No. 12 Cal Outlasts New Mexico, 52-44
Nov. 18, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Alexis Gray-Lawson scored eight of her 11 points over the final 6:40 and No. 12 California escaped with a hard-fought 52-44 victory over New Mexico on Sunday in its home opener.
Ashley Walker scored back-to-back baskets in the final 3 minutes and finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds despite foul trouble. Lauren Greif added 14 points, four rebounds and four assists for the unbeaten Golden Bears (3-0), who were far from spectacular but did enough right down the stretch.
Gray-Lawson received a warm ovation from the crowd in Haas Pavilion during pregame introductions, a welcome back of sorts after she missed most of last season with a knee injury that required reconstructive surgery. She gave everyone a scare when she hit the floor with 4 seconds left in the game, grabbing her surgically repaired right knee. She was eventually able to walk off the court on her own accompanied by trainers.
Her 3-pointer with 6:40 remaining put Cal ahead 38-37, then she later tied the game at 42 with a 15-footer. Gray-Lawson hit a key baseline 3 with 1:02 remaining, a pair of free throws at 32 seconds, and wound up with 11 points.
Dionne Marsh scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half for the Lobos (3-1), who forced Cal into 16 turnovers but shot only 32 percent -- including 2-of-17 from 3-point range. Jessica Kielpinski added 10 points, four boards and three assists.
Walker, the team's leading scorer and rebounder last season, grabbed four rebounds in the first 4 1/2 minutes but then was quiet until crunch time.
Cal (3-0), picked to finish third in the Pac-10 behind seven-time defending conference champion Stanford and Arizona State, committed 10 turnovers in the first half and settled for a halftime tie at 20 despite outshooting the Lobos 47 percent to 28 percent.
Both teams came out cold, Cal shooting 3-for-9 to New Mexico's 3-of-14
But Joanne Boyle, Pac-10 Coach of the Year last season who stayed put rather than bolting for the Duke job at her alma mater, watched her team hit the clutch shots it needed late.
Cal is missing reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Devanei Hampton, who is sidelined for at least the first six weeks of the season six weeks of the season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.
The teams have split their four meetings, with the Lobos beating the Bears 55-46 during the last matchup, in the 2005 preseason WNIT.
The Lobos missed three shots on the first possession of the game and started 0-for-6 until Kielpinski's jumper at 16:18, which started a 7-0 spurt.
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