Cal Loses to No. 25 UCLA, 85-70, After Strong First Half

Jan. 22, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. - California led by three points at the half before losing, 85-70, to No. 25 UCLA Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. Junior forward Renee Wright matched her career high of 16 points to lead the Golden Bears off the bench, while redshirt sophomore guard Sarah Pool added 12 points, including 10 in the first half.

'We thought we played a very good first half,' Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer said. 'We were very intense. It was similar to the USC game where we had a lapse, and it really hurt us. We came out lethargic in the second half, and our team was really excited after the first half. That's something we have to figure out as a team to be better and play with the same enthusiasm and fire as we did in the first half.'

UCLA led 22-12 with 12:17 to play in the first half before the Bears went on an 11-0 run to grab their first lead of the game at 23-22 with 8:03 left until halftime. Senior forward Leigh Gregory posted seven of her nine points during the run. The Bears (8-10, 2-7) twice secured a four-point lead on three-pointers by senior forward Kiki Williams and Wright. Williams' second trey of the half sent Cal into the locker room ahead 39-36. The Bears held a 35-34 edge at the break in Thursday's 76-71 loss to USC.

In the first half, Cal shot 45.7 percent from the field and 50 percent (6-12) from long range, while holding the Bruins (12-6, 6-3) to 38.9 percent overall and 33.3 percent (3-9) from beyond the arc.

UCLA regained the lead for good at 44-42 less than two minutes into the second half on a fastbreak layup from Nikki Blue, who led her team with 20 points and 14 assists in a full 40 minutes of playing time. However, the Bears stayed close, trailing only 56-52 on a basket from Wright with 12:37 on the clock.

Cal's offense then went cold, ending the half at 31.0 percent, and UCLA went on a 14-2 run over the next five minutes, 39 seconds to grab its biggest lead of the game at 70-54. The Bruins scored many of their points during the run and at various points in the second half on transition baskets.

'It's very frustrating because we work hard every single day in practice,' Wright said. 'To work hard in the first half and not come out with the end result that you want, it's frustrating. We look forward to being able to get it back the next game.'

The Bears clawed their way back to within seven at 73-66 on a layup by Khadijah Coakley with 3:02 remaining, but that's as close as they could get.

Amanda Livingston paced UCLA with a career-high 23 points, including eight points during the pivotal second-half run, and Lisa Willis contributed 14 points.

The Bruins shot 54.3 percent in the second half to finish at 46.5 percent for the game, compared to the Bears' 39.1 percent. Cal, which entered the game as the Pac-10's top free throw shooting team, hit 91.7 percent (11-12) from the charity stripe to UCLA's 68.8 percent. The teams combined for 17 three-pointers, with Cal - the nation's third-best for three-point percentage - equaling its season high with nine (47.4, 9-19).

Cal committed 26 turnovers to UCLA's 17. The Bruins notched 27 points off turnovers, including 18 in the second half, while the Bears tallied 26 of their points off turnovers.

'The 26 turnovers led to easy baskets for them, and that's where the game got out of control,' Horstmeyer said. 'It's the exact same story as USC.'

Senior Kristin Iwanaga led Cal with a career-high nine rebounds and added eight points and a team-high six assists.

Next week, Cal travels to Washington State Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. and to Washington Saturday, Jan. 29 at 1 p.m.

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