Women's Basketball Snaps Losing Skid with 70-67 Win vs. California

Jan. 9, 2003

EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon women's basketball team and junior Kayla Steen came through when it counted Thursday as the Ducks broke a two-game losing skid with a 70-67 win over California before 3,861 fans at McArthur Court.

Steen, Oregon's 5-foot-7 guard, hit on 5-of-6 free throws in the final 30 seconds to keep California at bay. The Ducks improved to 6-8 and 2-3 in Pac-10 play while Cal dropped to 5-7, 1-1.

With the game knotted at 65 apiece, the Bears' Nihan Anaz, who scored a game-high 22 points, had a wide-open look from the top of the 3-point arc with 40 seconds left. But her shot twirled around the basket and went out. After the Ducks' rebound, Steen drove left into the key and drew a foul from Cal's Amber White with 30 seconds on the clock. Steen then hit both free throws in the one-and-one situation to put Oregon in the driver's seat.

Renee Wright's last-second 3-pointer hit off the front rim.

'I think it was an important win for us,' second-year Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'We didn't make much of a statement in the first half, but we picked it up in the second half.'

Neither team led by more than six points and there were nine lead changes alone in the second half.

The Bears, who lost their ninth straight at McArthur Court dating to 1994, shot the lights out in the first half, a 74 percent clip on 14-of-19 shooting. The Ducks' defense, though, forced 13 turnovers to help Oregon keep it close as it trailed just 38-36 at the half.

'They did some things right down the stretch,' Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said, 'and got the ball to their best free-throw shooter, and ultimately they won.'

Carolyn Ganes led the Ducks with 18 points while Andrea Bills added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Sophomore guards Brandi Davis (12 points, five assists) and Kedzie Gunderson (10 points, five rebounds) also gave Oregon an offensive lift. It marked Gunderson's first back-to-back double-figure scoring games in her career. Meanwhile, Steen finished with nine points and four assists.

Timea Ivanyi was the Bears' only other double-digit scorer with 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting. However, the Ducks got her into foul trouble in the second half, and she eventually fouled out with 1:48 left in the game.

'(Timea) gives our team confidence,' Horstmeyer said. 'When we lose her, we lose an important presence.'

Oregon and Cal each had 29 rebounds on the night, which was the first time in six games the Ducks didn't lose the rebounding battle.

'Cal is a good team,' Oregon senior guard Alissa Edwards said. 'Every team in the Pac-10 is good. We can't think it's ever going to be easy. We have to go in and compete every night.'

Oregon next plays host to No. 6-ranked Stanford (11-1, 3-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Cardinal defeated Oregon State 62-51 Thursday at Corvallis.

'It will be a very tough game,' Smith said of Stanford. 'We have to make sure they play a half-court game and not let them get into transition. We need to control tempo and rebound to have a chance to win.'

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