Led by Courtney Range Cal remains undefeated, topping Duquesne 86-66

Photo: Cal Athletics.
Photo: Cal Athletics.

BERKELEY, Calif.  – California (6-0) continued its winning ways Saturday afternoon with an 86-66 win over Duquesne (4-3) in the title game of the Cal Classic.

The Bears defeated San Francisco 75-52 Friday to advance to the final while the Dukes took down Western Carolina, 65-50.

Duquesne comes into the 2016-17 season after earning an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament last season, losing in the second round to the eventual national champion, Connecticut.

“This was probably our biggest challenge thus far, and I thought our players responded emphatically,” said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb about facing the Dukes. “I like how we’re playing. The balance, especially on offense shows a lot. We’re excited on where we are, and we’re hungry to keep getting better.”

Playing Duquesne was a joy for Gottlieb as she first met Dukes head coach Dan Burt when she attended her first Final Four as a college student. She said that over the years, he has been a positive influence, encouraging her during her coaching career.

Saturday’s game was the first-ever meeting between the two teams. The Bears dominated from the outset, with sophomore center Kristine Anigwe leading the way early on.

Cal shot 50 percent from the floor in the first quarter and 73.3 percent in the second. Duquense had a hard time offensively in the first quarter, shooting just 23.1 percent from the floor. Cal enjoyed a 21-9 lead at the end of the first ten minutes.

Senior forward Courtney Range and junior forward Penina Davidson were key to Cal’s success as they dominated the paint and shut down the Dukes inside. In the first half Cal had 24 points in the paint to Duquesne’s eight.

At the half, three Cal players were in double figures. Davidson and Range had 12 points each while Anigwe had 10. Davidson also accumulated six rebounds in the first two quarters.

The Dukes performed better in the third quarter, engaging in a back and forth shooting contest with the Bears. The teams scored 20 points each in the third period. However, the Bears led 69-52 heading into the last ten minutes.

The Dukes relied heavily on three-point shots to try and make up the deficit in the fourth quarter but it was not enough as Cal counteracted with their own offensive spurts.

The Bears had just 24 hours to prepare a successful strategy for tackling Duquesne. The short turnaround was not a problem though according to Range and Davidson.

“We watched film [Friday] night and basically we were just mentally preparing ourselves for today,” said Range, “understanding the game plan and basically understanding the principles.”

Range was named the MVP of the tournament as she averaged a team-high 21.5 points per game and was second in rebounds at 7.5 per contest. She scored 18 against Duquesne and pulled down four rebounds.

Anigwe finished with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Davidson scored 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Junior forward Mikayla Cowling was also in double figures with 13 points in addition to six assists.

Four Duquesne players were in double figures led by Chassidy Omogrosso with 17 points. Amadea Szamosi and Conor Richardson scored 12 points each. Julijana Vojinovic finished with ten points and eight rebounds.

The All-Tournament team included:

  • Kristine Anigwe (Cal)
  • Penina Davidson (Cal)
  • Chassidy Omogrosso (Duquesne)
  • Rachel Howard (San Francisco)
  • Sherae Bonner (Western Carolina)

San Francisco beat Western Carolina in the consolation game of the tournament.

Cal’s next outing is at Nebraska on Sunday, Dec. 4. Duquesne heads to New York to face Atlantic 10 foe Fordham on Thursday, Dec. 1.

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