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Cal Women's Basketball

Cal Battles Tough, Loses To No. 9 Notre Dame

November 13, 2022

ST. LOUIS – The Cal women’s basketball team overcame a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to cut the lead to just three points a few minutes into the fourth, before ultimately falling to No. 9 Notre Dame, 90-79, at the Enterprise Center on Saturday in the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic. Cal is now 0-3 all-time against the Fighting Irish with the previous two losses coming in the NCAA Tournament (2012 first round and 2007 second round).

“We’re really proud to be a part of this first game on NBC,” said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. “We’re disappointed we didn’t come away with the win. We believe we belong on this stage. I saw some good things that we can take away from this experience and build upon for the rest of the season.

Jayda Curry led all scorers with 24 points including four three-pointers. The output marked her ninth career game with at least 20 points and tied her career-high for three-pointers in a game. Mia Mastrov joined Curry in double-figures with 10 points off the bench, giving the Bears a 28-20 edge in bench points.

The Bears got down by double-figures early but Jadyn Bush provided a spark off the bench leading the team with five second quarter points to keep the halftime margin to single digits. With less than a minute left before halftime, Bush scored on an assist from Curry with an opportunity to get to the line. She hit the free throw to put the score at 46-37 going into the half. In the half, Curry went a perfect 3-for-3 from deep and kept her streak of consecutive regular season games with at least one three-pointer going at 24 games.

“Jadyn always gives us energy,” said Curry. “She’s that punch off the bench that we used and we needed. She battled in the post. She’s undersized but you would never know by how she plays.”

In the third quarter Peanut Tuitele gave the Bears a surge with six points on 3-for-4 shooting and had a huge block at the end of the quarter to keep the deficit at seven points going into the final frame. The Bears kept attacking and got to the line often, including Mastrov going 4-4 from the charity stripe.

In the fourth quarter, the Bears got started with back-to-back buckets by Karisma Ortiz and Claudia Langarita to cut the lead to just three. Notre Dame answered with three straight free throws before Curry added her fourth three-pointer of the game to once again bring the deficit to three with just over seven minutes left. The Fighting Irish then went on a 15-5 run to give them their biggest lead of the night at 13 with a little over two minutes to go to seal the victory. Overall, the Bears outshot Notre Dame from deep 9-6.

Notre Dame had a considerable disparity on free throws with 36 attempts compared to Cal’s 24 and took advantage converting them at 83.3 percent versus just 66.7 percent for the Bears. Cal did a good job on defense against the Fighting Irish with a 23-16 edge in turnovers, however the Bears were only able to convert them into 21 points while Notre Dame generated 24 points off of Cal’s turnovers.

Leilani McIntosh swiped four steals against the Fighting Irish giving her 10 games in her career with four or more steals.

“We came here to win,” Smith said. “We’re having a shift in this program where we’re winners. I know we didn’t win today but if we don’t start talking about it and acting like winners, it will never happen. We’re not encouraged that we played with the number nine team in the country. The goal was to beat the number nine team in the country. We’re disappointed but we also know this will make us better moving forward.”

Cal returns to Haas Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 16 to take on the Idaho Vandals. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.

Cal Battles Tough, Loses To No. 9 Notre Dame

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