Nov. 28, 2004
HONOLULU, Hawaii - California pulled even late after trailing by 15 points in the first half before being edged by Hawaii, 70-68, Sunday at the Rainbow Wahine Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"We're not a team that will quit," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "We're still finding ourselves. We're finding our rotation. We got down early, and Hawaii did a good job. They play with reckless abandon, and they did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do. We just needed to get ourselves under control. For us, we grew up today."
Senior forward Leigh Gregory led the Golden Bears (1-3) in scoring for the third straight game, posting 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. For the tournament, the product of Pleasant Hill, Calif., averaged 22.0 ppg and converted 69.0 percent of her field goals (29-of-42). Freshman center Jessica Lawson posted a career-high 18 points and had a team-high seven rebounds for Cal.
"What we were able to do in this tournament was that we got Leigh in the block where she is comfortable, and she gained some confidence," said Horstmeyer. "Then she was more confident out on the perimeter. I thought she did a great job. She was versatile. She hit threes. She went inside-outside, high post, post moves, and she drove it a little bit. This tournament was a great performance from Leigh, and I look forward to her bringing it home. She's a senior. She wants to go out well."
Lawson scored Cal's first four points and the Bears led 11-9 five minutes into the game. Hawaii (1-2) then went on a 17-0 run spurred by three three-pointers to go ahead 26-11 with 8:26 until the break.
The Bears cut the deficit to nine twice and trailed 37-26 at the half. Gregory and Lawson scored Cal's final 12 points of the first half, with each accounting for six.
Cal came out with more intensity to start the second half and closed to within five points at 43-38 following a three-pointer from Gregory with 15:02 remaining in the game. After a three from Kiki Williams, Hawaii led only 45-43.
The host-Rainbow Wahine climbed ahead 54-45, but the Bears inched within 55-54 with just under eight minutes left on senior guard Kristin Iwanaga's third of four three-pointers, which was set up by a pass from Sarah Pool off penetration.
A basket from Gregory tied the game at 62-62 with 3:36 to go. Jade Abele, who led Hawaii with 21 points, sank her third trey of the game to give her team a 65-62 lead 31 seconds later. A layup from Gregory brought Cal within 65-64, but the Bears couldn't get over the hump.
"To Hawaii's credit, they did a good job of being confident and coming down and shooting the ball," said Horstmeyer. "No. 4 (Janevia Taylor) and the kid from Australia (Jade), who is just a gamer, hit some shots. You know that (Abele is) going to be their go-to player."
Iwanaga finished the contest with 12 points, and junior forward Renee Wright added eight points and six rebounds.
Also in double figures for Hawaii were Alofa Toiaivao (17), Amy Sanders (12) and Milia Macfarlane (11).
Each team shot 49.1 percent for the game, and the Bears held a 31-30 advantage on the boards.
Cal looks to get back on track as the Bears return home to host the inaugural Contra Costa Times Classic Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 4-5, at Haas Pavilion. The Bears open the tournament against Cal State Northridge Dec. 4 at 3 p.m.