Bears Fall to ASU, 67-52

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By Viet Nguyen, Staff Writer
Posted Jan 16, 2015
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2015 BearInsider.com


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California stayed with No. 14/17 Arizona State for three-quarters of the game, but ultimately, the Golden Bears  could not sustain their focus  and were outplayed down the stretch, falling 67-52.

The two teams staged a seesaw affair for most of the game, and Cal had closed to within two with just over ten minutes left. From that juncture, however, No. 14/17 Arizona State proved itself the better team, outplaying Cal in every aspect of the game.

 

“I’m disappointed in the outcome, I’m disappointed in our team, but I would say absolute credit and hats off to Arizona State,” said Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb.  “If Charli Turner Thorne is not in the conversation for national coach of the year right now, then I don’t know who should be.  They have a lot of players who may not have been recruited by every team in the country, but they can play with and beat just about any team in the country because of the way they play.  I think that they are doing a tremendous job.  Charlie told me before the game that they are playing with a lot of confidence and I think that showed tonight.  And they were the better team tonight.”

Gottlieb then went on to call out her team:  “I think that when you are playing a team that is that tough, I don’t think that we had the requisite mental toughness. I don’t think that we had the requisite resolve. I think that we made some plays, we had our opportunities, we missed some close looks that we normally make, at a crucial time.  But overall to beat a team like that you have to be mentally and physically locked in for forty minutes, and we were mentally and physically locked in for some of the time, not all of the time.  I think that there is a lot of conference left to really get back to doing the things that are really going to allow us to win basketball games every day and then let our talent shine versus trying to rely on our talent.  That is what our focus is going to be now for quite a while. “

Promise Amukamara scored 20 and Quinn Dornstauder contributed 13 points. Kelsey Moos had 10 point and nine rebounds as grabbed eight rebounds as the Sun Devils outworked Cal on the glass 34-23.

For the Bears, Reshanda Gray had 17 points, but her effectively was hampered by foul trouble. She played 20 minutes and had only tow rebounds.

“I take full responsibility,” said Gray. “It has to kick in and I have to stop committing stupid fouls. My team definitely needs me on the floor. So for me, I have to play smarter and be smarter while I’m on the court.”

Gabby Green scored 13 for Cal on the strength of a three of six performance from beyond the arc. However, the rest of the Bears were 0 for 8 from three, while ASU hit 7 of 13 from distance.

The game also marked the return of Cal forward Courtney Range; Range had been out since early December with a knee injury.  Range scored one basket and grabbed four boards in 18 minutes of action.

In a back and forth first half, Cal played with speed and intensity but ASU managed to find the hot players to stay one step ahead.

Elisha Davis, who was Brittany Boyd’s teammate at Berkeley High, hit a jumper in the lane with the shot clock winding down to open the scoring. Boyd responded with her own pull-up.

Rehanda Gray’s three-point play gave Cal its first lead, but ASU quickly closed to within one, 7-6.

The Bears were determined to push the ball at every opportunity, preventing ASU from setting up their vaunted defense. The strategy paid off, as Cal surged ahead with a 7-0 run. Mercedes Jefflo hit her first bucket of the game, driving along the baseline. Gabby Green splashed in a three. Range scored inside, extending Cal’s lead to 14-6.

Promise Amukamara had her own 7-0 run, and suddenly the Sun Devils were back within 14-13.

Gottlieb decided to let her team play on, and the Bears responded, attacking inside and getting baskets from Penina Davidson and Gray. 18-13.

After an ASU time-out, the Sun Devils missed a three, and Gabby Green hit hers from the corner, 21-13.

Then it was Quinn Dornstauder’s turn to take over the game. The bench player started off hitting two free throws, in the process sending Reshanda Gray to the bench with her second foul, with 9:52 left before the break.

Cal had no one to match up with Dornstauder, and she proceeded to score at will, notching 11 points in a row and pulling ASU ahead 26-25.

Elisha Davis broke Dornstauder’s streak with a free-throw, and Mikayla Cowling responded, breaking into the scoring column with a strong drive, tying the game at 27.

Promise Amukamara hit a jumper to edge ASU ahead, 29-27.

Cal’s defense forced three consecutive turnovers, including a shot-clock violation, but the Bears could not take advantage on the other end, managing only a Boyd free-throw in nearly four minutes.

Amukamara scored off the inbound play to give ASU the 31-28 halftime lead.

For the half, Amukamara and Dornstauder each had 11.

Gray started the second half much like the first, converting a three-point play, tying the game at 31. Cal pushed the ball, with Boyd finding a trailing Cowling, and the Bears had the lead, 33-31.

Katie Hempen, who was also saddled with two fouls in the first stanza, hit a corner three to regain the lead for ASU, one the Sun Devils would never relinquish.

Gray was whistled for her third foul two minutes into the half, and without her, the Bears again seemed to lose focus, missing easy shots.

Kelsey Moos hit a lay-up and a three and ASU again was ahead, 39-37. Elisha Davis extended the lead with two free-throws.

Cal missed three attempts from distance, and Gottlieb re-inserted Gray into the game.

Amukamara again and again found an open lane, and Cal was down 45-37 with just over 13 minutes to play, looking lost on offense.

Gabby Green bailed out the Bears with a corner three, but Moos matched her with a second-chance triple, as ASU continued to dominate Cal on the glass. 

With 11:20 to play, on another ASU miss, Cal failed to box out, and Amukamara skied high for another rebound. To make matters worse, Gray committed her fourth foul on the play.

Without Gray inside, the Bears resorted to their individual athleticism, with Cowling and Boyd scoring inside to pull within a basket, 48-46, with 10 minutes to go.

After an ASU time-out, ASU again pulled away, this time from distance. Amukamara calmly sank a three, and Dornstauder hit inside. Peace Amukamara banked in a three, and Hempen followed with another, and ASU had the 59-49 lead with 7:12 to play.

Cal repeatedly went to Gray inside, and she responded with five points. But that would not be enough, as ASU continued to score on the other end. Promise Amakumara put an exclamation point to her stellar evening, hitting a drive with Boyd glued to her side, and ASU turned a close game into a blowout.

With the loss, Cal falls to 11-5 (3-2 in the Pac-12), while ASU is 16-1 (5-0). 

“This conference is too good. You can’t let Promise go left when she’s a lefty. Can’t let [Moos] get an open look from the outside when we know she has three point range this year. Can’t not stay locked in all the time. This team is the perfect example  of punishing you with effort and intensity if you’re not where you’re supposed to be or do what you’re supposed to do. It’s a lesson for us. We have incredible talent  and athleticism, but we need to add to that, and be the team that is playing the toughest and the hardest and with attention to detail.”

 

 

 

 

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