Jan. 19, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - Freshmen Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker each posted double-doubles and Alexis Gray-Lawson tallied a game-high 23 points to lead California to a 66-64 victory over No. 13 Arizona State Thursday night at Haas Pavilion. Cal improved to 13-5 overall (5-3 Pac-10) with its ninth straight home victory, while the Sun Devils fell to 14-4 (5-3).
"It was a great game for us," said Cal first-year head coach Joanne Boyle. "I was speechless in the locker room. I think you saw how hard this team plays. There's nothing left in the tank. I felt we were really running out of gas with 10 minutes left, playing five people. At the five-minute mark, I thought we were running on fumes. At the two-minute mark, I don't know what we were going with. When you have a team that is that committed against a veteran team that'll make runs on you, they withstood them the whole time. Not only their effort, but they executed the game-plan to a tee. For a young team, a team with a lot of freshmen, I told them that I was speechless. I'm so proud of them."
The win marked Cal's first over a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll since an 80-75 triumph over No. 9 Colorado State Dec. 21, 1998, in the championship game of the Oakland Tribune Classic. The Sun Devils entered the game ranked No. 15 in the AP poll and No. 13 in the ESPN-USA Today-WBCA poll. Cal's last win over a team ranked in the coaches' poll was Dec. 27, 2003 (61-57 over No. 22 Oregon).
"We're ready for this (beating a Top 25 team)," said Boyle. "I don't know if I'm ready for it. They're ready for it. They want it. Lexi is waving me off at the end of the game. She's not going to listen to what I'm saying. Sometimes, I just say, `Okay, she has her team.' Here we go."
Cal, which led by as many as 16 points in the first half, clung to a 59-57 edge with 2:18 to play following two free throws from ASU guard Briann January. Gray-Lawson then converted 1-of-2 foul shots and hit a layup to extend the Bears advantage to 62-57 with 70 ticks on the clock. Amy Denson, who paced the Sun Devils with 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, sank a three-pointer to bring her team back to within two with 54 seconds remaining.
Walker answered on the other end of the court with a layup, and ASU was never able to draw even. ASU guard Danielle Orsillo made a basket as time expired for the final score of the game. Orsillo notched 14 points off the bench.
Cal jumped out to an 8-0 lead with 16:37 left in the first half on a fast-break layup from senior forward Renee Wright. ASU cut the deficit to 9-7 before Cal erupted with a 16-2 run to grab a 25-9 lead with 7:32 to play in the half. The Bears scored in a variety of fashions during the run, including a pretty bank shot from Gray-Lawson to cap the spurt.
The Sun Devils, who have lost three of their last five games after winning nine straight, threw a 10-2 run at the Bears to trail 27-19 following two free throws from Emily Westerberg. Cal held ASU's starters to only 25 points on 10-of-33 shooting.
Cal pushed its lead back to 32-21 courtesy of a three-pointer from freshman guard Jene Morris, who tallied 11 points tonight. The Bears led 36-24 at the half after shooting 59.3 percent from the floor. For the game, Cal shot 55.3 percent and held ASU, which advanced to the 2005 NCAA Sweet 16, to 35.7 percent.
At halftime, Cal paid tribute to the memory of Alisa Lewis, who passed away two years ago today during her junior seaason on the Cal basketball team.
The Bears were able to pull out the win despite 24 turnovers and hitting only 52.0 percent of their free throws (13-of-25). Cal's starters each played at least 35 minutes. A 45-35 rebounding margin helped Cal pull out the upset. Hampton tallied 17 points and led her team with 14 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season, and Walker added 10 boards and 10 points for her fifth consecutive double-double.
"For the program, for the school, it's our biggest win," said Boyle. "It's going to wake some people up. We have to finish business. This is an unbelievable win. It's a stepping stone. Hopefully, it's a win that recruits take notice of, that our fans take notice of and the community takes notice of. We can play at this level. We're ready to take on whomever. That being said, we have to finish business on Sunday. Or, this goes unnoticed."
"Coming into this game, we were really prepared and ready as far as experience wise to play them (from the New Mexico and Baylor games)," said Gray-Lawson.
Next up for Cal is Arizona Sunday, Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. That game can be seen live on Fox Sports Net.