Nov. 26, 2005
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico - After trailing the defending national champion by only four points at halftime, California lost to No. 5 Baylor, 75-58, Saturday afternoon at the Soul Ball Room in the Convention Center of the Aventura Spa Palace Resort. The Golden Bears dropped to 4-2 following the loss in their final game of the first-annual Caribbean Classic, while the Lady Bears improved to 5-0.
"Early on, maybe it's being young and not being intimidated," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "I don't think the kids were at all intimidated going out there. They're young and naïve, and they went out and played hard. They executed the game plan really well. We knew we needed to take Sophia (Yong) and (Angela) Tisdale out of the game a little bit. They did a good job with the game plan. That's why we were only down four at the half."
Cal hung with Baylor for the entire first half and led on several occasions. If it wasn't for 14 first-half turnovers, many of which were unforced, the Golden Bears might have led at the break.
Freshman guard Alexis Gray-Lawson, who led Cal with a career-high 21 points, scored the first basket of the game. Neither team led by more than two points until Baylor opened up a 16-11 lead following a three-pointer from Chameka Scott with 9:17 left in the first half.
Freshman guard Jene Morris hit a three-pointer to ignite a 6-0 Cal run to help the Golden Bears reclaim a 17-16 lead with 7:38 remaining until halftime.
A jumper by freshman forward/center Devanei Hampton at 5:14 gave Cal its last lead of the game at 21-20. The game was tied at 24-24 before Baylor entered the locker room on an 8-4 run.
Cal missed its first five shots of the second half and committed two turnovers before Morris nailed a jumper to pull the Golden Bears within 36-30 with 16:54 left in the game.
Baylor's Rachel Allison hit one of two free throws to give her team its first double-digit lead a 40-30, but the Golden Bears answered with two free throws from Gray-Lawson.
After that, Cal's offense went cold and the Golden Bears committed three turnovers, helping Baylor build an 18-point lead at 52-34. Led by Gray-Lawson's penetration and outside shooting, Cal refused to go away. Gray-Lawson hit her third three-pointer of the contest to keep her team within 15 points.
"Lexi really took on the challenge," said Boyle. "She did a great job on both ends of the floor. She's playing almost 40 minutes for us. She's getting more comfortable with the offense. She understands conceptually what we want to do defensively when we make changes. Every day, she's growing and picking up some new things."
Baylor led by as many as 21 points at 70-49 with 2:17 to go, but a 7-2 Cal spurt, keyed by a three-point play from Morris, brought the Bears as close as 16 points.
"The youth of our team showed in the first 10 minutes of the second half," said Boyle "A veteran team like Baylor can really put you away. We got rushed. We had three kids foul out. I was applauding their effort in being aggressive, but at the same time, it's hard to finish a team when three of your best players foul out of the game (Ashley Walker, Morris and Hampton)."
Morris tallied 12 points today, and Hampton recorded her first collegiate double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Baylor All-American forward Sophia Young notched a double-double (12 points and 15 rebounds), but Cal held her to only four points in the first half. She averaged 23.8 ppg prior to the game. Guard Angela Tisdale paced the Lady Bears with 16 points, and Scott added 11.
Cal grabbed a season-high 45 rebounds, which was one better than Baylor. The Bears were hurt by 25 turnovers and 34.5 percent shooting for the game. Cal held Baylor way below the 85.8 ppg it averaged through four games, and their 46.9 team field goal percentage. The Lady Bears hit 43.1 percent from the floor.
Cal returns to the Bay Area on Monday and will host the Contra Costa Times Classic Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4. UNLV faces Albany in the first game at 1 p.m. PT Saturday, and Cal battles Columbia at 3 p.m.
Other Cal Quotes
Coach Joanne Boyle
"We had 25 turnovers. I felt like 20 of them were unforced. What happens in the second half is that a veteran team comes, and they put a little bit more pressure on us. We were trying to score too early. We sent them to the free throw line 31 times. That was a difference, and 25 less opportunities for us to capitalize."
Freshman forward/center Devanei Hampton
"We stopped their post players. We didn't know that their guards were going to come out shooting like they did. Otherwise, we did a pretty good job stopping the ball. We stayed within four points."
"We were excited coming out playing Baylor today, ranked No. 5 in the country. Not too many players have that opportunity right now. We took advantage of it and ran with it."