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Bears Win Home Opener over UC Riverside, 84-61

November 17, 2019
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The California Golden Bears dominated the second half of their home opener, running away from UC Riverside, 84-61. After being tied 36-all at the half, Cal dominated every aspect of the game to notch their first win of the young season.

Sara Anastasieska had 17 points to lead the Bears. Leilani McIntosh (15), CJ West (12), and Jaelyn Borwn (10) joined her in double-figures. West contributed nine rebounds, and McIntosh had five assists and four steal, all game highs.

UC Riverside was led by Jannon Otto’s 24 points and seven rebounds. 

Cal hit nine threes (43%) and 19 of 21 free-throws (90.5%). The Bears also outrebounded UC Riverside 45 to 37, and held the Highlanders to 31% from the field.

But in the second half UC Riverside only managed to hit 14% (eight of 35), while Cal improved its execution, hitting 54%. 

“I thought we were very sloppy in the first half, and we had really poor shot selection,” said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. “I articulated that in the locker room at halftime, and the group agreed that we weren’t playing up to our potential, and they wanted to make a statement in the second half and show who we are as a team.”

Cal ended the game with 13 turnovers.

After dropping both contests on the road to open the season, including a 72-61 loss to UConn, the Bears were hungry to show their fans what this team is about.

“Obviously UConn is a very good team, and we did play very well against them,” said Anastasieska. “But we feel it wasn’t our best game, so we have a lot more to show.” 

In the second half, the Bears showed a glimpse of what this team could do.

Cal moves to 1-2, while UC Riverside falls to 1-4.

 

Leilani McIntosh and Sara Anastasieska took turns carrying the Cal offense to open the game, each hitting a three and a layup as the Bears edged ahead 10-8.

The Highlanders used their length in crashing the offensive glass. In one sequence UC Riverside pulled down four consecutive boards, finally cashing in on a nifty back door cut.

But Cal responded in kind, with Evelien Lutje Schipholt grabbing a missed McIntosh three and then returning the ball to her fellow frosh. McIntosh made good on her second chance,  and her corner trey gave Cal the 15-10 lead.

CJ West came off the bench and quickly scored twice inside, and the Bears tightened up the defense at the end of the first period, with Schipholt swatting a shot and then the Bears creating a turnover by denying the inbound. 

Cal opened the second period with aggression on defense, trapping and flustering the Highlanders into rushed shots.

West went to the line and missed her second free-throw, but Jaelyn Brown grabbed the rebound and then knocked down a three. Two free throws by Cailyn Crocker earned the Bears their first double-digit lead, 25-14, at the 8:30 mark.  

But Cal then committed a flurry of fouls and turnovers, and UC Riverside edged back into the game. The Highlanders got hot from the field, hitting six of seven shots, including three baskets by Jannon Otto. A three by Lauryn Pointer drew the Highlanders within two, and Pointer’s two free throws with 13 seconds left before halftime tied the game at 36.

“Riverside was a really good team,” said Anastasieska. “They matched us in the first half, and then we talked about the things we need to improve on, and we did that.”

“That first half, I don’t want to see that again,” said Smith. “We’re much better than that, and we have to lock in on being focused and ready to go for 40 minutes. We had an 11-point lead and then we lost our focus and got sloppy.”

Cal opened the third quarter finding immediate success inside for a 6-0 run, with two scores by West and a drive by Brown leading to two free throws.

UC Riverside also played to their strength, crashing the glass and forcing multiple fouls on the Bears. But the reason that there were so many rebounds available: UC Riverside went cold from the field, missing 13 shots in a row.

“I thought we were much more locked in,” said Smith. “We wanted to force them to take the poor shots and keep our player in front. We had better help when they were trying to post up some of our smaller players. And honestly, when you pick up your energy level and when you commit to playing your best, then it’s natural that you get more stops, and the other team has to deal with their frustration. And that’s what we wanted.”

Otto finally hit a jumper from the baseline (after two offensive rebounds) at the 3-minute mark, but by then, Cal had rebuilt its 10-point lead. 

An Anastasieska three and a three-point play by Schipholt stretched the lead, and when Chen Yue put in her own miss, the Bears held a 55-40 lead, with 1:30 left in the third.

Pointer again closed the quarter with a three for the Highlanders to close within 57-45.

Alayshia Styles, who sat out much of the third with foul trouble, then put her imprint on the game. The junior stole the ball on the first possession in the fourth, and the Bears turned it into a basket by Jazlen Green. After another Anastasieska basket, Styles drove and earned two free-throws. She then found Brown at the end of the shot clock, and Brown’s three seemed to take the fight out of UC Riverside.

Cal continued the onslaught, with a McIntosh three extending the lead, and a nifty spin move baby hook by Styles got Cal its biggest lead of the game, 75-49, halfway through the fourth.

