Jan. 26, 2003
Los Angeles, CA - Plagued by poor shooting and 24 turnovers, the UCLA women's basketball team dropped a 69-61 decision to California Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion. Senior guard Michelle Greco led all players with 23 points and also had a career-high 10 rebounds and five steals to record her first career double-double.
Cal took an early 14-7 lead on UCLA, which missed 11 of its first 13 shots in the game. The Bruins came back to take an 18-14 lead with 5:31 to play in the half after a Jalina Bradley jumper. However, the Golden Bears reclaimed the lead at the 1:21 mark and never relinquished it.
The Bruins started the second half slow, missing seven of their first eight shots to start the half. Cal pulled away to a 58-40 lead with 5:40 to play and looked to be in control of the game, but the Bruins quickly mounted a comeback. UCLA scored 10 points in the span of 41 seconds to cut the lead to 58-50 with 4:04 to play. UCLA cut the lead to six, 62-56 with 1:10 left, but a pair of free throws by Cal's Kiki Williams increased the lead to eight again with 56 seconds remaining. A Greco layup and free throw shot at the 52 second mark cut the lead to five again, but Nihan Anaz scored a layup with 35 seconds to play to increase the lead to seven. Kristin Iwanaga hit three free throws in the final 23 seconds to clinch the win for Cal.
"We came out very strong, and UCLA was maybe a little flat," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "We did not score for about 10 minutes, but defense kept us in the game. Rebounding and defense were the keys to the win."
Said Greco, "We made things happen but just could not get our shots to fall. We knew Cal was a good team that plays hard. We gave them too much confidence early."
In addition to recording her first double-double, Greco also made her first nine free throws of the game to set a new UCLA record for consecutive free throws made with 32. Freshman guard Nikki Blue added 17 points and five steals.
For Cal, junior center Timea Ivanyi (13 points/10 rebounds) and freshman forward Renee Wright (12 points/11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles, the first by Cal players this season. Wright's 12 points were a career-high. The Golden Bears had a season-high 18 steals.
UCLA shot a season-low 29%, compared to Cal's 41.7%. Cal shot 55.6% in the decisive second half. Cal won the battle of the boards by a 49-40 margin. The Bruins forced 32 turnovers but had 24 of their own.
The Bruins' record drops to 11-7, 6-3 in the conference. Cal improves to 7-10, 3-5 in the Pac-10.