Jan. 26, 2002
BERKELEY - The California women's basketball team solved its offensive problems from Thursday's 56-40 loss to Arizona State but lost a hard-fought game to Arizona, 76-68, Saturday night at Haas Pavillion. With the loss, the Bears drop to 6-13 (1-9), and the Wildcats even their record at 10-10 (6-5).
"As I walk in today (to interviews), I feel it's a different story, even though the outcome is similar," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "Because we had balanced scoring, we didn't turn the ball over and we had 20 offensive boards. We've also been practicing much better than we have. This was a very good stat for us tonight: 21 assists on 27 shots. If we can continue to play as a team like that, good things are going to come."
Junior forward Amber White and redshirt freshman forward Kiki Williams were the top performers for Cal in the loss, both scoring 14 points. For White, the 14 points was a season high. White shot 5-8 from the floor. She also shot 75 percent from beyond the arc, hitting on a key momentum-changing three-pointer in the waning seconds of the first half, and added six rebounds.
Williams, returning to the floor after not seeing any action in Thursday's game, shot an efficient 5-11 coming off the bench and added two rebounds in only 16 minutes. Senior Ami Forney posted her 11th career double-double and fourth of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman point guard Kristin Iwanaga had a career high seven assists to go with seven points.
"(Williams) had a very good practice yesterday in terms of the expectation of the level of practice we want," said Horstmeyer. "She played well against Arizona the last game (career high 16 points). She did a good job tonight. She played the way she practiced," said Horstmeyer.
"When I get into the games, that's how I expect myself to play every time" said Williams of her performance. "I just need to get consistent and do that every day in practice and in every game I'm in."
Elizabeth Pickney came up huge for Arizona, putting up her own double-double, with 15 points and 14 rebounds on the night. LaKeisha Taylor came off the bench and put in 23 minutes of work to finish as the Wildcats scoring leader with 19 points. Point guard Aimee Grzyb added 15.
The first fifteen minutes of the opening half had both teams trying to scratch out leads, but neither led by more than four. The change came at 4:50 until halftime, when a pair of made free throws by Wildcat Candice Allen broke a 22-22 deadlock, and sent Arizona on a 10-point run. In fact, the Wildcats would have held Cal scoreless to close the half if White had not sunk a banked three pointer with three seconds remaining, snapping the run and electrifying the crowd at Haas. Pickney was the period's top performer, putting up eight points and 10 boards to give her team a 32-25 lead at the half. Sophomore guard LaTasha O'Keith posted six of her 10 points in the first half to pace Cal.
Cal was only able to keep up with Arizona in the second half, scoring 43 points to the Wildcats' 44. Arizona put up a four point run early in the period, followed by a Bear four point run, to be answered by another Wildcat four point streak. The runs would set the tone for the entire second half, although Cal would not lead again. The largest lead for Arizona came with 7:33 to play (16 points), although the Bears would answer with an eight-point run, set off by a White field goal 22 seconds later.
Cal's field goal percentage improved drastically in the second half, jumping from 31.3 percent up to 43.6 percent. Cal also held their turnovers in check, performing better than the Wildcats in that department, 18-16. This was the third-straight game Cal had less than 20 turnovers. Arizona's percentage from the floor was also dramatically improved in the second period, leaping from 40.7 percent to 62.1 percent.
Facing a zone for most of the game, Cal had both a season high nine three pointers made and 27 attempted. The school records are 13 and 31, respectively.
The Bears travel to Stanford on Wednesday to take on the Cardinal at Maples Pavillion. Cal returns to Haas to complete the home-and-home series Saturday night.