Nov. 9, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. - California opened the 2005-06 season with a 64-45 victory over Eastern Washington Wednesday night in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at Haas Pavilion.
"I'm happy we got the win and protected our home court," said first-year Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. We were nervous and then settled down and found our rhythm."
Freshman forward Ashley Walker and freshman guard Alexis Gray-Lawson paced Cal with 14 points each. Junior guard Sarah Pool and sophomore forward Krista Foster chipped in 10 points apiece for the Bears.
Cal led 15-9 with 11:18 left in the first half before the Bears went on a 9-2 run to go up 24-11 following two free throws from Walker with 6:25 remaining until halftime.
The Bears (1-0) held a 26-16 edge at the break after the Eagles' Brittney Osborn hit a three-pointer as time expired. Osborn led her team with 13 points.
Walker scored the first six points of the second half to propel Cal on a 13-0 run. The spurt pushed the Bears' advantage to 39-16 with 13:45 remaining in the game.
"I talk to the players all the time about strategies in games," said Boyle. "The most important part of the game is the first five and the last five minutes of every half. We started off the first five minutes of the second half great, but we ended the last five minutes of the first half poorly. We finished strong. Lexi settled down in the second half and wasn't forcing as much and found her mid-range jumper. In some ways, we tend as a team to go as she goes."
Eastern Washington (0-1) closed to within 12 points at 51-39 with 4:41 to go after Cal committed three straight turnovers, but four free throws from senior forward Renee Wright and a three-pointer from Pool gave the Bears a comfortable 19-point cushion. EWU didn't get any closer than 17 points the rest of the game.
Wright played all 40 minutes for the Bears and posted a career-high 14 rebounds to lead the team. Cal dressed only eight players for tonight's game due to injuries and a suspension. After tonight's contest, Boyle announced that freshman forward/center Devanei Hampton's two-game suspension had been lifted. Hampton and Gray-Lawson were 2005 McDonald's All-Americans.
Freshman forward Shantrell Sneed provided a great spark for the Bears off the bench, contributing eight points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
Cal shot 45.1 percent for the game and held Eastern Washington to 26.6 percent. The Bears helped their cause by hitting 88.9 percent (16-18) from the charity stripe.
The Bears face the winner of the Nov. 11 New Mexico-Oral Roberts game in the second round of the Preseason WNIT on Sunday, Nov. 13. The location and time will be determined after Friday's game.