Feb. 14, 2002
BERKELEY - The California women's basketball team (7-17, 2-13) got back on track Thursday night in its return to Haas Pavilion, setting a number of individual career highs and team records en route to a 76-63 romp over the visiting Washington State Cougars (2-23, 0-15). With the win, Cal sweeps the season series for the first time since the 1992-93 campaign.
No less than three different players set career highs on the night, which was Cal's first win in front of the Bear faithful since December 1 of last year. Senior forward Ami Forney posted a near triple double on the night, notching a career mark in assist with 7. She also posted 13 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season and 12th of her career. Not to be outdone, freshman Kristin Iwanaga exploded for a career high of 18 points, and LaTasha O'Keith dropped 13 on the Cougars, including 10 in the first half. Junior Amber White also tallied a career-high 10 rebounds in the effort, and freshman Kiki Williams posted her fourth consecutive game of double-digit scoring with 13 off the bench.
"I thought we played really well as a team tonight," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "We've talked about making improvements. We had 19 assists on 22 baskets. That tells me that we had a very good team game. I'm really excited about the way that K.I. (Iwanaga) and Ami played. Amber too. Ami came back and played with a lot of passion, and she makes things happen for us. We need her out there."
Washington State kept things interesting through most of the game. Cal went up by an 18-15 score in the first half on a Jackie Lord three-pointer, which was one of eight Bears threes on the night. Cal tied the school record for three-point shooting percentage in a game at 72.7, converting 8-of-11 threes. The team record for three-point percentage was initially set against Washington State in 1990. Cal shot 46.8 percent from the floor overall. The Bears led 31-21 with 2:42 left until intermission, but the Cougars cut the deficit to 33-27 at the half.
In the second half, Washington State clawed its way back into the game on a field goal by Candace Fields, which drew the game to a tight 41-38 margin early in the half. The Bears, however, rallied their troops and dropped a 14-2 run on the Cougars, starting with a pair of Iwanaga free-throws. Iwanaga hit 10-of-11 free throws, missing her first attempt and breaking a streak of 15-consecutive free throws made. As a team, Cal shot 85.7 percent from the charity stripe, the fourth-straight game of over 70 percent.
The team then responded to hold Washington State to only one field goal for over eight minutes. By the time the Cougars had broken their run of missed shots, Cal had control of the game with the scoreboard reading 59-44 and the clock showing a mere six minutes to go. The teams traded shots to close out the game.
"At this point, we're just (taking our wins) one at a time," said Horstmeyer. "Honestly, I truly believe this team could beat anybody. We're not looking at the standings. We're gearing up for the conference tournament."
Despite a low 36.9 shooting percentage for the game, three Cougars scored in double digits. The squad was led by Fields, who scored a career-high 19 points to lead all players and added six rebounds. Whitney Martindale added 15, and Jessica Perry scored 10 on the night.