Cal Edged By USC, 76-71

Jan. 20, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. - California gave Pac-10-leading USC all it could handle before falling, 76-71, Thursday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears drop to 8-9 overall (2-6 Pac-10), while the Trojans improve to 13-4 (7-1).

'It was a great game,' Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer said. 'It was a great spectator game. You saw our team make some strides in rebounding and attacking and doing some different things offensively, reading each other and working together. Maybe, more importantly, playing a better defensive game despite what the score ended up. Defense and rebounding win games.'

Senior forward Leigh Gregory led Cal with 16 points, while senior guard Kristin Iwanaga posted 13 points and sophomore guard Keanna Levy added a career-high 10 points.

'Leigh is an undersized post who shocks and surprises a lot of people,' Horstmeyer said. 'What Leigh was able to do tonight from a scoring perspective was great.'

With the scored tied at 43-43 with 14:43 to play, USC then went on a 16-0 run to grab its biggest lead of the game at 59-43 with 9:51 remaining. Three-pointers from Brynn Cameron and Jamie Hagiya and four Cal turnovers keyed the run.

'That 12-minute mark, we had a major mental lapse, turned the ball over and our transition defense was disorganized,' Horstmeyer added.

But, the Bears battled back to within 67-62 following a layup from freshman center Jessica Lawson on a pass from Gregory with 1:55 to play. Lawson came off the bench tonight to post nine points in 12 minutes after injuring her collar bone against Stanford last week. The Trojans scored the next four points to go back up nine, and Cal got as close as five points three more times after that.

Freshman forward Krista Foster scored six of her eight points off the bench, as Cal went ahead 11-4 to start the game. After the Bears' initial burst, neither team led by more than four points for the rest of the half.

Iwanaga was 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the first half, putting the Bears up 28-26 and 31-30 with each make. An acrobatic jumper by Levy sent the Bears into the locker room up 35-34. Gregory posted 12 of her points in the first half.

Cameron led USC with 14 points, followed by Jamie Funn with 13 and Kim Gipson with 12.

Cal held a 44-42 edge on the glass, with Gregory pacing the team with nine boards. The Bears shot 44.3 percent for the game, while USC converted 40.0 percent of its chances.

The Bears look to snap a four-game losing streak against UCLA Saturday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The game can be seen live on Fox Sports Net.

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