Johnson Scores 21 points in Bears 74-59 Loss at WSU

Feb. 24, 2001

PULLMAN, Wash. - Turnovers and poor shooting contributed to California's 74-59 loss at Washington State Saturday night at Friel Court. The Golden Bears dropped to 11-13 overall and 7-7 in Pac-10 play, while the Cougars improved 11-14 and 6-9 in the conference.

Cal turned the ball over 25 times and shot only 33.3 percent from the floor as it lost it second-straight game after winning five-straight contests. WSU committed 23 turnovers of its own but shot 42.6 percent, including 41.6 from three-point range (7-of-17).

'I've known WSU could really shoot the ball and light it up,' said Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'They play very well at home. I give them the credit to really play the way they did.

'My team didn't show up tonight. I'm disappointed in the effort. We can talk about our offense and how poorly we shot. We missed a lot of layups. We just struggled this weekend. We played okay against Washington, but we did not play well tonight. Defensively, we did not get after it. If we could have generated some offense off of our defense, that would have helped us. We struggled breaking the press. We were out of rhythm. But at the same time, Washington State did a great job.'

Senior guard Courtney Johnson led the Bears with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and four steals. With 996 career points, she looks to become the 16th Cal women's basketball player to reach the 1000-point plateau Thursday at home against UCLA. Johnson's also moved into fourth all-time in the Pac-10 for steals with 275, surpassing UCLA's Nicole Anderson's (1989-93) 274.

The game began sluggishly for both teams. Cal held its last lead of the game at 6-4 following a basket by Johnson with 15:16 left until halftime. WSU led 10-8 before it began to pull away with a 16-9 edge with 9:01 on the clock. The Bears fought back to 16-15 with 7:41 until the break courtesy of two field goals from Johnson and two free throws from Genevieve Swedor. But two of Sarah Barrett's five three pointers of the game put the Cougars back up seven. After Cal cut the deficit to 25-21 with 3:56 until the intermission, WSU's full court press translated into six-straight Cougar points and a 10-point lead. WSU twice led by as many as 11 points in the first half before Johnson nailed a short jumper with three ticks left for her 13th and 14th point of the half, bringing Cal to within 38-29 at the break.

Cal opened the second half by making a concerted effort to get their post players, who had a combined six first-half points, involved in the offense. With 18:39 remaining, the Bears cut the Cougars lead to six at 41-35 with two buckets from Lauren Ashbaugh and one from Ami Forney. WSU then went on a 16-7, which included a three-pointer from Barrett and Katie Nyseth, to grab its then-largest lead of the game of 15 at 57-42 with 11:34 left in the game. The Bears couldn't get the game under double figures the rest of the way. WSU led by as many as 22 before Cal closed out the game on a 7-0 run, which saw junior guard Janet Franey (one free throw) and sophomore guard Michelle Wald (two free throws) post the first points of their collegiate careers.

WSU had five players score in double figures - Barrett with 15, Nyseth with 14, Kelley Berglund with 14 to go with 12 rebounds, Yvonne Volkman with 11 and Victoria Harrod with 11.

The Cougars held a 44-39 edge on the glass. Sophomore forward Amber White paced the Bears by tying her career high of nine rebounds.

Cal looks to rebound from a tough road trip at home Thursday against UCLA at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday against USC at 1 p.m. The Trojan game marks the final regular season game of the year for Cal's seven seniors.

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