Cal Battles For A Tough Win At Saint Mary’s
MORAGA, Calif. – The Cal (3-1) women's basketball team defeated Saint Mary's (2-2), 69-66, at University Credit Union Pavilion in a game in which it only led for seven minutes. Coming out of a timeout with 1:32 left in the game, Peanut Tuitele got free for a layup off an assist from Karisma Ortiz to give the Bears a 67-66 lead that they would hold on to. A shooting foul on Tuitele on the next possession would give the Gaels a chance to tie the game up at the free throw line but they missed both and Leilani McIntosh answered with two clutch free throws to seal the win. McIntosh led the Bears in scoring with 18 points (on 5-of-7 shooting) and added five rebounds and two steals.
"I thought this was a really gritty, tough win for our team," said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. "It shows our character and resiliency that we can win when we don't play well. Credit to Saint Mary's. They played hard. It's always competitive here, but I'm glad that we were able to figure it out and get the win."
It was a tight game for most of the first half even though Saint Mary's outshot Cal 46.2-35.7 percent from the field and 50-25 percent from 3-point range. The Gaels led by as much as eight points in the second quarter but the Bears forced three straight turnovers and responded with a 6-0 run to keep them in the game going into halftime down just two points.
Cal found itself down by eight points again midway through the third quarter but Jadyn Bush provided a much-needed spark off the bench scoring five points late in the quarter to once again keep the Bears within striking distance. Cal outshot Saint Mary's 58.3-44.4 percent in the period.
Down by six late in the fourth quarter, back-to-back 3-pointers from McIntosh and Jayda Curry tied the game with 3:45 to go. Saint Mary's would score the next four points before Cal converted three free throws and the go-ahead bucket by Tuitele with 1:32 left to give the Bears the lead for good. The 3-pointer by Curry extends her streak of consecutive regular-season games with at least one made three-pointer to 26 which is tied for the sixth longest streak of any Pac-12 player since the 1999-00 season.
The Bear's bench outscored its opponent's bench for the fourth consecutive game with a 29-14 edge over the Gaels.
Saint Mary's was led by Ali Bamberger's 24 points and seven rebounds to go along with Taycee Wedin and Makena Mastora who had 17 and 10 points respectively.
Cal stays on the road heading down to Southern California for the LMU Thanksgiving Tournament where they will face LMU on Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. and then Montana on Nov. 26 at 3:30 p.m.
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