Washington has 6 seniors, and they're playing for their lives," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "They're playing like this is the end of their season. They played like they wanted it more than we did down the stretch. I felt that in the first half we were more in tune, but then we did not take anything away from them. We let them do what they wanted."
This is an exciting win for our program," said Washington head coach June Daugherty. "I thought our experience really showed. We just went back to our strengths, defense off offensive rebounding. California is an amazing team, and we just feel really good about getting one in overtime, especially on the road. This is a great boost for us."
This might be the turning point in our season," said Andrea Plouffe. "We got our swagger back today."
Ashley Walker started the game with great intensity, as if determined to make up for her poor performance against Stanford. She scored the Bears' first 6 points in the first 2 minutes. Her aggression fired up the Bears, but it also caused her to be called for two offensive fouls. She went to the bench at the 14:34 mark.
|AP Photo/George Nikitin
Rama N'diaye driving
Rama N'diaye replaced Walker and continued her energy, immediately grabbing a loose ball and hitting lay-up. Devanei Hampton then took over on the boards, out battling the Huskies. Hampton collected 10 rebounds in the first half. When Natasha Vital found Keanna Levy flying along the baseline for a lay-in, the Bears had stretched their lead to 19-7.
Only Cameo Hicks kept the game from becoming an early blowout. Hicks scored the first 11 points for UW. She shot 4 for 4, while the rest of the Huskies were a frigid 4 of 29 in the first half.
N'diaye soon picked up her third foul, two of which on offense. Walker re-entered the game long enough to assist Hampton on a high-low. Krista Foster then provided the Bears a lift as she grabbed three tough boards in her four minutes. She also hit a last second basket to give the Bears their largest first-half lead at 36-22.
The Bears continued to build their lead in the second half. Consecutive three-point baskets by Levy and Greif gave the Bears a 52-33 bulge at the 14:30 mark. In response, Washington put on a full court press, denying Vital the ball. The pressure wore on the Bears, and their lead dwindled as the Huskies began to beat them down the floor. Washington had 14 fast break points to only 2 for the Bears.
The Bears lead was still at 16 (59-43) with 8:31 left. Washington then began to reel the Bears in, shutting down Cal's offense by shutting down the high post. On the other end, Washington began hitting their shots. Hicks continued to lead the charge, but Andrea Plouffe also made her presence felt, hitting lay-ups on a variety of quick spin moves.
With just under 3 minutes left, Plouffe hit a three-pointer to bring the Huskies within 3 (68-65), and when Emily Florence hit another 3 a minute later, Washington had come back to tie the game at 68 all.
Walker hit a short jumper in the paint to give Cal back the lead, but Florence answered with a 10-footer of her own.
|AP Photo/George Nikitin
Keanna Levy on defense
With under a minute left, Vital drove hard to the basket and was fouled. She made one of 2 free-throws (71-70). On the other end, Cal played tough defense for 24 seconds, and Washington's Breanne Watson missed her baseline jumper. But Plouffe was there for the rebound and putback (71-72). The Huskies had dominated the boards in the second half, grabbing 23 rebounds; ten of those were on the offensive end. For the game, Washington scored 19 second-chance points.
Walker then got fouled on lay-up attempt. She calmly sank the first free throw to tie the game at 72-all. Huskies called a time-out. Walker then missed the back end, and Washington rushed down the court. Hicks had the game in her hands, but the Bears converged to take ball away.
In overtime, the Huskies continued to be the aggressors, out-rebounding the Bears. They ran to a 78-74 lead on a Plouffe jumper. Hampton then missed two free throws. However, when Hampton hit a lay-up in the paint with under a minute to play, the Bears had closed to within one possession (79-76). When N'diaye stole the ball from Dominique Banks, the Bears had one final glimmer of hope. However, their offense broke down, and Ashley Walker missed the three-point attempt with six seconds left. Cameo Hicks grabbed the rebound to end the game.
For the game, the Bears made only 12 of 26 free throws (46.2%).
Cal looks to rebound against the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, January 10. Tip off is at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.
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