Dec. 6, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Danielle Adams scored eight of her 15 points over the final 3:18 and the Aggies rallied late for a hard-fought 68-61 victory over No. 20 California on Sunday in the Colliers International Classic final.
"Folks, that was an NCAA playoff game," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "I had some kids make good decisions down the stretch. The guard play was outstanding all ballgame. My two Syds, you win with guards."
Adams made 6 of her 7 free throw attempts in the waning minutes and Tanisha Smith hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:36 to play for the Aggies (6-0), who overcame a 17-3 second-half run by the Golden Bears (4-3) and a 49-34 rebounding deficit. Adaora Elonu scored 16 points, Smith finished with 14 and Colson had 13 and six assists.
The Bears trailed 44-35 early in the second half before their big run gave them a 52-47 lead, but they missed too many opportunities down the stretch and committed 21 turnovers.
"It's just frustrating because we had control. We didn't finish," Bears coach Joanne Boyle said.
Cal outscrapped and outhustled Texas A&M for much of the game, but still lost another tough one to a ranked opponent. The Bears lost 69-49 at home to No. 8 Baylor on Nov. 22, then at third-ranked Ohio State 83-71 on Nov. 29.
The Bears need to regroup in a hurry with San Jose State coming to town Wednesday night.
"If you were in the great world of scheduling, as a young team you would play one of those," Boyle said. "It puts pressure on us. I'm not going to say it doesn't. Now you have to make a statement in a different way."
Boyle, in her fifth season, will have to wait at least another game to get her 100th victory at the school. She will become only the second women's basketball coach to reach that mark at Cal along with Gooch Foster (279).
It was the second straight game the Aggies needed a late charge to win after they beat Southern Illinois 72-58 on Saturday at Cal's Haas Pavilion.
"Ha, just like we did last night against Southern Illinois, we looked like we had tired legs. We were reaching for the ball," Blair said.
Texas A&M came in as the fifth-highest scoring team in the country but shot only 36.1 percent Sunday and went 6 of 17 from 3-point range. The Aggies did make 18 of their 23 free throws.
After Saturday's win, Blair called for more from Adams. She delivered when it counted in this one.
"Coach was upset. Yesterday he was telling her, 'You know, you're just trying to be a finesse player,"' Colson said. "He said: 'Look at your size. You need to be down there attacking the basket every time.' This game, her presence definitely helped us pull out the W."
Elonu scored four straight points to get Texas A&M within 52-51 with 3:58 to play and Adams' two free throws at the 3:18 mark gave her team the lead.
The Aggies get to go home to finish a tough stretch in which they are playing four games in seven days. Texas A&M has a home date with North Texas on Tuesday.
Texas A&M committed only seven turnovers, including just one in the first half when the Aggies shot 46.9 percent despite a couple of cold stretches.
Gray-Lawson matched Cal's career 3-point mark with 159, which she shares with Jennifer Self (1989-92).
Cal crashed the boards to create second-chance opportunities in the first half, but was just 6 of 13 from the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes and 12 of 24 overall.
"I think I'm frustrated with myself more than anything," Gray-Lawson said. "My team looks for me to do certain things. I didn't make free throws. I went 4-for-9. To me, that's frustrating."
The Aggies missed five of their first six 3-point tries before making four of their next six on the way to a 36-29 halftime lead.
The game was the Championship of the Colliers International Classic, with A&M walking off the court with the winners trophy. A&M's Tanisha Smith was named the Tournament MVP. The All-Tournament team consisted of Cal's Alexis Gray-Lawson and DeNesha Stallworth, Texas A&M's Danielle Adams, Colorado State's Kim Mestdagh, and Southern Illinois' Teri Oliver. In the consolation game, played just prior to the Cal and A&M showdown, Colorado State upended Southern Illinois 53-62.
Cal will play again on Wednesday, Dec. 9, hosting the San Jose State Spartans at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. It will be Cal's last home game until the third week of the Pac-10 schedule when they hose Washington on Thursday, January 14. The game will be carried live on CalBears.com with Dave Lewis calling the action.