No. 10 Bears Bounce Back Over Bruins, 67-53

Jan. 31, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Ashley Walker had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Natasha Vital added 16 points and 10th-ranked California bounced back from its first conference loss by beating UCLA 67-53 Thursday night.

'If anybody has been following us for three years, they are tough minded, they let things go pretty easily, they move forward. They do that a lot easier than I do,' coach Joanne Boyle said of her players. 'I thought they did a great job making adjustments. ... I thought we did a great job of learning from the Stanford game and moving forward.'

The Golden Bears (18-3, 9-1 Pac-10) had won nine straight games before faltering last weekend in a 72-52 road loss to their arch rivals. But Cal remained in first place in the conference despite the loss to the Cardinal and the Bears showed they don't plan to give up that spot easily.

'We're pretty good at letting things go,' Walker said. 'We talk about having two seasons and we're starting the next half of our season. Yeah that's always going to be a part of us but we're going to move on to the next team, the next team and the next team and not let that stay with us.'

The win gave Cal its first season sweep against UCLA (11-10, 6-4) since 2000-01. This one proved to be much easier than the 73-70 win at Los Angeles on Jan. 6.

The Bears broke out to an 11-point lead midway through the first half and led by double-digits for the entire second half to extend the best start in school history.

Cal put the game away with a 17-1 run that bridged halftime and included a scoreless streak of more than 6 minutes for the Bruins. UCLA had cut an 11-point lead down to three before the Bears went on a run that started when Lauren Greif scored on a backdoor layup.

Vital followed with a three-point play and then run ended on a 3-pointer by Alexis Gray-Lawson and easy basket underneath by Walker that made it 43-26.

Gray-Lawson finished with 12 points for the Bears, who won their 13th straight home game.

Reigning Pac-10 player of the year Devanei Hampton, who was held to three points on 1-for-8 shooting at Stanford, missed all five shots in the first half and finished with nine points on 3-for-10 shooting. Hampton added 10 rebounds.

Vital and Walker provided more than enough offense this game, combining to make 14 of 20 shots. Vital has had her two highest-scoring games of the season against UCLA, scoring 18 points in the first meeting.

'UCLA must be her team. She must just like baby blue,' Boyle said. 'I thought she made great decisions in the first half attacking the basket and taking it to our post players. She thrives off of that. In both games this year, she's made just really heady, smart plays.'

Doreena Campbell scored 10 points to lead the Bruins, who had won four of five games. Leading scorer Lindsey Pluimer was held to seven points on 3-for-12 shooting. UCLA shot just 32 percent for the game, including 2-for-14 from 3-point range.

'I think Pluimer is Miss Consistent for us,' UCLA coach Kathy Olivier said. 'We call her Steady Betty. She's someone who will always do a very good job of taking a good shot selection and making her shot. I thought Cal did a good job on her tonight, getting up in her face and her grill and making her put the ball on the floor.'

There was a scary moment midway through the second half when Hampton, Shantrell Sneed and UCLA's Darxia's Morris hit the court in a collision. Trainers for both teams came out to tend to the players and Sneed had to be helped to the locker room with a sprained right ankle.

Vital helped Cal get off to a fast start, scoring the first six points of the game for the Bears.

'In the Stanford game we felt like the guards needed to attack more and do more to stretch the defense so our post players wouldn't be double- and triple-teamed as much,' Vital said. 'I took that to heart and tried to make people guard me because they weren't guarding me in the Stanford game.'

Cal expanded its lead to 26-15 on a 3-pointer by Gray-Lawson midway through the half. UCLA responded with a 10-2 run, sparked by six points from Morris, to cut the lead to three. But Cal scored the final eight points of the half to take a 36-25 lead.

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