Cal Wins Defensive Battle with Oregon, 49-39
Feb. 4, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - California turned in its best defensive effort in the Pac-10 this season in a 49-39 victory over Oregon Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears improved to 15-8 (7-6 Pac-10) as they snapped their two-game losing streak, while the Ducks fell to 13-9 (4-8 Pac-10).
'It was a great game for us coming off what happened against Oregon State,' said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. 'I'll take the blame in some ways for that. We started earlier in the week talking about the NCAA Tournament. I think I freaked my kids out a little bit, as they told me. We regrouped and talked a bit yesterday. We had a short practice, but it was very intense on the defensive end. We talked about taking it one game at a time and not looking ahead.'
The win avenges Cal's worst loss of the season - a 70-41 setback in Eugene Jan. 5 - and guarantees the Bears their first winning regular season record since 1992-93. There are five games left before the Pac-10 Tournament March 3-6 in San Jose.
Hampton, who came off the bench today, and freshman guard Alexis Gray-Lawson led Cal with 15 points each, and Walker chipped in 11. Walker added 10 rebounds for her Pac-10 best eighth double-double, and Hampton grabbed 11 boards for her seventh double-double.
'We tried to take advantage of 54 (Eleanor Haring) in the post,' said Boyle. 'We wanted to get Devanei and Ashley more touches inside.'
Hampton and Walker combined for 27 of Cal's 48 shot attempts.
Cal jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game and held Oregon to 0-of-10 from the floor. Brandi Davis broke Oregon's scoring drought with a three-pointer with 12:13 left in the first half. Davis hit three treys in the first half to pace the Ducks with nine points - her total for the game - in their lowest scoring half of the season.
'I changed our game plan a bit and gave them more freedom,' said Boyle. 'I wanted to see us run early.'
The Bears led 13-7 before they erupted for a 7-0 run, capped by a short jumper from Renee Wright to go ahead 20-7 with under five minutes to play until the break.
Hampton was fouled as she tried to make a three-quarter court desperation heave with .5 of a second on the clock. She made 2-of-3 free throws to send the Bears into the locker room up 28-15. Hampton led Cal with 11 points and seven boards in the opening 20 minutes.
Cal went ahead 16 points on two occasions, including at 35-19 with 14:39 left in the game on a reverse layup from Hampton. The Bears' offense then went cold, as the Ducks utilized an 18-6 run to close to within 41-37 with 4:10 on the clock. Chelsea Wagner, who paced Oregon with 11 points off the bench, drained two three-pointers and Cicely Oaks hit another during the run, while Walker accounted for all six of Cal's points.
Gray-Lawson scored the Bears' final eight points, including a clutch jumper with 3:39 remaining in the contest, and Cal limited Oregon to a layup by Haring. Walker, the conference leader in blocked shots, secured a critical block and steal in the final five minutes of the game.
The Bears held the Ducks to 24.5 percent shooting from the floor - an opponent season low - but shot only 29.2 percent themselves. After getting to the free throw line a season-low seven times against Oregon State Thursday, Cal converted 20-of-30 free throws today to earn the victory over the Pac-10's No. 1 defensive team.
Cal closes out a three-game homestand against No. 15 Stanford Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.