Walker's Game-Winner Sinks Arizona State
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/04/2009

Jan. 4, 2009

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Senior forward Ashley Walker's layup with 1.8 seconds left lifted No. 13 California to a 54-53 win over Arizona State on Sunday.

Dymond Simon hit a 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds left to give the Sun Devils a 53-52 lead. California (11-2, 2-0) still had time. Sophomore forward Kelsey Adrian missed a layup, but Walker wrestled away the rebound underneath the basket and then tossed in the game-winner.

Simon's shot capped a 13-2 run over the last 4:52 for the Sun Devils (8-6, 0-2 Pac-10).

Junior guard Natasha Vital scored 17 of her 19 points in the second half, including a go-ahead basket with 39 seconds left to give the Bears a 52-50 lead.

Walker then stole the ball from Simon with 19 seconds remaining and Vital was fouled but she missed the two free throws to set up Simon's go-ahead shot.

Walker, the leading scorer in the Pac-10 averaging 22.5 points, was held to nine points on 4-of-10 shooting after getting into early foul trouble.

Simon scored 17 points for Arizona State, which has lost its last four games to the Bears.

Vital, the second-best 3-point shooter in the conference, made all three of her 3-point attempts and scored six points during a critical 12-3 run that gave Cal a 50-40 lead with 4:52 remaining.

However, the Sun Devils ran off 10 straight points after the Bears committed three straight turnovers, tying it at 50 on Lauren Lacey's 3-pointer with 51 seconds left. "It's Pac-10 play and these are the types of games you are going to see," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "It was a hard fought game, a lot of change of possessions. Up and down. One of those games as a coach that you say 'Thank God we won this one. Let's get out of here'."

Arizona State, trying to avoid an 0-2 start to Pac-10 play, got off to a hot start in the game, leading 22-15 with just over four minutes left in the first half. The Sun Devils had 10 offensive rebounds in first half, scoring 10 points off those opportunities.

The Bears closed out the half on an 8-2 run with a basket by junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson cutting the lead to just one, 24-23 at the break. Natasha Vital tied the game on a three-pointer less than a minute into the second half. Vital scored 9 of the first 12 points of the second half for the Bears.

The Bears, who jump out to a 2-0 in Pac-10 play, are back at Haas Pavilion this coming week, hosting Washington State Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. The Bears also take on Washington on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 12:30 p.m.