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Cal Women's Basketball

Bears Beat WSU in Heartstopping OT Thriller, 73-72

January 7, 2024
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HAAS PAVILION - The Bears pulled off something they so often were unable to do in recent seasons with a clutch 73-72 overtime victory over a feisty WSU squad and completing a homestand sweep over a pair of tough Washington programs, moving to 12-3/2-1 on the season. 

The Bears came into the game after a big win over 11-2 Washington and hoped to build on the victory against a solid 11-4 WSU team. The Bears were able to pull out the win despite star PG Leilani McIntosh being limited to just 4 points in 24 minutes before fouling out. McIntosh was nonetheless able to move into fifth place on the all-time assists category with Cal early in the win. She also moved to number 9 in all-time steals for the Bears.

“We showed our growth in this game,” Cal head coach Charmin Smith said. “I’m really proud of our team. There was a stretch there where we were kind of lulled to sleep a little bit but we bounced back and really fought and showed a ton of grit.”

The game got off to a strong start for the Bears as they took an early 16-9 lead over the Cougars on the strength of 7 early Ionanna Krimili points and a pair of late layups by center Michelle Onyiah. They were also aided by an injury departure from star WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker, who excited with a cut above her eye and didn’t return until the third quarter. 

A Marta Suarez 3 pushed the Bears’ lead to 10 with two minutes to go in the half but the Cougars finished the half on a 7-0 run and it was a new game with the Bears up 35-32.

Much of the third quarter was a disaster for the Bears. After opening the half with a Krimili 3, the Cougars went on a 20-6 run and took a 52-44 lead with 1:42 left in the quarter, however the Bears were able to claw their way back in, scoring the final 7 points of the quarter, finishing with a Krimili three in the waning seconds to trail by 1 going into the final stanza, 54-53.

The fourth quarter was back-and-forth, with the Bears finally retaking the lead on a Kemery Martin layup and free throw to give the Bears a 60-58 lead with 6 minutes remaining.

It was a defensive battle from there as both teams struggled to score for the next 5 minutes as the clock ticked down to the final minute.

With the score tied 62-all, the Bears got a key defensive stop on WSU center Bella Murakatete and ran the closck down to 25 seconds when Suarez swished a clutch 3 from the top of the key on a kickout from McIntosh to give the Bears a 65-62 lead.

The Cougars however weren’t ready to roll over, with Leger-Walker hitting a clutch 3 of her own,tying the game at 65 with 11 seconds remaining. The Bears were unable to get off an open look after the inbounds as a turnaround Suarez jumper clanked off the rim to force overtime.

Leger-Walker scored the first point of overtime with a free throw on one of many questionable officiating calls on the WSU end of the court but the Bears countered with a Krimili floater to retake the lead. The lead changed hands several times from there, with four Cougar free throws sandwiched between an Onyiah putback. Another clutch Onyiah rebound and putback gave the Bears their third lead of the quarter, 71-70 with 2 minutes remaining.

“We worked on rebounding this whole offseason so that was really the biggest key thing,” Onyiah said after the game. “I was happy to have boxed out and be in the right position at the right time. Finishing was a big key for us.”

A driving Leger-Walker bank shot gave WSU the 1-point lead with 1:19 remaining. A pair of scoreless possessions gave the Bears the ball with 30 seconds remaining in OT for the chance for the win. Coming out of a timeout with 19 seconds remaining, Suarez missed a driving layup in traffic but once again, Onyiah came up huge with the rebound and putback to put the Bears back on top, 73-72 with 8 seconds remaining.

The whole arena knew Cougar star Leger-Walker would handle the ball and try and pull out the win for the Cougars but some strong defense kept the talented point guard from getting off a shot as time expired for the big Bears’ win.

Krimili led the Bears with 21 points and 4 assists in the win. Onyiah had one of her best games with an efficient 7-8 from the field and 14 points with 8 rebounds in 18 minutes despite playing down the stretch saddled with 4 fouls. Suarez also came up big with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the game. Leger-Walker led WSU with 20 points after coming back from her injury.

