Third-quarter surge powers Cal past Pacific 81-69 in relocated game
STANFORD – With many athletic events cancelled around the Bay area over the weekend due to unhealthy air quality as a result of smoke from the catastrophic Camp Fire, California (4-0) and Pacific (1-1) kept their regularly scheduled Sunday contest but at a location across the Bay from Berkeley.
Cal won the contest, 81-69, in a game made possible with the concerted efforts of Stanford Athletics and the Cal’s athletic department. Smoke from the fires infiltrated Cal basketball’s home, Haas Pavilion, so the game was moved.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the people devastated by these fires,” Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said postgame as she thanked all the people, including Stanford’s athletic director Bernard Muir, who helped relocate the game successfully. “Also, I would like to say there’s so much thought and work that goes into being able to make a move at the last second. Our thought processes are always surrounding the health and well-being of the student-athletes.”
Stanford women’s basketball players came out to watch their Pac-12 counterparts in the afternoon matchup. It was good game for the Cardinal to watch as Pacific and Cal battled in an intense contest, giving fans who showed up validation for making the trek to Stanford’s campus.
Cal senior center Kristine Anigwe started the afternoon’s action with a trey. Initially, it was a slow back and forth game offensively. However, Pacific took over in the latter part of the period, going on a 12-5 run to end the quarter with an 18-12 lead. Sophomore forward Anaya McDavid led Pacific with seven points after the first ten minutes.
During the second quarter, Pacific got off to a good start with a jumper from senior guard Ameela Li to give her team an eight-point lead, 20-12. Cal didn’t make any headway until the latter part of the quarter after trailing by as much as 10 with 2:48 left before the half.
After a 10-2 run, the Bears had a chance to tie the game up before the break as Anigwe went to the line for two free throws. However, she missed one. Pacific had a slim 34-33 advantage at halftime.
Cal sophomore guard Kianna Smith was the only player in double digits at the half with 11 points, while Anigwe had nine plus five rebounds.
Pacific’s points were distributed among seven different players at the break with McDavid still leading with her seven points.
The third quarter was a fast and furious affair with the Bears showcasing a ramped up offensive strategy featuring speedy trips up the floor and threats from every Cal player on the court.
“We made a more concerted effort to run,” Gottlieb said about the third quarter effort. “We got the ball up the floor fast and when we do that, we have a punishing finisher in Kristine. We have guards who can spread the floor and make shots. That’s how we want to play. I thought the whole second half we had a better rhythm.”
As the Bears caught up to Pacific and earned the lead, the Tigers were not complacent, working furiously, trying to keep the game from getting too far out of control. Unfortunately for them, they could not gain significant traction.
Anigwe led the charge for Cal’s dominance in the third period, scoring 12 points, 10 of which came from layups in the paint. Overall, the Bears outscored the Tigers 23-10 in the third quarter and went into the fourth with a 56-44 lead.
With a deciding ten minutes left in the game, Pacific made a valiant effort to tie the game, starting the period on a 7-2 run started by Li. After getting within four points at 7:10, Cal turned the tables to begin a campaign that enabled the Bears to lead by double digits for the last 4:32.
Anigwe had a monster game, leading Cal with 25 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high five blocks. Smith added 18 points and senior point guard Asha Thomas contributed 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. Sophomore guard/forward Alaysia Styles was also in double figures with 10 points plus five rebounds.
Redshirt sophomore Valerie Higgins paced Pacific with a career-high 17 points and four assists while Li put up 14 points, dished out a team-high eight assists and grabbed four rebounds. McDavid finished with 13 points.
The Bears head to Southern California for Thanksgiving, participating in the University of San Diego Thanksgiving Tournament. Cal plays Tulane on Friday, November 23, before facing San Diego (1-2, 0-0 WCC) on Saturday afternoon.
Pacific heads home to Stockton to host the Tiger Turkey Tipoff Friday and Saturday. The Tigers are set to play North Dakota State on Friday and Wyoming on Saturday.