"After the last game, we just wanted to come out and have a great effort to put that loss [to Washington] behind us," said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle. "We wanted to get back on track, and I thought we did that today. In particular, we really focused on defense, and I thought we did a great job there."
Walker and Hampton each collected a double double with 13 and 10 rebounds respectively.
"Ashley's been carrying us in the post for a long time, and then she and Dev have been kind of going back and forth, and today they both had a great game," said Boyle of her unstoppable post combination. "You can always count on one of them. A lot of times they triple-team Dev and Ash gets her stuff, and sometimes they say, 'You know what, we'll triple team Ash,' and Devanei will get hers."
Krista Foster joined the Bear double-figure scoring club with 10 points.
"It hurt us a lot of Thursday, and on Friday at practice, we were ready to play another game," said Krista Foster. "There was a sense of urgency going into the game, just defensively and rebounding."
Cal had out-boarded the Cougars 43-33 and held Washington State to 28.1% shooting (16 of 57). The 45 points scored was the lowest total allowed by the Bears this year.
"Our goals were to keep them under 50 points and 35%," said Boyle.
The Bears dominated from start to finish. They ran out to an early 11-4 lead and were never threatened in the game, preventing the Cougars from going on any kind of run, something Cal has struggled with all season.
|AP Photo/Dino Vournas
Devanei Hampton reacts after missing rebound
The Cougars stayed in the game by being patient on offense, with guards Katie Appleton and Colleen Bettenridge hitting long jumpers near the end of the shot clock. WSU was 4 of 8 on three-point attempts for the half.
"We talked about how (Washington State) would always get to the back end of their plays," said Boyle. "You know how Washington would shoot in the first 10 seconds, these guys would run 22 seconds off before they would get a shot off. So it was playing defense for 22 to 25 seconds on each possession. That was the emphasis."
Krista Foster made good use of her 23 minutes, twice being bailed out on last-second shot attempts. Foster was active inside and also did a good job defending Bettenridge. Foster hit a three pointer in the second half.
"When you get the opportunity to go in, you just have to play your heart out," said Foster. "I just felt that my teammates had my back. It was just fun, and I felt confident playing with the girls like we do every day in practice."
|AP Photo/Dino Vournas
"We love it when Krista shoots threes!" said Walker.
Foster also hit 5 of 7 free throws. The Bears hit 13 of 17 (76.5%) in the first half and 73.5% for the game, a far cry from their poor performance against Washington on Thursday.
"Basically, it came down to us taking our time and concentrating in practice," said Walker, who hit 9 of her 10 attempts. "We had to take it upon ourselves. Coach said that she wasn't going to yell and scream any more. We're not going to run for missing them. We just had to get up there and make them. And so a lot of us came in and started shooting them. I came in and shot them yesterday, and I shot them this morning. I know I was a good free-throw shooter in the past, and I had kind of dropped off. So I take it personally. It was just something we wanted to focus on, to do better. Free-throws can win games and also can lose games, and on Thursday, it hurt us."
The Bears kept pounding the ball inside in the second half; for the game, they tripled the Cougars' points in the paint (42 to 14). Cal won going away.
|AP Photo/Dino Vournas
Boyle again underlined the importance of the effort as a bounce-back from the loss to Washington.
"That's huge," said Boyle. "I told them in the locker room that this was one of their best defensive efforts. We never quit. In general, it was a great team defensive game."
Boyle allowed herself a glimpse ahead. "We're 19 and 6, and we're fortunate enough to be in the driver's seat with our season. We're not looking around at somebody having to lose for us to (achieve our goals) ... Not many teams get to be in the driver's seat. When you've worked so hard all season to put yourself in the driver's seat, it's great to come off of a blip like the Washington game and say, 'That's not who we are.' We play a game like this and we have four games left, and we'll take them one at a time and determine where we'll go in March. That's a great feeling to have as a coach and as a team."
Notes and Quotes
- Walker went down at the 8:50 mark in the second half and left the game
holding her left arm. She returned 4 minutes later. "Dev and me just
bumped arms, so it's just a bit of a dead elbow," said Walker. "I'll
get treatment, and I'll be alright."
- With the big lead in the second half, the Bears were able to play more
of their bench, and every available player got into the game. "You
don't get many opportunities like that, in particular for the kids
who don't play a lot," said Boyle. "For Shantrell
[Sneed] and Em [Geraedts], and then even Natalie [Nurnberg] and Jules [Numair],
to get everyone in was very nice. I felt they were all very composed, and
they did a really good job down the stretch. I think their reps in practice
really prepared them, and that's all you can hope for."
- Although it did not show in the scoring column, Cal's guards contributed
to the victory. Freshman Lauren Greif scored 6 points to go with her
8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block. Next week's trip to Oregon will
Greif's first return to her home state as a Bear – she led the
state in scoring in the 2005-06 season.
- Natasha Vital followed up her career-high 9 assists against Washington
with another strong floor game. She collected 5 assists, including a jaw-dropping
hesitation crossover drive and dish to a trailing Hampton for a lay-up. "I
don't think I've seen many point-guards who can set up a post
better than her off of a fast break," said Boyle. "I think she
was upset at Dev a little bit for blowing some shots. She said that Dev was
just padding her rebounding stats. And it's true, Dev does look like
she's apologizing and saying 'My bad,' but I'm not
sure she means it [laughs]. But Tasha is doing great. As the point guard,
she's playing end line to end line, and she's handling pressure,
and she's playing 40 minutes, and she's on their best offensive
guard. So when she gets really tired is when she loses her mind a little
bit. But those are really short stretches, so that kind of maturity for a
freshman, I think she's carried us from that position."
- Hampton continued her strong play. "I think she's peaking at
the right time," said Boyle. "I think the number of reps and
the game minutes have gotten her in condition. I also think that she's
not taking as many bad shots as she did last year, with the fade-away jumper.
She'll take one, and then she won't take another, and that's
the growth from last year."
- With the win, the Bears surpassed last year's win total.
- The attendance was 1,910, as many kids came out to celebrate Black Heritage Day.
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