Bears Lose Heartbreaker to No. 14 Kentucky, 63-61

December 21, 2019
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The California Golden Bears tied the game in the final seconds but could not overcome No. 14 Kentucky, losing 63-61.

Cal held Kentucky to 35.5% shooting, but could not stop star Rhyne Howard, who exploded in the second half, when she scored 25 of her 29 points, including the game winner.

Jaelyn Brown played all 40 minutes while scoring 18 points and grabbing seven rebounds for Cal. The Bears outrebounded Kentucky 42-36, but was plagued by 22 turnovers and subpar free-throw shooting (missed 10 of 25).

“Obviously we’re disappointed to not come away with a win,” said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. “We dug ourselves holes throughout the game, not being able to knock down shots and not being able to take care of the ball. But I was really proud of our fight, to be able to battle back and have the chance to win the game.”

Cal was down by 11 halfway through the fourth, but the Bears then hit six of eight shots to pull even.

All nine Cal players who played scored, with freshmen Leilani McIntosh (9 points) and Jazlen Green (8, with two timely threes down the stretch) making strong contributions. CJ West came back from a game out (illness) with six points and seven boards. 

Cal’s seven-game winning streak came to an end. The Bears (7-3) also suffered their first home loss of the season. Kentucky improved to 11-1.

 

 

Both teams seemed to battle some nerves early, rushing shots and committing turnovers. Jaelyn Brown finally found CJ West underneath, and the senior scored the game’s first points.

Kentucky came right back by attacking the offensive glass, converting two consecutive second-chance baskets for the lead. Leilani McIntosh hit a runner to tie the game at four.

Both teams continued the offensive futility, putting up matching two for ten shooting from the floor for the first five minutes of the game.

After committing only four turnovers in their last game, the Bears committed five in the first six minutes, with their passes repeatedly picked off by Kentucky’s relentless pressure.

Two consecutive threes, including one from Chasity Patterson, a transfer from Texas playing her first game for Kentucky, gave the Wildcats the 12-4 lead.

Jaelyn Brown helped the Bears keep pace with four quick points.

McIntosh showed off some defense and quickness of her own, creating a turnover on one end and barreling towards the basket on the other, forcing her defender to foul her. She knocked down both free-throws, and the Bears ended the first period down 12-10.

Evelien Lutje Schipholt scored on Cal’s first possession of the second, tying the game.

Both teams continued to struggle on offense, particularly in the half court, and relied on their defense to generate offense.

Kentucky renewed their attack on the glass, earning multiple possessions and forcing the Bears into fouling.

But the Wildcats had foul trouble of their own, with  Howard picking up her second and going to the bench at the 4:33 mark.

Two Patterson baskets and a score by Tatyana Wyatt stretched the Kentucky lead to 22-16.

Then it was the Bears’ turn to grab momentum.

Chen Yue, who gave Cal much-needed minutes by slowing Kentucky with her solid perimeter defense, scored on a decisive drive from the elbow.

Cal played good help defense, forcing a turnover, and on the other end, Brown found a mismatch, hitting a short jumper over her smaller defender, pulling Cal within 22-20 and forcing a Wildcat timeout.

Howard returned for Kentucky’s final possession, but Brown cut off her drive, forcing her into a wild shot. Alayshia Styles secured the rebound and found a streaking Sara Anastasieska on the other end for a breakaway lay-up, tying the game at 22 at the buzzer.

Brown led Cal at the half with eight points. Patterson had seven for Kentucky, while Howard had four points (making one of 10 shots from the floor).

The game became a foul-fest at the start of the third. 

Consecutive Cal turnovers allowed Kentucky some breathing room. Howard hit her patented step-back three, and the Wildcats had the 32-26 lead.

Things got worse for the Bears, as McIntosh picked up her fourth foul, and the Bears’ best ball-handler went to the bench halfway through the third.

Howard herself then took a seat with her third foul. But Blair Green hit a corner three, stretching the Kentucky lead to 36-27.

Kentucky harassed Cal ballhandlers into multiple turnovers, but lucky for the Bears, the Wildcats then turned it back over with offensive fouls. But the Bears could not take advantage from the line, missing four of six.  

Two free throws from Sabrina Haines gave Kentucky its first double-digit lead.

Even when Cal managed to break the press, the offense bogged down, forcing Smith to burn a timeout.

Brown scored inside off a lob from Jazlen Green, then added two free throws to help Cal keep contact.

Cailyn Crocker sank a three from the top of the circle, pulling Cal within 42-35. Anastasieska scored off the out of bounds play, and Cal closed the third down 42-37.

