Dec. 21, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - Senior guard Kristin Iwanaga posted a career-high 22 points in California's come-from-behind victory over Hampton Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears recorded their 12th-consecutive home non-conference win and improved to 6-3 overall heading into the start of Pac-10 play.
"They finally got a sense of urgency," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "We came out flat. That's something we have to figure out. Until there was a true sense of urgency that Hampton isn't going to give up, that's when we picked it up and some things went our way. Then we got aggressive and did a good job."
Cal fell behind 22-11 with 9:42 left in the first half against the quick and athletic Lady Pirates (3-6, 3-0 MEAC) but closed to within 30-27 at the half following three-pointers from Iwanaga and Renee Wright. Wright finished with a season-high 15 points off the bench.
A layup from freshman center Jessica Lawson brought the Bears as close as one at 38-37 at the 12:32 mark of the second half. Iwanaga, who leads the nation in three-point percentage, converted her second three-pointer of the game to tie the score at 40-40 and start a 9-0 Cal run, which put the Bears ahead 46-40 with nine minutes remaining in the game. The tri captain posted 17 of her 22 points after the break.
"K.I. was the glue," Horstmeyer said. "She's an unsung hero. K.I. never gets the credit that she truly deserves, but she is playing like a senior. She stepped up as a leader. She has said that she is going to do what it takes for us to win the ball game."
With 4:23 to go, Wright's second three-pointer of the night gave Cal its biggest edge at 55-46. The junior forward hit her third three with just over two minutes on the clock and came up with two steals down the stretch.
Cal made 9-of-10 free throws in the final two minutes to seal its fifth straight victory. Iwanaga was 6-of-6, Kiki Williams was 2-of-2 and Sarah Pool went 1-of-2. For the game, Cal hit 90.9 percent from the charity stripe (20-of-22), just shy of the school record of 92.9 percent set against UCLA in 1999.
Kiesha Beard paced Hampton, a 2004 NCAA Tournament team, with 19 points. Aisha Bonets added 13 points off the bench. The Lady Pirates forced the Bears into 24 turnovers, including 15 in the first half, while committing 21 of their own.
Cal, which entered the week leading the country in three-point shooting at 51.1 percent, did nothing to hurt its standing, sinking 62.5 percent of its opportunities (5-of-8).
The Bears, who play five of their next seven games on the road, open the conference season at Oregon Monday, Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.