Bears Lose Defensive Battle to ASU, 56-40

Jan. 24, 2002

BERKELEY - The Pac-10's top two defensive teams squared off tonight at Haas Pavilion, with the Arizona State Sun Devils defeating the California Golden Bears, 56-40. Cal drops to 6-12 (1-8 Pac-10) on the season, while the Sun Devils improved to 16-5 (7-3).

ASU entered tonight's game as the Pac-10's top defensive team, giving up 58.8 ppg, while Cal was second at 60.6 ppg.

'I thought our team was mentally ready, and I knew they truly believed they could beat Arizona State,' said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'I feel we came out prepared to win the game. We made some adjustments from the first game (against ASU). Our wings could never get open in the first game. We worked on it so the wings got open. We didn't utilize our posts very well.'

Shining for the Bears in the loss was sophomore guard LaTasha O'Keith, who had 13 points and was the only Cal player to score in double digits. O'Keith has now posted double figure points in four of the last five games for the Bears. She added six defensive rebounds in her 26 minutes. Leigh Gregory also added nine points and three rebounds, playing nearly the entire game (36 minutes). Senior center Ami Forney, Cal's leading scorer entering the game at 12.9 ppg, was held to only four shots from the field, ending the night with seven points.

'Ami only getting four shots...we have to get her more shots than that,' said Horstmeyer. 'They were obviously trying to take her away. The post defense was better. They fronted her a lot. We need to work on getting her the ball a little bit (more).'

Senior fowrard Cian Carvalho came up big for the Sun Devils, putting up a 14 point, seven rebound performance. Senior guard Amanda Levens also performed well, adding 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in the win.

The two teams played it close in the first half, neither team able to scratch out more than a five point lead. O'Keith had 10 of her points in the period, and the Bears outrebounded ASU 18-14.

'You get two defensive teams together, and it's often ugly,' said Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'I was proud of our second-half effort. We started being more patient on offense, and we rebounded a lot better.'

Leading 24-22 to start the second half, Arizona State jumped out to a 21-7 run, spearheaded by seven points by Carvalho, and seven-of-seven shooting by the Sun Devil squad. ASU held Cal scoreless for over nine minutes, before the spell was broken by an Amber White basket with 6:22 left to play, and the Bears in a 45-31 hole. Cal was unable to mount a comeback effort, despite a quick 6-2 run late in the game. White got into foul trouble early, carrying four fouls for the majority of the half.

'In the first half, great defense for both teams, but not great offense,' said Hosrstmeyer. 'Second half, ASU comes out and hits shots. We don't make enough shots. We don't get enough shots. We can't score, but yet we still held them to 56 points. The problem is we only had 40.'

Perhaps a bright side for Cal was that the young team limited its turnovers, only losing the ball 18 times to ASU's 17. The Bears' defense also played more aggressively, recording 10 steals on the night to the Sun Devils two.

This is Cal's lowest point production since February 10, 2000, when the Bears dropped a 52-33 decision to Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.

Cal faces Arizona on Saturday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

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