Sierra Richey hit a three to close out Cal’s scoring and wrap up the win.

“It’s good to get the first win,“ said Charmin Smith, who earned her first victory as Cal’s head coach. “I’m just really happy and excited that this first season for me as a head coach is with this group, because they couldn’t be a better group of people, and it just feels really good every day. I’m just really grateful that I get to share this experience with them.”

Cal now heads to San Diego to take on San Diego State (11/21, 6:30pm). Smith looks 

“What I’ve asked of this team is that we perform at a consistent level and to the best of our ability,” said Smith. “I think that gives us the best chance for success.”

 

 

Tags: WBB
Discussion from...

Bears Win Home Opener over UC Riverside, 84-61

2,607 Views | 8 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by wvitbear
UrsineMaximus
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Congrats to Coach Smith on her first victory as a head coach!!
CalFanatic
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I LOVE watching Sara A. in action. Wow we could've really used her these last few years.
OBear073akaSMFan
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CalFanatic said:

I LOVE watching Sara A. in action. Wow we could've really used her these last few years.
True! Amazing how she went from 'pathetic' to possibly one of the better players on the team. Love them Aussies who love to play with passion.
wvitbear
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One of the hard things to evaluate what is happening now is that Charmin is not necessarily playing for the score. I feel is that she is evaluating things. The first half yesterday, the subs played a lot and they were disorganized. But I think she wanted to see how they would react.

Green threw up some wild shots but played a lot so I assume Charmin likes what she sees in practice. Same with Sara when she had a rough first game.

I'm not as worried about Brown as some are as Charmin hasn't run a lot of plays for her, and I think she already know what she can do. Same with West. But she has to find out what Chen Yue can do as a back up center. And i think she wants to know what Styles will do. I think Styles will be a pleasant surprise this year.

One of the things you can't see on TV is how well they shoot and what their from looks like. You get this by arriving at the game early. Get to watch them launch lots of shots.

So far they have played man to man in every game or practice that I watched. The only zone was the last two minutes of games they won handily when the walk-ons were playing.

We were a good outside shooting team the last few years which some people refuse to acknowledge. We shot 180 more three pointers last year than the year before. And we were third in the Pac12 in three point % two years ago.

What we have lessened in was defense. We didn't play man to man well last year. Our guards lacked foot speed and some of our subs were slow. Cowling was our best defender in the 2017-2018 team and when she left we became worse. But we shot better.

Now we are figuring out who shoots eel and who doesn't, I always thought Styles shot well in practice. And she seems to have increased her range. My biggest question is what about Green. Would like to see her shoot.
SFCALBear72
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wvitbear said:

One of the hard things to evaluate what is happening now is that Charmin is not necessarily playing for the score. I feel is that she is evaluating things. The first half yesterday, the subs played a lot and they were disorganized. But I think she wanted to see how they would react.

Green threw up some wild shots but played a lot so I assume Charmin likes what she sees in practice. Same with Sara when she had a rough first game.

I'm not as worried about Brown as some are as Charmin hasn't run a lot of plays for her, and I think she already know what she can do. Same with West. But she has to find out what Chen Yue can do as a back up center. And i think she wants to know what Styles will do. I think Styles will be a pleasant surprise this year.

One of the things you can't see on TV is how well they shoot and what their from looks like. You get this by arriving at the game early. Get to watch them launch lots of shots.

So far they have played man to man in every game or practice that I watched. The only zone was the last two minutes of games they won handily when the walk-ons were playing.

We were a good outside shooting team the last few years which some people refuse to acknowledge. We shot 180 more three pointers last year than the year before. And we were third in the Pac12 in three point % two years ago.

What we have lessened in was defense. We didn't play man to man well last year. Our guards lacked foot speed and some of our subs were slow. Cowling was our best defender in the 2017-2018 team and when she left we became worse. But we shot better.

Now we are figuring out who shoots eel and who doesn't, I always thought Styles shot well in practice. And she seems to have increased her range. My biggest question is what about Green. Would like to see her shoot.
+1

Green played against Beijing but then was out for two weeks because of the concussion protocol. She's a bit behind the others. Jazlen was a big-time scorer in high school, so that's what I'm hoping she does as the season progresses.
wvitbear
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I didn't go to Stanford game. To me points in high school don't mean much if you play in a weak conference. Many years ago, the men got a guy who led the state in scoring and did nothing for us. This doesn't mean I am forming a negative opinion about Green, its just that I expect her to succeed but my struggle at first.
UrsineMaximus
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wvitbear, where are you from? I'm asking on behalf of a friend.
wvitbear
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West Virginia. The undergraduate school I went to West Virginia Tech whose mascot was also the Golden Bear. Ergo Wvitbear.
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