Lawson Leads Cal to Contra Costa Times Classic Title

Dec. 5, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. - Freshman center Jessica Lawson matched her career high of 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead California to a 65-41 victory over Tennessee Tech Sunday in the championship game of the inaugural Contra Costa Times Classic at Haas Pavilion.

'We've been fixated defensively,' said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'I probably needed to be earlier prior to Hawaii, but Hawaii made it glaring that defense was something we needed to pick up and focus on. I've had teams which play pretty good defense. I would say tonight we got on track defensively. I thought it was a very good team defensive effort. I'm proud of them the way they played defense tonight because we haven't played defense like that all year, and (Tennessee Tech is) a better team than they looked like tonight.'

Lawson was named MVP of the tournament, while her senior teammate, Kiki Williams, joined her on the all-tournament team. Williams contributed 12 points off the bench. The duo helped Cal (3-3) win its own tournament in consecutive years for the first time since the Golden Bears won the Oakland Tribune Classic from 1991-95.

Tennessee Tech (4-2) scored the first two points of the game, but after that, Cal controlled the rest of the contest offensively and defensively. The Bears led 8-4 before going on a 13-0 run, keyed by two three-pointers from Kristin Iwanaga and one from Williams, to go up 21-6 with 7:13 remaining in the half. Lawson scored nine of Cal's first 21 points, including making a steal near half court and converting the layup on the other end.

Cal led by as many as 26 points in the first half at 32-6 with 2:47 until halftime and held a 34-11 lead at the break.

Emily Christian sank a trey for the Eaglettes to bring them as close as 20 points to start the second half, but that was as close as her team would get.

Lawson grabbed a rebound off a Cal missed free throw and converted the layup to give the Bears their first 30-point edge at 48-18 at the 12:53 mark.

The Bears built their biggest lead at 53-18 following Iwanaga's third three of the game. The senior guard posted nine points on 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and has hit 80 percent of her three-point shots (16-of-20) this season.

All 11 dressed Cal players saw at least 10 minutes of playing time in the championship game. The bench accounted for 29 of the Bears' points with Williams leading the way. Senior center Khadijah Coakley and freshman forward Krista Foster added six points each. Coakley also corralled six boards, and sophomore center Emmelie Geraedts secured five caroms.

Cal shot 46.3 percent for the game and held Tennessee Tech to 30.9 percent. The Eaglettes entered the game shooting 50.2 percent from the floor and averaging 72.2 ppg. Junior forward Renee Wright dished off a career-high six assists among the Bears' 20 assists on 25 field goals.

Pepperdine (2-6) defeated Cal State Northridge (1-3), 63-42 in the tournament's consolation game earlier today. Lauren Wenski led the Waves with 16 points, and Ofa Tulikihihifo, an all-tournament pick, paced the Matadors with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Kelsey Ball from Pepperdine and Christian and Kendall Cavin from Tennessee Tech were also named to the all-tournament team.

The Bears continue a five-game home stand against Saint Mary's Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.