Cal Tops Washington, 70-40
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/06/2009

Feb. 6, 2009

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SEATTLE (AP) -Pac-10 scoring leader Ashley Walker scored seven of her 24 points in the first five minutes of the second half and No. 3 California beat Washington 70-40 Friday night in Seattle.

The California Golden Bears (19-2, 10-0 Pac-10) continued to improve on the best conference start in school history thanks to Walker's dominant play inside. Leading the conference with a 20.5-point average, Walker scored 11 of Cal's first 20 in the second half, turning a nine-point halftime lead into a comfortable 20-point cushion in just seven minutes.

So much for any worry about looking ahead to the Feb. 14 showdown at rival Stanford.

"They haven't even come up," Boyle said of the seventh-ranked Cardinal, who also won by 30 on Friday night at Washington State. "The kids know the urgency of every game, especially road trips. This has been such a focus this weekend for us and taking care of business here."

California won its school-record 11th straight overall by outscoring Washington 43-22 in the second half and handing the Huskies (5-15, 1-9) yet another huge setback. The Bears beat Washington by 28 last month by holding the Huskies to just nine points in the first half.

Despite a scrappy first half, this time didn't turn out any better for Washington, which dropped a school-record ninth straight.

"Coach told us to be more aggressive and play a little harder. We were really sloppy in the first half," Walker said. "Once we were more focused in our offense we were able to get tips and steals and run and push the ball and be less sloppy than we were in the first half."

Walker and her teammates poured it on from the start of the second half. Walker was so dominant, she headed to the bench with 6 minutes remaining after making 11 of 15 shots and grabbing nine rebounds. It was the fourth time in the last fifth games that Walker topped 20 points and this might have been her easiest 24 points of the season, overpowering an undersized and slower Washington interior. Walker had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with Washington.

Senior forward Devanei Hampton had 15 points, junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson added 14 and junior guard Natasha Vital scored 10 for California.

Walker had nine rebounds to go with the 24 points, putting her at 991 for her career, just nine shy of becoming the second player in Cal history to record 1,000 career boards.

Christina Rozier led Washington with 12 points and Liz Lay added 10. For one half, Washington fared better than in its first matchup against the Bears last month in Berkeley, when Cal stymied the Huskies in a 62-34 win. It was the second half of an embarrassing weekend for Washington, who lost to Stanford two days earlier by a Pac-10 record 77 points.

The Huskies reached the 9-point mark with more than 11 minutes left in the first half on Friday night, and even though Washington shot just 23 percent in the first half, they trailed only 27-18 at halftime thanks to a scrappy defense that forced 11 turnovers by Cal.

"I think we had a fairly decent showing here, especially for a half," Washington coach Tia Jackson said.

The tight first half was a rare positive for the Huskies, who haven't won since Jan. 3. But Walker scored on California's first second-half possession to start a 16-4 run, with the Bears hitting six of their first seven field goal attempts in the period, that put any thoughts of an upset to rest. The Bears led by 30 on a couple of occasions, including the final score.

The Bears head over to eastern Washington, where they will face the Washington State Cougars Sunday afternoon, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. in Pullman.