Cal's Inside Game Too Much for ASU

Three times this season ASU had a five-game winning streak. Three times this season Cal has snapped that streak. On Saturday the Bears defeated the Lady Sun Devils 65-61 in a very similar fashion as their previous two wins over ASU. Cal dominated the glass and the paint at HP Pavilion en route to knocking ASU out of the Pac-10 Tournament.

The first half was dominated by the Sun Devils, but it didn't exactly show up on the scoreboard. The Devils outplayed the Bears in the first half, but were outrebounded 27-16 in the first half, including 16 offensive rebounds by the Bears. ASU stayed in the game despite being dominated on the glass by shooting 48% and holding to Cal to just 28.6%. The Devils held a 34-33 advantage at the break.

"We didn't box out well in the first half, we were not putting bodies on people and they got a lot of second shots," said ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne. .

"In the second half California started making more of their first opportunities and we let them get deep seals behind deep in the key. We were also slow on our double-teams."

Devanei Hampton helped the Bears take control of the game right out of the locker room, by scoring six of the eight points in Cal's opening 8-0 run. On the other side, ASU went cold to start the second half. The Devils missed their first four shots of the half and went four and a half minutes without scoring to open the second half. .

"We struggled to score in the second half and California did a great job of coming out and establishing its inside game a little more effectively. We got away from a few of the things we wanted to do defensively and that led to our demise," said Turner Thorne, "But I'm really proud of my team. We've continued to get better throughout the season."

"Both California and Arizona State are teams that are on a mission to do great things in the NCAA Tournament and I give them credit for doing a great job of steeping up making big plays."

Cal would extend its lead to 59-43 before ASU would fight back with one last ditched effort. Dymond Simon, who led ASU with 22 points, hit a three-pointer that cut the Cal lead to 63-59 with 27.5 seconds left. After Cal hit one of two free throws, Simon would score again to cut it to 64-61, but that is as close ASU would get. A wild three by Reagan Pariseau and another by Jill Noe would fall short and the Devils fell 65-61.

Cal Head Coach Joanne Boyle saw it just as another typical March game.

"It was one of those hard fought games that you play in March, and we've had two of them back-to-back and we've been fortunate enough to come out on top," said Boyle.

The season isn't over for the Sun Devils, as their 21-10 record should be good enough to secure them an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. ASU will find out their fate a week from Monday. Assuming they are selected into the field of 65, ASU will have to improve their offense, especially from the posts. A day after combining for 29 points, Lauren Lacey and Sybil Dosty had just five points between them.

"What we're going to focus on heading into the NCAA Tournament is our offense. When we're disciplined with our offense and we get our ball reversals, it helps our defense," said Turner Thorne, "When we take quick shots and don't reverse the ball it effects us at the other end and we fell into that a little today, not a lot, but enough to where we had collapses at both ends."

Wherever they end up, Turner Thorne likes her team's chances.

"I'm excited for our team because there's no style we haven't seen this year. If you look at our strength of schedule; we've played seven top-10 teams in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Cal three times and Stanford twice. We're excited for the challenge and if we can just make a few adjustments and do a few more things more consistently we are right there [with those teams]."

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