Strong Second Half Powers Bears to Win

Jan. 19, 2008

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona geared its defense toward stopping No. 8 California's powerful inside game, and the Bears were happy to take advantage of all the room outside.

Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 19 points and made five of California's season-high 10 3-pointers to help the Bears beat the Wildcats 66-45 Saturday for their ninth consecutive victory.

'They were packing it in so much. It was tough to get the posts touches and when they did, they were doubling and tripling down,' Bears coach Joanne Boyle said. 'Once we relaxed and hit one or two of the 3s, then the basket gets that much bigger.'

The win streak for California (17-2, 8-0 Pac-10) is its longest since the 1986-87 team won 10 in a row. The Bears also tied the school record with eight straight Pac-10 victories.

Arizona (6-12, 0-7) lost its eighth straight game.

'They made some adjustments late in the first half and started to pick us apart,' Wildcats coach Joan Bonvicini said. 'They are a team that doesn't usually turn the ball over that much and turned it over 20 times, so all those 3s they hit kept them in the game and ultimately pulled them away.'

Arizona led 21-16 late in the first half after Rheya Neabors' 3-pointer. But California went on a 10-0 run with Gray-Lawson hitting two 3-pointers during the surge.

The Bears led 29-24 at halftime, then made five consecutive shots to open the second half for a 16-point lead.

Gray-Lawson connected from long range to put the Bears up 55-34 with 9:21 remaining.

'They were doubling inside so I said I might as well get open,' Gray-Lawson said. 'I guess I kind of went off.'

Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker finished with 10 points apiece for the Bears, who went 10-for-17 from 3-point range.

'We challenged the team at halftime,' Boyle said. 'I think we started out tight at the beginning of the game. We came back and responded. I thought we started to relax in the second half and played more of our basketball.'

Arizona struggled offensively, shooting 24 percent against the Pac-10's leader in scoring defense. The Wildcats finished 4-for-26 from the field in the second half.

Neabors finished with 13 points, and Ashley Whisonant and Amina Njonkou each had 10.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano served as a guest coach on the bench for the Wildcats, the fifth time she has done so during her tenure.

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