Bears Beat WSU in Heartstopping OT Thriller, 73-72

3,077 Views | 24 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by CalWSportsFan
MoragaBear
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Staff
Just added the postgame video. Such a fun game to watch. Great energy in the building.
ncbears
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Onyiah scored Cal's final six points all on put-backs!
KiteBear
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I give Mia tons of credit for fighting through screens and solid on-ball defense in extended minutes against Leger-Walker. She looked pretty spent at the end
GATC
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Thanks for the interview. Really nice to hear Charmin's comments. I was sitting a couple of rows behind you and watched you working hard on this report during breaks. You did a great job capturing key details.
MoragaBear
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GATC said:

Thanks for the interview. Really nice to hear Charmin's comments. I was sitting a couple of rows behind you and watched you working hard on this report during breaks. You did a great job capturing key details.

Thanks, GATC!
MoragaBear
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Staff
Btw, I asked after the game why it's been so cold in Haas lately and was told the temps inside are usually similar to those outside, so apparently there's no temp controls used. Of course, a bigger crowd would impact that, too.
annarborbear
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Just noticed that at this point we are tied with USC and Arizona for fourth in the conference. I don't think we can beat Colorado, but Utah does look possible.
MoragaBear
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137-39 overall conference record. To make the tourney in this conference would be a nice accomplishment.
HoopDreams
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game highlights:

https://pac-12.com/womens-basketball/event/2024/01/07/washington-state-california
WantARoseBowlB4IDie
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Watched the recording of the game. This kind of gritty win can really galvanize a team. Lane is still clearly rounding into game shape, so she'll be more of an impact player.

As far as chances against the Buffs, keep in mind Cal is 15-3 all time in the series at Haas. So I'm not discounting their chances just yet... GO BEARS!
🐻 The Bear Will NOT Quit, The Bear Will NOT Die! 🐻
wvitbear
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Th8s game is in Colorado.
CalWSportsFan
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The altitude makes it a bit tough....but I think the Bears are ready as they can be.
wvitbear
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One advantage we have with Colorado is that they must be frothing at the mouth to play Stanford and may overlook us. Still, they are a much better team this year than in the past and we could play well and lose. Have the second best center in the league that has a bunch of good centers.
annarborbear
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The problem with Colorado is they have both very good post players and a very good backcourt. They have really balanced scoring across nine players, all of whom have experience. And the game is at altitude.
wvitbear
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Utah is high too.
BearBint
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annarborbear said:

The problem with Colorado is they have both very good post players and a very good backcourt. They have really balanced scoring across nine players, all of whom have experience. And the game is at altitude.
And I really kind of like their team, along with Arizona's. (Still gonna scream for Cal, though.)
"Don't get distracted, myself. Don't get distracted." Self-talk from a young relative
ncbears
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We shall be at the CU game. The team comes in early - so will have some time to adjust to altitude. But, it's getting cooooooold. Thursday predicted high of 26 and Friday of 31. Still better than the weekend where we may not get above zero.
wvitbear
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Do you live in Colorado. Ihave spent quite a bit of roaming around the state.
ncbears
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wvitbear said:

Do you live in Colorado. Ihave spent quite a bit of roaming around the state.
We are in Boulder.
wvitbear
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I've stayed at Estes Park. Most of my time has been in Western Colorado.
HoopDreams
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How did you record

It didn't seem like it was on Pac12 Network on TV, only Pac12 Streaming

WantARoseBowlB4IDie said:

Watched the recording of the game. This kind of gritty win can really galvanize a team. Lane is still clearly rounding into game shape, so she'll be more of an impact player.

As far as chances against the Buffs, keep in mind Cal is 15-3 all time in the series at Haas. So I'm not discounting their chances just yet... GO BEARS!
CalWSportsFan
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I record PAC-12 games on Sling. DVR option for streaming works great.
HoopDreams
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CalWSportsFan said:

I record PAC-12 games on Sling. DVR option for streaming works great.
interesting. I didn't know sling could do that
CalWSportsFan
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Yeah...I have a "cloud"l DVR and it allows me to record multiple games like the Pac-12 contests all at once....you can lock a recording too if you want to save. So far, works well. I subscribe to the extra sports package during basketball season....but the DVR option comes with the basic package.
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