Cal Downs San Jose State, 90-67
Nov. 25, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. - California showcased its improved offense in a 90-67 victory over San Jose State Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears improved to 2-0, while the Spartans dropped to 1-1.
The last time Cal scored at least 90 points was in a 94-58 triumph over Cal Poly on Nov. 20, 1997.
'We focused early on our defense,' said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'We're getting points off of our defense. Our kids are gaining confidence. They're getting tipped balls. We're converting four-on-threes, three-on-twos, two-on-ones. That makes your offense easy. Our offense is designed to get open shots within the offense. Our opening game helped to give us a lot of confidence. We felt we executed against a good team tonight.'
Senior guard Nihan Anaz led Cal with 19 points, as the Bears broke their previous Haas Pavilion points record (dating back to 1999 when the building opened) of 83 points in their 83-59 win over UCLA on March 1, 2001. Junior forward Leigh Gregory added 18 points and nine boards to almost post her first collegiate double-double. Junior guard Kristin Iwanaga had 11. Sophomore forward Renee Wright led all Cal reserves with eight points and four rebounds.
Cal led by 19 at the half at 46-27, and San Jose State couldn't get any closer than 18 in the final stanza. A three-point basket by Anaz with 6:14 to play lifted the Bears to a 27-point lead at 77-50, their biggest of the game. Cal equaled the 27-point cushion with 51 ticks on the clock when freshman guard Julia Numair's basket tipped the 90-point mark.
Behind two three-pointers from freshman guard Keanna Levy, Cal raced to a 14-2 lead less than five minutes into the game. The Spartans responded with 10 unanswered points, including four of Cricket Williams' team-high 19 points, to cut the deficit to two. That was the only noticeable lull in Cal's offense during the game, as the Bears responded with a 19-4 run, led by six points from Anaz, to grab a 35-16 edge with 6:59 left until halftime.
Iwanaga converted a layup after a Cal steal and made 1-of-2 free throws to give her team its biggest lead of the first half at 44-23. Kiki Williams sank a jumper in the final seconds to send the Bears into the locker room with a 46-27 advantage. Last season, Cal averaged 57.6 points per game and has since opened the season with 47 and 46 points in each game's first half.
Cal shot 57.1 percent from the field against SJSU, which is its best effort since a 63.0 percent performance in an 80-45 triumph over Lipscomb Jan. 4, 2002.
'Two years ago, the game would have gone any way,' said Cal senior guard LaTasha O'Keith. 'We would have won by two or lost by two points. It would have went to the buzzer. You can see how much our team has grown by going out there and playing well for a whole half and coming back and keeping it up.'
Jessica Kellogg contributed 18 points for San Jose State, and Tatiana and Teoma Taylor each had 11.
The Bears embark on their only non-conference road trip tomorrow morning. Cal faces Lehigh in the opening round of the Coors Classic in Boulder, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. PT and will battle either No. 16 Colorado or Idaho State in the championship or consolation game on Saturday. Before returning to Berkeley, Cal travels to No. 5 Texas Tech on Monday, Dec. 1.