Feb. 26, 2004
CORVALLIS, Ore. - California won its second straight game with a 66-57 victory over Oregon State Thursday night at Gill Coliseum. The Golden Bears improved to 11-15 overall (4-13 Pac-10) with back-to-back conference wins for the first time since their five-game Pac-10 winning streak during the 2000-01 season. The Beavers dropped to 14-12 (8-9).
"This is the second game in a row in which we played with a lot of effort and a lot of heart," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "I'm proud of these young women to be so resilient and to come together. They came together tonight and did what we had to do to be successful."
Junior forward Leigh Gregory tied her season high of 18 points and added eight rebounds to lead Cal.
"Whatever place we're in doesn't matter," said Gregory. "We're out here to get better, to play well and to play together as a team. We've been through way more that matters than just ninth place, so we're going to play hard no matter what."
For the fifth straight outing, the Bears' bench outscored the opponent's reserves, tonight by a 29-23 margin. Junior forward Jacqueline Sanchez posted eight points and added a career-high 12 rebounds (six offensive). Sophomore forward Renee Wright tallied nine points and eight rebounds (five offensive), and senior center Olga Volkova had eight points and five boards.
"I feel very confident in our bench," said Horstmeyer. "We have a number of players that are being spark plugs which is taking some pressure off of the starters. That's helped us to be fresh late in the game."
Oregon State led 27-21 with 3:24 left in the first half before Cal reclaimed the lead for good with an 18-2 run which extended into the second half. The Bears closed the half with an 8-0 run behind four of Gregory's eight first-half points. Up 29-27 at the half, Cal scored on three straight fast-break layups - LaTasha O'Keith, Gregory and Olga Volkova - and Wright scored on a put-back to give the Bears a 39-29 advantage with 15:48 to go.
The Beavers' leading scorer, Shannon Howell, came off the bench after missing the last contest with a concussion. She posted 15 of her team-high 17 points in the second stanza, but she couldn't bring her team any closer than six points. Hollye Chapman also recorded 17 points for the Beavers.
Horstmeyer played all 12 dressed players, which helped her team get stronger as the game went on. Oregon State cut Cal's lead to 57-51 with 1:34 remaining, but two straight layups from Gregory, including one where she beat the entire Beavers' team down court, put the Bears ahead 61-51 28 seconds later.
Following two free throws from Kiki Williams, who celebrated her 22nd birthday today, Cal grabbed its biggest lead of the game at 64-51.
Cal's defense, which has permitted under 60 points in consecutive games, held All-Pac-10 point guard Leilani Estavan scoreless after she tallied 22 points in the Beavers' last game against Arizona State.
After corralling a season-high 49 rebounds in their win over USC last Saturday, Cal grabbed 50 rebounds - 19 offensive - vs. OSU, with Sanchez, Wright and Gregory combining for 28 of them. Cal also had only 15 turnovers, marking the seventh time in eight games it has had less than 20 miscues.
Cal trailed 9-3 before going on a 9-2 run to claim its first lead of the game at 12-11 on a basket from Gregory with 10:35 left in the first half. A three-point play by Sanchez lifted the Bears to a 21-19 advantage with 7:25 until the break.
The Bears conclude the Pac-10 regular season at Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. The Ducks (13-14, 5-12) upset No. 10 Stanford, 67-66, tonight.