Kentucky isolated Howard on offense and she scored five quick points for the Wildcats. 

Cal’s own star player--Brown--responded with a couple of buckets of her own. 

But there was no answer for Howard. Even when she missed, she tracked down her own rebound and put it back in. Howard’s 13 points in a row gave her team the 55-44 edge.

“She got some easy looks that got her going,” said Smith. “She’s a special player. She made a lot of perimeter jumpers, which is what we wanted. I still feel good about our effort.”

Cal clawed back within two possessions on a Styles jumper and a three by Green.

Howard scored again, this time on a short jumper. 

McIntosh responded with a drive and potential three-point play. But she missed the free-throw--Cal’s eighth miss from the line of the game. 

West’s putback narrowed the game to 57-53. 

But again Howard came through, with two free-throws.

Brown matched her with two of her own, and with 1:22 to play, Cal was down 59-55.

Bears began to foul to stretch the game, and Jaida Roper made them pay, hitting both from the line. But the gambit paid off for the Bears, as Green knocked down a three on the other end, pulling Cal within one possession with one minute left.

“The ball could have went to anyone, but when it comes to me, I just know that I’m here for a reason,” said Green. “I’m here to knock down the shot.”

The Bears held strong on defense, and Styles grabbed the rebound and called time, advancing the ball with 36 seconds to play. The Bears, playing under first-year head coach Smith, have shown a knack for staying focused and making the right plays at end of games so far this season.

“We work on that in practice pretty often,” said CJ West. “Charmin would give us a scenario, and we have to know how many fouls we have, how many timeouts we have, how much time there is on the clock, on the shot clock, who has this many fouls and can’t foul... So I think we’ve just learned how to communicate really well with each other in those types of situations specifically, and that gives us an edge.”

With Cal down 61-58 and needing a three to tie, the Bears sent Green to come off a screen. But the frosh was tripped, earning the trip to the line. Green missed the second, but the Bears harassed Kentucky into a scramble and the resulting held ball showed possession to Cal. 

Suddenly, the Bears had 17 seconds to tie or win the game. After a timeout, Brown found CJ West open underneath. The senior finished through the foul, tying the game at 61, setting off a big celebration, with her teammates mobbing her.

“Before, I tried to stay pretty composed,” said West. “But with this type of team that we have, it’s so easy to have really exciting energy. It makes it so much to give it your all, all of your effort. At the moment, I was so excited, because win or lose, everyone left everything on the floor.”

“It feels good to know that we can execute in crucial moments,” said Smith. 

West was unable to hit the free-throw, and Kentucky set up for the their last opportunity, with nine seconds left.

The Wildcats went to Howard, and the star found enough space to hit a jumper with just over three seconds to go.

With no time out left, Brown pushed the ball upcourt and heaved up a three, which was just strong, hitting the backboard and rolling off the front rim, and the Bears fell just short.

“We’re fighters,” said Smith. ”This a game where things weren’t going our way, and it would have been easy to fold. So I was proud of our fight. I learned that we’re a pretty good defensive team as well. Howard had a day, but we were able to contain everyone else pretty much. So I’m really proud of our defense. It’s good to have the gauge against the top 20 teams. So we were looking forward to  this.”

“I think we are a really smart team. Obviously we made some turnovers and some mistakes, but down the stretch, to be able to execute and know, things where they’re thinking the game, that’s going to help us down the road, because we did handle special situations really well down the stretch.”

Cal has one more contest before the start of the Pac-12 season. The Bears will face Grand Canyon on December 29, at 7pm.

“I’m looking forward to playing to the best of our ability against GCU,” said Smith. “We just have to keep getting better. I want to finish this non-conference schedule on a high note.”

“Preseason poll, we were ranked 11th,” said Green, referring to where the Bears were picked to finish by the Pac-12 coaches. “How our preseason went so far shows that we’re higher than that.”

“For us, it’s more a personal thing, than trying to prove things to other people,” said West. “We have to realize what we’re capable of. So Arkansas, UConn, today, realizing how elite we can be, is not shocking, but like, we have to stay like this all the time. We have to do what we need to do to stay there all the time.”

 

Tags: WBB
Discussion from...

