Dec. 12, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - California overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Long Beach State, 69-64, Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. Senior forward Kiki Williams came off the bench for the Golden Bears to post a season-high 22 points and was 4-for-7 from three-point range.
"We feel that was a very good win for us," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "Long Beach State is a good team. They're going to win some games. We didn't necessarily play our best, but to get down like we did and come back and pick up our intensity and play as a team was great. Kiki hit some of the biggest shots maybe of her career in some ways tonight. With the shot clock running down, she was money. That was awesome. Krista Foster had a great game, offensively and defensively. I also want to mention Seda Erdogan. She came in and gave us great minutes and helped the flow of our game as well when we were struggling."
After trailing 34-33 at halftime, Cal senior guard Kristin Iwanaga - the nation's top three-point shooter - hit from beyond the arc to give the Bears a short-lived lead. Long Beach State (3-3) then raced to its biggest lead of the game at 48-36 with 16:13 remaining in the contest. The Bears (5-3) mounted a 15-2 run over the next seven minutes to go up 51-50 courtesy of Williams' second three-pointer during the stretch.
The 49ers reclaimed the lead for the last time at 54-53 with 8:05 on the clock following a fast break layup from Jeannie Saunders. Four straight free throws from Iwanaga broke a 56-56 tie and ignited an 11-2 Cal run. Williams had five of her points, including her final trey, during the critical run which put Cal ahead 67-58 with 1:59 to go.
Long Beach State turned up its defensive intensity and forced Cal into two of its 28 turnovers in the game to close to within 67-64 following a layup from senior Aisha Hollans. The Berkeley product paced the 49ers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Long Beach State also had 23 turnovers in the game.
Williams hit two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to ice Cal's fourth straight win and 11th in a row at home over a non-conference foe.
After falling behind 10-3 to start the game, Cal went on a 21-7 burst to lead 24-17 with 7:59 left until halftime. The run was keyed by six points each from Williams and Foster, who finished the game with eight points, and did a great job guarding Hollans - a former All-Pac-10 player at USC.
Long Beach State capitalized on its full-court press to enter the locker room with a one-point lead.
Senior forward Leigh Gregory added nine points and a team-high six rebounds for the Bears. Williams was second on the team with five boards.
Three-point shooting and free throws were the difference in the game for the Bears. Cal, which began the week third in the nation in three-point percentage - was 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from beyond the arc, while Long Beach State was 0-for-7. The Bears converted 16-for-20 (80 percent) from the charity stripe, while the 49ers made only 11 trips to the line and hit eight shots (72.7 percent). Cal also continued to shoot well from the floor at 47.9 percent to Long Beach State's 44.4 percent.
Also in double-figures for Long Beach State were Petra Glaser (13 points) and Jayme Connors (12 points). Cal held Long Beach State's leading scorer - Crystal McCutcheon (17 ppg) - to only seven points this afternoon.
The Bears take the next eight days off for final exams before closing out the non-conference season against Hampton Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.