Dec. 4, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - Redshirt sophomore guard Sarah Pool led California with a season-high 15 points and seven assists in a 77-67 victory over Cal State Northridge on day one of the inaugural Contra Costa Times Classic.
"I hope that this will become a trend," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "If someone comes back on us or if we come back on somebody and the game gets tied that we have some players who won't allow us to lose. Sarah Pool in particular did not allow us to lose, and Kiki Williams came in and gave us a huge spark. Together those two when the game was tied turned the momentum of the game around within a minute, and it relaxed the team, and then they started to play again."
Freshman center Jessica Lawson added 14 points and a career-high nine rebounds, and senior forward Leigh Gregory posted 11 points for Cal. Williams finished with nine points, all in the second half, off the bench.
Cal (2-3) raced to a 22-8 lead with 9:12 left in the first half behind eight points from Lawson and seven points from Gregory. Following the first of two three-pointers from Kristin Iwanaga, the Golden Bears built their largest lead at 39-22 with 2:37 remaining in the half.
Cal State Northridge (1-2) closed the half with an 8-2 run to trail 41-30 at the break. Ofa Tulikihihifo posted 16 of the Matadors' first 20 points of the game and finished with a career-high 33 points.
Cal built a 48-32 lead less than three minutes into the first half, but the Matadors went on a 21-6 run behind seven points from Tulikihihifo and closed the gap to 54-53 with 8:52 to go.
Pool, who missed last season with a back injury, converted consecutive layups to put the Bears ahead 58-53. Williams then made two straight steals and two baskets to extend her team's advantage to 62-53 at the 6:26 mark. Cal State Northridge didn't get any closer than five points the rest of the contest.
"It was a pretty difficult experience being away from my team being injured," said Pool, who entered the game ranked second in the Pac-10 in assists (7.2 apg). "I learned a lot, and now I'm back and excited."
The Bears, who entered the game with the top scoring average in the Pac-10 (79.0 ppg), shot 46.0 percent, while the Matadors sank 46.7 percent of their chances. Cal committed 16 turnovers and forced CSUN into 21 miscues.
The Bears face Tennessee Tech (4-1) Sunday at 3 p.m. in the championship game of the tournament. Pepperdine (1-6) meets Cal State Northridge at 1 p.m. Tennessee Tech defeated Pepperdine, 63-48, in the first game today behind 14 points from Kendall Cavin. Jennifer Lacy and Kelsey Ball contributed 12 points each for the Waves.