Oregon Squeezes Past California, 70-67

Jan. 9, 2003

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon's Kayla Steen made five free throws in the final 30 seconds for the Ducks to seal a 70-67 Oregon victory against California Thursday night at McArthur Court.

The game was close throughout and featured 15 lead changes and 10 ties. Neither team ever led by more than six points. California held the halftime advantage, 38-36.

'Under pressure, this was the best we have played all season,' California head coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'I'm excited about the way we played.

'Both teams played extremely hard. The swings were great. Our players gave a gallant effort.'

The Golden Bears (5-7, 1-2) held a slim 65-64 lead after a Timea Ivanyi basket at 2:05 remaining, but were outscored 6-2 in the final minutes of the game. Ivanyi, who posted a career-high tying 17 points and was a perfect eight-for-eight from the field, fouled out just 17 seconds later.

Cal had several chances in the final minute to pull even. Trailing by two with 52 seconds left, Nihan Anaz, who had a career-high 22 points with 13 coming in the second half, put up a three-pointer from the top of the key which looked like it was going in the basket, but rimmed out. Then, following a Cal timeout and 24.6 seconds on the clock, Kristin Iwanaga, who was on the receiving end of the inbounds pass, slipped and the ball rolled out of bounds untouched.

Anaz hit Cal's final basket of the night, a layup with 14 seconds left to cut the score to 69-67. Steen, who had been perfect from the line, missed the back end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left to keep the Oregon lead within reach at 70-67. The Bears worked the ball upcourt and Renee Wright had an open look at a three-pointer from the top left of the key with three seconds to play. The shot looked to be perfectly online, but hit off the front rim and Oregon (6-8, 2-3) grabbed the rebound.

'We need to continue to play well and good things will come from that. Right now, it's about doing all the little things,' added Horstmeyer.

The game really was a tale of two halves for California. The Bears shot a season-high 73.7% (14-fof-19) from the floor in the first half. In the second frame, Cal struggled to hit at just a 38.5% (10-of-26) clip. Oregon, meanwhile, was consistent, shooting 45.7% in the first half and 48.3% in the second.

Cal had 21 turnovers, its fewest in its last six games, but eight more than Oregon's 13. In addition, the Bears took just 45 shots in the contest, compared to 64 for the Ducks, a difference of 19. Cal hit 17 free throws to Oregon's seven.

Carolyn Ganes led four Oregon players in double figures with 18 points. Andrea Bills added 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

Anaz's 22-point effort was the second 20+ point showing for California this season. Iwanaga posted a career-best 20 in the second game of the season against Syracuse.

The three-point final margin marks the closest game Cal has played at McArthur Court since it beat the Ducks, 75-63, in 1993. All nine games played between these two teams in Oregon since 1993 were decided in the Ducks' favor by double-digit margins.

California returns to action Saturday, Jan. 11, when it plays at Oregon State. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.

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