WSU Falls To California 61-51

Feb. 23, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif. - Washington State's Kate Benz recorded her third consecutive double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Cougars' 61-51 loss to the California Golden Bears in Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball action, Thursday at Haas Pavilion.

With the double-double, Benz, who earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors Monday, increased her career number in that category to 18, including seven this season.

Keisha Moore recorded her 15th double-digit scoring game of the season, and her eighth in the last nine games, with 14 points.

Alexis Gray-Lawson and Ashley Walker led California with 15 points each.

WSU found itself down early not only on the scoreboard, but in its already depleted number of healthy guards.

The Cougars (8-18, 2-15 Pac-10) were without the services of starting guard Dani Montgomery for the majority of the game, as the sophomore went out with a right hand injury during the opening moments of the contest.

WSU is already without guards Charmaine Jones (right high ankle sprain), Brynn Bemis (left ankle subluxation) and Nikki Stratton (decided to end career due to a right foot injury that occurred during the 2003-04 season) because of injury.

The Cougars also found themselves down in the free throw category as California attempted 39 shots from the charity stripe, making 26, while WSU was 5-of-7 from the line.

WSU also committed 26 turnovers with California scoring 28 points off of those turnovers. Conversely, the Cougars converted 16 Bear turnovers into 11 points.

'The difference in the game was at the foul line and turnovers,' WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said. 'They got to the line and we didn't. We were really sloppy in the first half and that hurt us.

'We did a good job of coming back and playing with a lot of heart. Cal had to work hard to win tonight,' Murrell added.

California (17-10, 9-8) jumped out to an early 7-0 advantage and extended its lead to as much as 15 at 22-7 just over midway through the first half. WSU fought its way back to pull within single-digits before going into the halftime break down 29-19.

Facing a 38-27 deficit with 12:41 left, the Cougars went on a 9-0 run to pull within 38-36. Moore scored the first six points in the run, which was capped by a Katie Appleton trey.

After a California free throw, Appleton tied matters up at 39 with another 3-pointer at the 9:20 mark of the second half. It marked the first time in the game that WSU did not trail.

California pulled ahead 45-41 but a Benz 3-pointer sliced the Bears' lead down to 45-44 with 5:20 left. In just under a minute, the Bears extended their advantage to 51-44 with a 6-0 run. WSU cut the California's lead to 51-46 but the Bears put the game away with another 6-0 run to go ahead 57-46 with 1:28 left.

WSU concludes the regular season at No. 15 Stanford, Saturday, Feb. 25 for a 2 p.m. tip.
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