Dec. 19, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. - California shook off some rust from a 12-day break for final exams to defeat Nevada, 62-51, Friday night at Haas Pavilion. With the win, the Golden Bears improve to 6-2 and equal their best start since the 1998-99 season. Nevada falls to 1-7.
"We came out with good intensity," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "They're better than a 1-7 team. They took us out of some things we normally do well. We were too hesitant on some of our shots. Good teams win ugly sometimes."
The Bears forced the Wolf Pack into 31 turnovers, the third time this year a Cal opponent has committed at least 30 turnovers. Eighteen of Nevada's turnovers were on Cal steals, with junior forward Leigh Gregory and junior guard Kristin Iwanaga each posting a career-high five steals.
Gregory led Cal with 17 points, and senior guard Nihan Anaz tallied 12 points, her eighth-straight game scoring in double figures. Senior center Olga Volkova tied her career high of nine rebounds in her first collegiate start. April Bankston paced the Wolf Pack with 12 points.
Cal slowly built a 15-4 lead with 10:09 to play following an Anaz steal and her own conversion on a fast-break layup. Twice the Bears built a 20-point lead at 28-8 and 30-10 with 5:48 left until halftime on four straight points from Gregory.
The Nevada offense then got in gear, closing the half on an 11-3 run, including a three-pointer from Talisha Quick-Rath.
In the second half, Cal led by 15 points at 46-31 with 14:30 to play on another Gregory layup. The Wolf Pack responded with an 11-2 run to close the gap to 48-40 about four and a half minutes later.
A three-pointer from Renee Wright propelled Cal to a 57-42 advantage with 5:33 remaining. Nevada got as close as eight again but ran out of time to mount another serious charge.
Cal shot 41.2 percent from the field for its eighth straight game above 40 percent. A 48.9 percent effort from the field helped counter some of Nevada's turnovers. The Bears held a decisive edge at the free throw line, hitting 18-of-25 chances to the Wolf Pack's 2-of-2.
The Bears next face Canisius Sunday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion looking to post its best start through nine games since the 1992-93 team opened with an 8-1 mark.