Cal Defeats Syracuse, 57-53, for First Win of Season

Nov. 29, 2002

BERKELEY - Kristin Iwanaga scored a career-high 20 points to lead California past Syracuse, 57-53, in the Golden Bears' first win of the season Friday night at Haas Pavilion.

Leigh Gregory chipped in 12 points and six rebounds as Cal improved its record to 1-1. Syracuse got a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds from Shannon Perry, 12 points and 10 rebounds from April Jean and 11 assists from Julie McBride but fell to 0-4 on the season. Last season, Syracuse finished the year 18-13 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Cal freshman forward Renee grabbed a team-high seven rebounds as the Bears outrebounded the Orangewomen, 32-31.

Iwanaga, a sophomore point guard, dished out five assists and was Cal's go-to player down the stretch. After two Iwanaga free throws with 20.4 seconds remaining, the Bears led 55-51. Syracuse forward April Jean hit a layup to cut the lead to two, but Iwanaga iced the game with two more free throws for the final points of the game.

'K.I. did a heck of a job tonight playing with the number of fouls [4] that she had,' Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said. 'They were looking to go at her, and I think she played very smart.'

Iwanaga's previous career high of 18 points was set last season in a 76-63 home win over Washington State. Against the Orangewomen, she shot 6-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, and shot 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

'We knew that they were going to play zone,' Iwanaga said, 'so I've been focusing on getting off my three-point shot and getting ready to shoot.'

Syracuse raced out to an 18-9 lead with 7:49 left in the first half thanks in large part to Perry, who scored 11 points and had seven rebounds in the early going. But a 14-4 Cal run sparked by Iwanaga's eight points, including a three-point shot with 30 seconds left in the half, gave Cal a 23-22 lead at the break. Cal also shut down Perry, who shot 0-of-1 from the field and 0-of-2 from the free throw line the rest of the half.

The two teams traded the lead in the first few minutes of the second half. Cal took the lead for good on an Iwanaga three-pointer, making the score 30-28 at 16:24. Iwanaga's basket started a 10-0 run that gave Cal a nine-point lead, its largest of the game, at 37-28 with 11:08 remaining in the contest.

Syracuse went on an 11-5 run to pull within three at 42-39 with 6:47 to go. Gregory's two three-point plays pushed the lead to 48-41. The two free throws were Cal's first successful attempts of the game. The Orangewomen would close to two on four more occasions, but the Bears hung on for the victory.

Sophomore guard Jacqueline Sanchez, who had been nursing a quad injury, saw her first action of the season tonight and was quite effective in the final 9:13 of the game. She tallied all eight of her points off the bench during that stretch with two three-pointers and a two-point basket. The junior college transfer also added two assists.

The depth in the Cal bench was evident as Horstmeyer played 14 players, including freshman point guard Sarah Pool, who issued five assists in 12 minutes.

'She went in and gave us some most incredible minutes,' Horstmeyer said of Pool. 'She's a great penetrator and passer, and she made a big difference.'

Cal continues its six-game homestand against another Big East opponent, Seton Hall, Sunday at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

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