No. 9/9 Bears Down Devils to Maintain Pac-10 Lead
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/14/2008

Feb. 14, 2008

Final Stats |  Quotes |  Notes

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne is so impressed by Ashley Walker's rebounding prowess that she makes her own post players watch film of the California star. The Sun Devils saw Walker at her best in person.

Walker had 15 points, 11 rebounds and sparked a key second-half run that helped No. 9 California finish off its first regular season sweep against Arizona State in nine years with a 70-60 victory Thursday night.

"She's always problematic on the boards," Turner Thorne said. "I don't think it matters who it is when you don't put a body on them. She rebounds every shot. She is a great rebounder. She's not just a good rebounder, she's a great rebounder. She's somebody I have my posts look at on film."

Walker had help on the inside from Devanei Hampton, who led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The two post players dominated as the Golden Bears (22-3, 13-1 Pac-10) overpowered the Sun Devils (16-8, 10-3) to keep their hold on first place in the conference.

Cal outrebounded Arizona State 42-29, leading to 24 second-chance points. That overshadowed a sloppy night handling the ball as Cal committed 22 turnovers and helped the Bears reach the 70-point mark in regulation for the first time all conference season.

"We scored 70 points, finally. Finally!" coach Joanne Boyle said. "I feel like we're back on track offensively. We still have to do a better job taking care of the ball. I thought our shot selection was good. We rushed some things early and I think we settled down. Dev took over offensively, Ashley was all over the boards. I felt like we were more of a unit today."

Briann January had back-to-back layups off steals by Reagan Pariseau to help Arizona State pull to 42-41 midway through the second half.

Walker then had five points and four rebounds during an 11-0 run that broke open a one-point game and gave the Bears a 53-41 lead. Cal scored six of its points during the run off offensive rebounds.

"Staying on the offensive boards is something I do," Walker said. "I can get around people and run. I just have a knack for knowing where the ball is going to come. I told myself that I was going to get every one I could possibly get. When they were coming off the rim I was watching them and going for them."

Natasha Vital added 13 points for the Bears.

Jill Noe scored 16 points, January added 12 and Sybil Dosty had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Arizona State, which had won five straight but fell to 0-7 against ranked teams.

"We definitely let up a little on the perimeter and got a little soft," said Pariseau, who also had 10 points. "We had been forcing them into turnovers and making them uncomfortable all game. We have to sustain and stay with what works."

The Sun Devils were swept by Cal for the first time since 1998-99, also losing 64-51 at home on Jan. 17, when Hampton scored a career-high 28 points. Their only other conference loss came against Stanford, which hosts Arizona State on Saturday.

Instead of the Sun Devils trying to keep Stanford from its eighth straight Pac-10 title, it's Cal that has a one-game lead over the Cardinal with four games left in the regular season. The Bears have set a school record for conference wins in a season and have 15 straight at home. They still have a showdown upcoming at Haas Pavilion on Feb. 23 against the Cardinal.

The Bears fell behind by eight points early before Hampton helped them rally with strong inside play that keyed an 8-0 run late in the first half. Vital's 3-pointer in the final seconds gave Cal a 30-27 lead at the half.