Dec. 30, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. - Freshman forward/center Devanei Hampton posted 20 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to propel California to a 65-58 victory over UCLA Friday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears improved to 10-3 overall (2-1 Pac-10), while the Bruins, who entered the game with a share of the Pac-10 lead, fell to 7-5 (2-1).
"I felt like we had a great practice yesterday," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "The kids looked over the scouting report and knew them like the back of their hand. They knew that even though we had a really good game plan if we didn't rebound and take care of the ball like we did not do up at Washington we weren't really going to have a chance. They really made a commitment on the rebounding. The first half we did a good job with turnovers. The second half we got tired and were lazy with the ball. Overall, it was a great win for us."
Tonight's game pitted the Pac-10's No. 1 offense in UCLA (82.4 ppg) against the conference's top defense in Cal (53.0 ppg). The Bears held the Bruins to a season-low 58 points and held UCLA's big three - Nikki Blue, Lisa Willis and Noelle Quinn - to a combined 36 points on 13-of-46 (28.3%) shooting. Willis led UCLA with 17 points, and Quinn added 11.
"Nikki Blue is a catalyst for getting them going," said Boyle. "Jene (Morris) and Lexi (Gray-Lawson) did a really good job taking her out of her game. With the other two (Willis and Quinn), we said, `They're going to get their shots, but make them take tough shots. Don't give them easy shots.' I knew they were going to get their points. It was just a matter of how easy they were going to get them."
"I just played (Blue, Willis and Quinn) like everybody else," said Gray-Lawson. "I didn't look at them different and say that they're All-Americans so I have to do this. I just tried to play the best that I could, and I try to do that every game."
Cal, which never trailed, jumped out to an 11-2 lead with 12:45 left in the first half following a jumper from Gray-Lawson, who finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Freshman forward/center Ashley Walker found Morris out of a double team for a layup, giving the Bears a 17-8 edge with under nine minutes until halftime.
The Bruins didn't get any closer than five points the rest of the half and trailed 28-20 at the break. Hampton already had her third double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds as the teams entered the locker room. Cal played the second half without junior guard Sarah Pool, who sustained a concussion, on a jump-ball call in the first half. Her status for Sunday's game is uncertain.
Gray-Lawson sank her second three-pointer of the game, and senior forward Renee Wright converted a fast-break layup off a pass from Gray-Lawson to give Cal a 33-20 lead with 17:14 remaining in the game. A layup from sophomore forward Krista Foster gave Cal its biggest lead of the game at 35-30. The Bears also led 37-22 at the 14:16 mark.
UCLA then went on a 16-5 run over the next seven minutes, ignited by six points from Amanda Livingston, to close the gap to 42-38. The young Bears refused to fold, clawing their way back to a 51-42 advantage after Gray-Lawson made 1-of-2 free throws. Walker, who contributed nine points, hit her first three-pointer of the season to give her team a 54-46 lead with 3:11 to play.
The final two minutes of the game took a long time, as the teams shot a combined 12 free throws. The Bears hit 80 percent of their attempts (8-10) down the stretch. UCLA's full-court pressure forced Cal into four of its 23 turnovers for the game in the final two minutes, but it wasn't enough to overtake the Bears.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak to UCLA and kept the Bears on pace with the 1992-93 team for the program's best record in the last 14 seasons. The 1992-93 Cal team was 11-3 through 14 games.
Cal held a 47-40 rebounding edge and shot 43.1 percent from the floor, while holding UCLA to 32.3 percent.
"I just felt like we never got into any kind of flow," said UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier. "A lot of fouls were called, and if you don't make your free throws when a lot of fouls are being called, you're going to get yourself in trouble. We never got into a UCLA tempo."
Cal hosts USC Sunday at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Women of Troy (8-4, 2-1) lost to Stanford, 77-56, at Maples Pavilion tonight.