Arizona State rebounds on road to take down Cal, 57-42
Sun Devils never trail in win over Golden Bears
— Sun Devil WBB (@SunDevilWBB) January 29, 2018
BERKELEY, Calif. – Unlike on Friday against Stanford when they lost wire to wire by 24 points to the Cardinal, Arizona State (15-7, 6-4 Pac-12) came out with a better offensive performance at California (15-6, 6-4) Sunday afternoon for a 57-42 victory.
The Sun Devils began the contest on a 14-0 run, shutting down Cal offensively with a zone defense that they utilized the entire game. Cal did not respond well, committing a slew of turnovers and shooting poorly. The Bears did not score until 2:39 in the first quarter when sophomore guard Jaelyn Brown hit a jumper.
“I thought we really didn’t allow them to get their inside game going,” Sun Devils head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “They’re hard to guard.”
After two straight shots from sophomore Robbi Ryan to give Arizona State their double-digit lead at 3:42 in the first quarter, Cal took a timeout. The break was helpful as the Bears then scored six straight baskets before ASU made the last shot of the period.
Cal shot 20 percent from the field in the first quarter (3-of-15) compared to ASU’s 50 percent (7-of-14). The Sun Devils led 16-6 after the game’s initial ten minutes.
The Bears performed better in the second period, shooting 46.2 percent from the field, but were still outscored in the last ten minutes before the half, 17-16. ASU had a 33-22 lead at halftime.
Arizona State clamped down again in the third quarter with defense that limited Cal to six points, just like in the first quarter. The Sun Devils only scored 11 points themselves in the third period. While the Bears managed to outscore ASU 14-13, they never overcame their double-digit deficit.
Redshirt junior guard Courtney Ekmark led ASU with 12 points plus eight rebounds. Junior forward Kianna Ibis was also in double figures with 11 points along with eight rebounds. It was an improvement over her two-points scored against Stanford on Friday.
Junior forward Kristine Anigwe paced the Bears with 15 points plus eight rebounds. She was the only Cal player in double figures. Senior forward Penina Davidson also pulled down eight rebounds to go along with five points.
“We were disappointed because we had a really good opportunity here and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said postgame. “We can’t win a game scoring 42 points, we know that, so there’s no excuses. We credit Arizona State, they are always tough defensively. We didn’t take enough shots. We’ve got to move on and take advantage of upcoming opportunities.”
It was the lowest point total of the season for Cal and overall, they only shot 28 percent.
Turner Thorne commented that she had pride in her team’s ability to overcome Friday’s loss at Stanford and explained what happened across the Bay.
“It was poor across the board. It was poor in terms of effort, it was poor in terms of teamwork, and it was poor in terms of focus. It was weird. It’s a really tough place to play. We had a good shootaround, we had a good week. We all were in shock after it, but I’m just proud of the way we responded. I mean this is a team with no seniors and they came in the next day and they locked in. They’re taking things to heart, they need to be more connected when they play.”
While she was glad that Cal shot so poorly she did admit that her team “got kind of lucky.”
“We kind of dared them to shoot sometimes,” said Turner Thorne, “but they are a better shooting team than they showed today.”
With the win, the Sun Devils completed the season sweep of the Bears. They also beat Cal 80-71 in Tempe on Jan. 5. The teams are now tied for fifth place in the Pac-12.
Cal goes on the road to face Oregon on Friday, followed by Oregon State on Sunday. Arizona State hosts Washington on Friday and Washington State on Sunday.
By the Numbers