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No. 12 Cal Cruises Past Washington in Quarterfinal Game
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/13/2009
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Senior forward Ashley Walker didn't need much time. Sixteen minutes was enough.Walker had 14 points and 10 rebounds in limited playing time to help No. 12 California beat Washington 61-41 in a quarterfinal game of the Pac-10 tournament on Friday.

The senior, along with senior center Devanei Hampton, sat for most of the second half as Cal coach Joanne Boyle turned the game over to her bench. The two post players combined for 20 points in the first and scored at will against Washington, which lost in a quarterfinal for the fourth year in a row.

Washington had trouble finding answers for Cal's big post players from the start and tried changing things defensively because of the matchup problem.

Hampton, who had nine points, is 6-foot-3 and Walker is 6-foot-1.

"You've got two all-Pac 10 performers in the paint on Cal's team," Washington coach Tia Jackson said. "Ashley Walker, we knew she was going to be a tough assignment. She's a problem for everybody, not just us."

The power forward posted her 11th double-double of the season and was 6-of-8 from the field.

The Huskies brought in freshman Mollie Williams (6-foot-3) and McLellan (6-foot-2) to put pressure on the Bears but Cal kept scoring. The Bears put together two big runs to lead 31-17 at halftime, including a 12-3 run midway through the first.

Hampton, who had six during that span, started off the run with a jumper at the 15:39 mark. Walker hit a jumper from the top of the key to make it 26-10.

That half gave the Bears a comfortable lead.

Scoring was an issue for Washington, which didn't penetrate the lanes much. The Huskies went 5-for-17 in the first and their starters only mustered four points.

Washington didn't double-team Walker or Hampton, though, and Cal took advantage.

"That's just me and Ashley's game," Hampton said. "Of course everyone loves when we don't have double teams, that's a green light for the both of us."

Cal outrebounded Washington 37-20 and had 30 points in the paint, while Washington had 18.

"They can shoot, they can drive, they have post moves and they have a lot of fakes so you have to be ready for anything," said Washington's Laura McLellan, who led the tenth-seeded Huskies (8-22) with 10 points.

"We expected everything that we got from them today," Sami Whitcomb said. "We felt good going into the game, we were excited about it. Definitely would have liked for things to have gone differently."

Whitcomb, Washington's leading scorer with 12.8 points, was held scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting.

The junior, who had 28 points against Oregon in the first round, failed to get open looks as Cal made her a focal point of its defense.

"We said for every possession, deny her the ball," Boyle said. "That was the key for us, to not let Whitcomb get in the flow."

She didn't. Nor did any of the other starters. Besides Whitcomb, Mackenzie Argens, Heidi McNeill, Kristi Kingma and Christina Rozier totaled 17 points and the Huskies shot 33 percent for the game.

"I wasn't able to get the looks I wanted so we were trying to push the ball inside."

Cal's defensive pressure didn't allow it and the Bears (25-5) pushed their lead to 29 with 5:55 remaining when freshman Casey Morris hit a 3-pointer to make it 55-26.

Cal used its bench for most of the second half and Morris led the pack with nine points.

"Tons of contributions from the bench," Boyle said. "One, it gives them some confidence and being able to rest our starters for what you hope is going to be three games in three days."

Junior guard Natasha Vital added seven for the Bears, who will face USC in a semifinal on Saturday, March 14, t 6 p.m. on a game that will be carried live on Fox Sports Net. Cal, the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, has defeated the Trojans twice this season, both times by two points.


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