Nov. 13, 2005
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Led by freshman Ashley Walker's 17 points, the talented young California women's basketball team (1-1), gave New Mexico (2-0) a battle before falling, 55-46, Sunday in the second round of the WNIT, played at The Pit in Albuquerque. The Lobos, hosting Cal in front of a crowd of 8,164, extended their home winning streak to 16.
Walker scored all 17 of her points in the second half, shooting 6-for-13 from the field and hitting five-of-six free throws. Her drive with 2:31 left in the game got the Bears within seven at 49-42, but New Mexico was able to regain control the final two minutes to hold off Cal. Another one of the Bears' freshmen, Jene Morris, scored off a steal as time expired for the final nine-point margin.
New Mexico started the game hitting several three-pointers as senior Abbie Letz and junior Katie Montgomery both nailed two consecutive three-pointers to put the Lobos up by 10 with 11:52 remaining in the first half. Junior Timi E-Nunu sank a free throw 30 seconds later to give New Mexico its biggest lead of the half at 15-4.
Freshman Devanei Hampton finally netted a free throw with 10:52 left in the half for the Bears. Hampton scored nine consecutive points for Cal to bring them within eight, but two buckets by senior Jana Francis and freshman Angela Hartill put the Lobo lead back at 11, sending the teams into the half at 30-19.
Walker scored six of the Bears' first eight points to open the second half, cutting the deficit to six (33-27). But New Mexico's defense thrived, shutting down the Bears as they went on a 11-2 run capped by a three from senior Abbie Letz and a lay-up from Francis.
Francis scored the next two baskets for New Mexico, including her first three of the season. Her points gave the Lobos their biggest lead of the game (16 points) at 49-33. Walker again brought the Bears back, scoring seven points on a 9-0 Cal run. With the Lobos up by just six, Montgomery scored a lay-in with 1:20 left to put UNM back up by nine. Senior Judy Vogt converted two free throws to put the game out of reach at 53-42 with 42 seconds remaining.
Besides Walker's 17 points, fellow Cal freshman Hampton added nine points. Senior Renee Wright chipped in eight points and led the Bears in rebounds with eight, while Sarah Pool topped the team in assists with five.
"Playing in front of a crowd of 8,000 fans was a great experience for our young kids," said Cal's first-year coach Joanne Boyle. "We were able to make some runs, but we were not able to get settled in our half court game. We were able to break their press, but didn't take care of it once we got into the half court. Still, it was good for us to know what it is like to play in this type of atmosphere. Ashely (Walker) did a great job for us. She got a lot of touches in the second half and was able to finish plays. There were a lot of positives for us. We are a team capable of making runs, and we are athletic."
The Bears will next host Radford, Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.