Feb. 5, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. - California struggled offensively and suffered a 62-43 loss to Arizona State Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Bears' season low of 29.8 percent from the field led to a season low for points. When the teams last played on Jan. 10 in Berkeley, Cal converted 45.8 percent of its chances and held ASU to 33.9 percent. The Sun Devils shot 50 percent today.
"ASU's defense has made great strides," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "It took us out of everything we wanted to do offensively, and on top of it, we weren't getting offensive boards."
Junior guard Kristin Iwanaga paced Cal (9-12, 2-10 Pac-10) with 11 points, her fifth double-figure performance of the season, and three steals. Senior guard Nihan Anaz posted nine points, and junior forward Leigh Gregory had eight points and three steals for the Bears.
"K.I. is finally shooting, and we've needed K.I. to shoot," said Horstmeyer. "It was a bit of a breakout tonight."
Neither team led by more than three points for almost the first 13 minutes of the game. Cal went up 13-10 on Iwanaga's first of three three-pointers with 12:03 to play and led 17-14 at 9:32 following a layup from Olga Volkova.
With five different players contributing, ASU (14-6, 8-3) then went on a 14-1 run to go up 28-18 with 4:23 left in the first half. The Bears never let the Sun Devils out of their reach and entered halftime down 32-24 after four made free throws from Iwanaga and Renee Wright. Iwanaga almost sent the Bears into the locker room down only five with a desperation three-pointer that rolled around the rim as time expired.
Despite shooting only 28.6 percent in the first half, Cal stayed close by forcing Arizona State into 14 turnovers, while committing only nine. The teams each finished the game with 24 miscues.
After the break, the Sun Devils forced the Bears into seven turnovers in the first seven minutes. Following three-pointers from Amy Denson and Betsy Boardman, ASU went up 14 at 42-28 and later went up 19 at 47-28 at the 12:41 mark.
The Bears couldn't get any closer than 16 points the rest of the game and trailed by as many as 25.
Rebounding continues to be a point of emphasis for Cal, as the Sun Devils held a 36-25 edge on the glass. Anaz held team-high honors for the Bears with five.
A positive note is that Cal's free throw shooting is on the rise. The Bears sank 85.7 percent (12-14) from the charity stripe and have shot 75 percent or better in three of the last four games.
Carrrie Buckner and Kristen Kovesdy led Arizona State with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Cal looks for a split in the desert when the Bears travel to Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. PT.