Late Cal Rally Falls Just Short

Bears Lose Exhibition Game, 71-69

OAKLAND -- Jennie Leander poured in 17 points and Amber Lacey added a double-double, but it wasn't enough as the California women's basketball team dropped a two-point nailbiter to Tory Kosice (Slovakia), 71-69, in an exhibition at the Kaiser Arena Sunday night.

Opening game jitters plagued the Bears in the early stages of the game as Cal committed turnovers on six of its first eight possessions. And before Cal had a chance to settle down, the Slovakians had jumped out to a 14-4 lead.

"This was our first game of the year and I think it showed," Cal head coach Marianne Stanley said. "But overall, I was very proud of the way we settled down, seized the tempo in the second half and gave ourselves a chance to win it at the end."

Down by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Bears battled back and trimmed Slovakia's lead to eight at 35-27 by halftime.

Cal cut the lead to 12 with 4:36 remaining in the first half, Cal cut the lead to nine when freshman Courtney Johnson connected on Cal's first three-pointer of the year. A Leander steal on Slovakia's next possession led to a Geneva McDaniel bucket and the Bears had trimmed the lead to 29-22.

In the second half, Cal continued its assault on Slovakia's advantage and a pair of technical fouls, one on Slovakia's Alzbeta Czakova and one on the Slovakian coach. Cal was took advantage of the opportunity by sinking all four of the free throws to cut the lead to 51-47.

Johnson's second trey of the game pulled the Bears with in a point and after a Slovakia miss, Leander gave the Bears their first lead of the game, 61-60, with just under four minutes remaining.

But the lead was short lived as Slovakia outscored Cal, 11-8 down the stretch to secure the victory.

"Overall I was proud of our performance tonight," said Stanley. "We had our chances, especially from the free throw line, and I can't as for more than that."

The Golden Bears will open the season Thursday, Nov. 20, when they host the Cal Poly Mustangs at 7:30 p.m. at the Kaiser Arena in Oakland