No. 21 Golden Bears Outlast Highlanders, 58-51

Jan. 31, 2007

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Devanei Hampton scored 14 points and Natasha Vital added a career-high 13 to help No. 21 California beat UC Riverside 58-51 Wednesday night in a tuneup for a showdown with archrival Stanford.

Ashley Walker had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Bears (17-5, 7-4 Pacific-10), who have matched the 1983-84 team for the best record in school history after 22 games and won their 24th straight non-conference home game.

Now they can look ahead to Sunday's matchup at No. 8 Stanford, which has won 14 straight in the Bay Area rivalry and is undefeated in the Pac-10 this season. Cal hasn't beaten the Cardinal since Feb. 16, 2001, at Maples Pavilion, including a 69-44 home loss on Jan. 6. The Golden Bears have won six of seven since the loss to Stanford.

Amber Cox scored 13 points to lead the Highlanders (12-9, 6-1), the Big West leaders who went to the NCAA tournament last season. Seyram Gbewonyo added 11 points and Roney Friend had 10.

Lauren Greif's 3-pointer early in the second half started an 11-2 run that helped the Bears open a 46-32 lead. Hampton and Walker each had four points during the spurt that helped Cal overcome a lackluster first half.

UC Riverside hung tough and cut the lead to four points on Cox's 3-pointer with 6:20 remaining. Friend's basket inside cut it to 52-50 before Hampton's two free throws with 3:54 remaining extended the lead back to four.

Walker then had a steal with just over a minute left and Cal protecting a three-point lead. Walker made two free throws on the other end to extend the lead to 56-51 with 40.5 seconds remaining.

Hampton had a steal on the Highlanders' next possession and Cal ran the clock down to 11.5 seconds before UC Riverside committed a foul. Keanna Levy hit two free throws to put the game out of reach.

Cal got off to a sluggish start, going scoreless for a stretch of 5:33 before a switch to a full-court press helped spark an 12-2 run to put the Bears on top 21-12. Cal led 31-25 at the break and the advantage could have been bigger for the Bears, who missed five of eight free throws, including the front end of a one-and-one.

Cal coach Joanne Boyle was honored in a pregame ceremony for winning her 100th career game on Jan. 20 against Oregon.

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