Bears Drop Pac-10 Opener to No. 21 Arizona, 83-53

Dec. 27, 2002

BERKELEY - California opened its Pac-10 season with an 83-53 loss to No. 21 Arizona Friday night at Haas Pavilion. Forward Leigh Gregory led the Golden Bears with 15 points.

The loss drops Cal's record to 3-5 (0-1 in conference), while the win improves Arizona's record to 7-2 (0-1).

Cal was last within two points of Arizona at 16-14 with 9:58 remaining in the first half. The Wildcats then went on a 21-6 run to take a 37-20 lead into the locker room.

'We played well for eight minutes,' Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said. 'And then I really think confidence became a little bit of an issue. At that point, we're right there. They get up four. We tie it (6-6). And then they went on a really strong run.'

Cal shot 31.3 percent from the field and were 10-of-21 for 47.6 percent from the foul line.

'I thought we had good looks,' said Horstmeyer, 'and didn't make shots. I thought we had some good looks, rushed. We started to miss some shots, and when we started to miss some shots, we started to panic and started to go faster than we wanted to and hence it became like the domino effect.'

Dee-Dee Wheeler, who poured in a game-high 29 points, was one of three Wildcats who scored in double figures. Aimee Grzyb added 18 and center Shawntinice Polk had 17 as the Wildcats shot a blistering 64.3 percent from the field.Like Cal, Arizona shot poorly from the charity stripe at 5-of-12.

'Dee-Dee Wheeler basically tore us apart,' Horstmeyer said.

Arizona also won the rebounding battle, 39-35, as Robin Roberson pulled down a game-high nine boards. Timea Ivanyi led Cal with eight boards and was the Bears' second leading scorer with eight points. Cal dominated the offensive boards 18-7, with forward Amber White collecting four.

Wheeler turned in an outstanding performance, scoring 23 of her points on 10-of-10 field goal shooting in the second half. Overall, the guard shot 13-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.

Arizona had a double-digit lead the entire second half. After the Wildcats built a 29-point lead at 51-22 with 15:47, the Bears put in a smaller, quicker lineup and were able to cut the deficit to 21 points at 54-33 after a three-pointer from O'Keith at 13:39 to play.

On a positive note, Cal forced Arizona into 26 turnovers, while committing 23.

Cal returns to action against Arizona State on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

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