Bears Lose Heartbreaker to No. 14 Kentucky, 63-61

3,199 Views | 13 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by Ashfield63
wvitbear
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Viet, do you know why Styles was wearing sweats and a hoodie during warmups. Last game she didn't play in the 4th quarter and had her sweat shirt on at the end of the game. Also, what is that wrap on her leg?
wvitbear
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By the way, Stykles was probably down because of the last defensive sequence. Brown was covering their scorer but got rubbed off on a switch and Styles defended her. She gave her too much room and she hit the shot. should have made her go left. Should have double led on her and make someone else beat us. But that was Charmin's fault, not Styles.
wvitbear
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By the way, spoke to the Kentucky staff after the game. Saw Niya Butts, the former Arizona coach. I have some Kentucky roots as my mother was from Georgetown Kentucky. Plus my father graduated from University of Louisville. And I had a cousin who was the baseball cosh there.
BearBint
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Viet, thanks for your customary thorough, perceptive report. I sat near some family of #15 Chasity Patterson. They were happy for the Wildcats, but courteous about expressing it, and pleased when I complimented their team.
Ashfield63
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During the Press Conference Charmin talked about guarding #10, and the switch. Did we not have a time out left when Kentucky scored with I think 3 seconds left so we could inbound a half court and set up a play. Of course inbounding the ball isn't easy with Kentucky's defense. Charmin takes responsibilty for her shortcomings. She was very serious at the start of the press conference. C.J. and Jazzy responded well to questions after Charmin pointed out that they both scored on set plays. C.J. smiled talking about how the team plays for one another and their coach. Charmin stressed the positives about the game, and is focused on winning the last non-conference game before the start of Pac-12 play. I feel for Bird who unsuccessfully guarded the best player for Kentucky with seconds left to the game. The NCAA championship game is won by one basket as we have seen. The Bears will probably be in many close games during the Pac-12 season, and hopefully win their share of them.
GGV
Finnish Oski
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Quote:

Did we not have a time out left when Kentucky scored with I think 3 seconds
Nope, we were out of timeouts.
Ashfield63
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Finnish Oski said:

Quote:

Did we not have a time out left when Kentucky scored with I think 3 seconds
Nope, we were out of timeouts.
Thank you......
GGV
smh
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viet wrote > With no time out left, Brown pushed the ball upcourt and heaved up a three, which was just strong, hitting the backboard and rolling off the front rim, and the Bears fell just short.

after the buzzer coach hurried out on the court trying to convince refs Brown was fouled on the 3pt prayer, as one does, but no sale.

too bad, absent coverage / video, fans couldn't review the moot question neither.

muting ~60 handles as of june 2020, turnaround is fair play
go bears lets beat the covids; fascists suck BigTime (tnx blue)
i forget the rest of the rest
bearchamp
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Aren't we all very pleased that Coach Smith is at the helm. The team, despite some shortcomings, is playing better basketball than Cal has played in decades. Congratulations to Coach Smith and Cal WBB.
R90
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bearchamp said:

Aren't we all very pleased that Coach Smith is at the helm. The team, despite some shortcomings, is playing better basketball than Cal has played in decades. Congratulations to Coach Smith and Cal WBB.
Yes definitely, and I was also very pleased when Lindsay Gottlieb and Joanne Boyle were at the helm.

All three have given us much to enjoy with Cal Women's Basketball, bringing different strengths (and weaknesses) to the table.
It's all just entertainment, so find a way to enjoy it.
The refs are there to feed your hatred addiction and keep the games close.
BearBint
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bearchamp said:

Aren't we all very pleased that Coach Smith is at the helm. The team, despite some shortcomings, is playing better basketball than Cal has played in decades. Congratulations to Coach Smith and Cal WBB.
Well...I don't know about decades; the 2012-13 team was pretty fine. But I am encouraged and often delighted by our current line-up (and by Coach Charmin).
pearbear
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Staff
smh said:

viet wrote > With no time out left, Brown pushed the ball upcourt and heaved up a three, which was just strong, hitting the backboard and rolling off the front rim, and the Bears fell just short.

after the buzzer coach hurried out on the court trying to convince refs Brown was fouled on the 3pt prayer, as one does, but no sale.

too bad, absent coverage / video, fans couldn't review the moot question neither.



I think everyone except those on the visiting bench thought there was a foul. ;-)

For what it's worth, later that evening I ran into Jaelyn and a couple other players, and they all thought she was fouled.



Ashfield63
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Refs do not call fouls at the end of a game. After a no call they always run to the exits! It certainly is unfair, and the NCAA should not allow this to happen. There was no question that Jaelyn shot the ball with time left on the clock. It was a terrific play, and well executed!! Charmin is right there every second of the game with the players, and keeping the Refs on their toes!!!
GGV
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