Bears Edged By Oregon State in the Pac-12 Tournament
LAS VEGAS – California women's basketball kept Oregon State on its toes throughout the entirety of Wednesday's first round of the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament. The Golden Bears closed the deficit to just four points with 5:04 to play in the fourth quarter, but the Beavers ultimately held their ground, defeating Cal 71-63.
Coming out of halftime trailing by 12 points (39-27), the Bears opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run to pull within three, but OSU responded with a run of their own, outscoring Cal 13-2 to increase their lead to 14 (52-38). Nonetheless, Cal ultimately exited the third trailing by just nine points after outscoring the Beavers 20-17 in the quarter.
To open the final frame, the Bears held OSU scoreless for nearly three minutes. However, Cal was only able to score one point during that time. Eventually, the Bears scored six unanswered points which brought them to within four, but they could not close the gap in the final minutes.
"I think Coach Charmin had a really good pregame speech," sophomore forward Evelien Lutje Schipholt said. "She talked to us about how this might be our last game, and how we need to make sure that we put all the pain, all the stuff we went through, all the adversity, all that emotion, and channel that energy and use it to come out today and give it all we've got. I think that's what every single one of us did today. I'm really proud of it."
Cal saw three players score in double figures on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Leilani McIntosh led the team with 14 points, collecting six assists and three steals as well. Freshman forward Ugonne (Michelle) Onyiah scored 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting while adding six boards, a block and a steal. Lutje Schipholt also contributed 13 points and went 6-for-8 with 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Junior guard Sierra Richey scored a career-best nine points, going 3-for-6 from three (another career-high). As a team, the Bears outrebounded the Beavers 39-33 and outscored OSU in both the third and fourth quarters.
Throughout a season full of endless obstacles including injuries and the coronavirus, Cal remained resilient and put its best effort forward every day. The Golden Bears will return with a ferocity next season as all, but one player on their roster will be back at Haas Pavilion.
"I'm proud of how we finished," head coach Charmin Smith said. "I wish we could have some of the earlier games back. I think there would be different outcomes in some of those situations. But this is our journey, this is how it was supposed to be. We have a lot of things to build on and a lot of reasons to stay motivated in order to be better next year."
For more information and updates throughout the offseason, follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalWBBall), Instagram (@CalWBBall) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CalWBBall).