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Cal Women's Basketball

Cal Survives Saint Mary’s 74-69

December 2, 2023
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BERKELEY – The California women’s basketball team withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally by Saint Mary’s (3-5) to earn a 74-69 win at Haas Pavilion Saturday afternoon and improve to 7-1 on the season. Cal had a 15-point lead with 4:01 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Gaels went on a 11-1 run the rest of the way to nearly complete the comeback.

For the third time this season, the Bears had four players score in double figures, led by Ila Lane who had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. Leilani McIntosh, Marta Suárez and Lulu-Laditan Twidale scored 13 points each. Kemery Martín had a career-high seven assists while McIntosh matched her season high with eight assists. For the third straight game, Twidale had a multiple 3-point effort with three from beyond the arc. As a team, Cal had season highs of 21 assists and 44 points in the paint.

“We talked to Ila and Michelle [Onyiah] about having that low block presence and how much it means for us not just now but moving forward,” Cal head coach Charmin Smith said. “I thought they both responded. Ila was phenomenal today. We needed to feed the posts and they really came through for us when we needed them. Jeff [Cammon] does a really good job with his defensive schemes and taking away some of the things we're used to on the perimeter, so I’m really proud of the way Ila stepped up in particular.”

In the first quarter, Cal got hot in the last five minutes hitting 10 straight field goals in that span to finish with a 81.3% clip from the field.  Twidale hit two 3-pointers during that stretch and a McIntosh layup with 41 seconds to go gave the Bears a 12-point lead going into the second.

The Gaels opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 30-23 before McKayla Williams found Lane for a layup to end the run. Another 6-0 run brought Saint Mary’s to within five points at the 2:54 mark before Leilani converted on a floater. Saint Mary’s outscored Cal 16-9 in the quarter to go into the half down just five points.

In the third quarter, Cal used an 8-0 run bookended by 3-pointers from Twidale and McIntosh to give the Bears a 50-37 lead at the 4:52 mark. The Bears held the Gaels to a six-minute stretch without a field goal, but Saint Mary’s was able to convert on its last two possessions to go into the final quarter down 10 points.

The Bears were able to get their biggest lead of the game at the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter when McIntosh found Lane in the paint for a layup to give Cal a 15-point lead. After Martín scored on a fastbreak layup to maintain the 15-point lead with four minutes left, the Gaels started their rally. Cal would go scoreless from the field, but ultimately time ran out for the Gaels to complete the comeback. A buzzer-beater 3-pointer for Saint Mary’s cut the deficit to five points in the final score.

Saint Mary’s was led by Tayla Dalton and Zeryhia Aokuso who had 19 and 18 points respectively.

NEXT UP

Cal stays home to host Gonzaga on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

Apologies for the blurry video!

Cal Survives Saint Mary’s 74-69

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