Feb. 5, 2011
TEMPE, Ariz. - The California women's basketball team lost to Arizona State, 45-44, in a game that typified a Pac-10 Conference game between the two squads - one that went down to the last minute. After the Golden Bears led for all but 52 seconds, ASU's Deja Mann connected for a three-pointer with .01 seconds remaining in regulation to get the victory Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
"It's just a tough loss," Cal head coach Joanne Boyle said. "I give a lot of credit to Arizona State. They were down 12 and came back. I'm just disappointed in the heartbreak of a loss. On our part, there were definite miscommunications down the stretch. We're a young team, and we have to learn from it."
Cal held the advantage until the Sun Devils tied the showdown at 42-42 with unanswered threes from Mann and Kimberly Brandon. Layshia Clarendon made two free throws with 58 seconds on the clock to return a two-point lead to the Bears at 44-42.
With 36 seconds remaining, Brandon missed a jumper and Stallworth grabbed her eighth rebound and fifth defensive board to give the Bears possession. Mann fouled Clarendon, who missed the free throw, and the Sun Devils came away with the ball with 22.9 seconds left. Following a foul by Stallworth on Bennett, Cal called its remaining timeout with 8.9 left on the clock.
ASU could not get a play off until Mann shot the ball at the last possible second, swishing the net for the game-winning shot. The referees reviewed, but they confirmed that she had launched before the buzzer, giving ASU the win.
With the loss, the Bears fall to 14-8 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-10, while the Sun Devils improve to 14-7 and 6-5 in the Pac-10.
For the Bears, DeNesha Stallworth led the brigade with 12 points with Layshia Clarendon right behind her with 11. Stallworth and Talia Caldwell both registered eight boards. Becca Tobin went six-of-nine for 14 points for the Sun Devils with Kali Bennett contributing 11 points and Mann with a game-high two threes.
Cal now stands at 6-4 in the last three years against Arizona State, including a 60-50 victory in last year's Pac-10 tournament that sent the Bears into the semifinals and a 67-55 victory earlier this season at Haas. In the last 10 games versus the Sun Devils, four have been decided in the final moments of the game, including last season's 63-61 loss at Haas. Cal lost last season in Tempe, 57-50.
Cal shot 38.1 percent in the first half, connecting on 8-of-21 all the while limiting ASU to 4-of-23 (17.4 percent). Nine of ASU's first-half points came from the floor.
ASU's 13 first-half points were the fewest the Sun Devils have scored in either half all season after they scored 14 at Stanford in early January. Those 13 points were the lowest the Cal defense has allowed this season with the previous low of 15 achieved versus New Mexico.
The game had a lackluster start with the Bears building an 18-13 first-half lead. Cal put up four points before ASU could even get on the board, allowing the Bears to take an five-point lead into the locker room at halftime. After nearly three minutes completely devoid of scoring on either basket to start the game, Talia Caldwell scored with a second-chance shot to give Cal a 2-0 lead. Shots would not fall for either team and it was two minutes before the Bears scored again, thanks to a DeNesha Stallworth lay-up. ASU's first points of the game came at 14:05 with a lay-up by Kimberly Brandon.
Stallworth put it away in traffic, falling to the ground as her shot went in, giving Cal an 8-2 lead with 13:14 on the clock. Kali Bennett drained two free throws to up ASU's points total to four. Pierre and Jemerigbe teamed for a two-point fast-break with Eliza Pierre scoring and Afure Jemerigbe assisting, bringing the score to 10-4 just under the halfway mark of the first half. The Sun Devils looked to change momentum with nine to play with Tenaya Watson taking it down the court and looking for Jane Fulcher but Watson's no-look pass went completely awry, awarding possession to the Bears.
ASU did not break the 10-point barrier until there was four minutes remaining in the half when Tenaya Watson made the game's first trey. Fulcher broke a 4:30 scoring draught with a lay-up, bringing the Sun Devils within six at 12-6. Stallworth put away two free throws to give Cal 14 points and a three by Watson brought the score to 14-11 with 4:04 to play.
ASU opened the second half with an immediate basket by Deja Mann. Lindsey Sherbert had two open shots from beyond the arc, connecting on the second one with Stallworth assisting. The Bears capitalized on an 11-4 run to up their lead to 10 at 27-17, prompting Charli Turner Thorne to call a team timeout at 16:58. An easy lay-up by Pierre gave Cal its then-largest lead of the game at 11 after its biggest lead of the first half was eight.
Bennett used a three-pointer and two free throws to cut that lead from 11 to six. Clarendon upped it back to 10 for the Bears at 36-26 courtesy of back-to-back baskets. After Bennett made those two free throws at 13:15, it took exactly 4:15 for the Devils to put any points on the board until Tobin put up a layup. Tobin followed that up 30 seconds later with a basket of her own to bring ASU within six with 8:22 to play in regulation. Thomas scored from below the basket, inching the Sun Devils closer at 36-32.
That score held for over two minutes until Clarentdon netted her third consecutive score. Tobin responded with a jumper - her fifth field goal and 11th and 12th points - making the score 38-34 in favor of the Bears with 4:40 to play. In those final minutes of play, Cal put up two more shots from the floor and two baskets from the line, which were no match to ASU's three treys and one jumper.
Cal is next in action on Thursday, Feb. 10, when the Bears welcome Washington to Berkeley.