Cal Tops Washington, 70-40
Feb. 7, 2009
SEATTLE (AP) - Conference scoring leader Ashley Walker scored seven of her 24 points in the first five minutes of the second half and No. 3 California recovered from a sluggish first 20 minutes to rout Washington 70-40 Friday night.
The Bears (19-3, 10-0 Pac-10) continued to improve on the best conference start in school history thanks to Walker's dominant play inside. Leading the conference with a 20.5-point average, Walker scored 11 of Cal's first 20 in the second half, turning a nine-point halftime lead into a comfortable 20-point cushion in just seven minutes.
California won its 11th straight overall and outscored Washington 43-22 in the second half.
Washington was led by 12 points from Christina Rozier, but dropped a school-record ninth straight. The Huskies (5-15, 1-9) didn't fare any better than their first meeting with Cal when they scored just nine first-half points and lost by 28.
Walker's second half was so dominant, she headed to the bench with 6 minutes remaining after making 11 of 15 shots and grabbing nine rebounds. It was the fourth time in the last fifth games that Walker topped 20 points and this might have been her easiest 24 points of the season, overpowering an undersized and slower Washington interior. Walker had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with Washington.
Devanei Hampton had 15 points, Alexis Gray-Lawson added 14 and Natasha Vital scored 10 for California.
For one half, Washington fared better than its first matchup against the Bears last month in Berkeley, when California stymied the Huskies in a 62-34 win. It was the second part of an embarrassing weekend for Washington, who lost to Stanford two days earlier by a Pac-10 record 77 points.
The Huskies reached the 9-point mark with more than 11 minutes left in the first half on Friday night, and even though Washington shot just 23 percent in the first half, they trailed only 27-18 at halftime thanks to a scrappy defense that forced 11 turnovers by California.
The tight first half was a rare positive for the Huskies, who haven't won since Jan. 3. But Walker scored on California's first second-half possession to start a 16-4 run that put any thoughts of an upset to rest. The Bears led by 30 on a couple of occasions, including the final score.
Washington's top three scorers - Sami Whitcomb (12.5 points), Kristi Kingma (9.8) and Laura McLellan (9.3) - combined to make just 5 of 25 shots and scored 12 points.