remaining in the game.
After the Sun Devils rebuilt their lead to 44-36, the Bears battled back to within 47-45 with 8:32 on the clock, sparked by six points from Walker, two from Hampton and one from N'diaye. Cal's final points in that run came when Walker converted two free throws after ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne was whistled for a technical foul. ASU extended its lead to seven points before Cal made its final charge.
Cal, which began the game with the second-best rebounding margin in the Pac-10 at +6.5, were outrebounded 41-29. The Bears shot 43.8 percent from the field for the game.
Cal looks to get back on track at Arizona Saturday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m. MT. The Wildcats lost to No. 9 Stanford, 86-76, tonight.