BERKELEY, Calif. — Sophomore forward Kristine Anigwe texted Cal women's basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb a quote earlier this week. It was from Kobe Bryant and read, "In order to make history, you have to do historic things."
History was made in Haas Pavilion on Thursday night.
Anigwe scored a school-record 50 points as the Golden Bears beat Sacramento State 97-73 to improve to 8-0, the best start to a season in program history.
It was all Anigwe, all the time from the outset. The 2016 USBWA National Freshman of the Year scored 18 points in the opening quarter as the Bears started the game on a 12-0 run. Cal led 30-9 after the first period, the most points the Bears have scored in any quarter all season.
The Bears shot 57.1 percent (40-of-70) from the field and scored a season-high 96 points, 76 of which came in the paint. Cal's 8-0 start surpasses the previous mark of 7-0 set in both the 2014-15 and 2008-09 seasons.
That was one of several records that fell Thursday night as Anigwe stole the spotlight, turning in the first 50-point performance in school history — men's or women's. The 6-foot-4 forward topped the previous mark of 48 points set by Cal's men's player Ed Gray on February 22, 1997 against Washington State. Alexis Gray-Lawson previously held the women's single-game scoring record with 47 points against Oregon State on January 23, 2010.
Anigwe's 50 points also tie the Pac-12 women's single-game record set by USC's Cherie Nelson against Cal on March 10, 1989 and marks the highest-scoring game by any player in Division I basketball this season.
Last season, Angiwe scored 43 points against Sacramento State, capitalizing on the Hornets' face-paced style of play. It was the Bears' game-plan again on Thursday, which Gottlieb said her squad executed to a tee.
"Credit to the rest of the team and to Kristine for making extraordinary things look ordinary," Gottlieb said. "There are other really good post players, but I don't know if there is a better one [than Kristine]. It is my job to also put great players around her to be one of the best teams. That's always been my goal."
Anigwe added a season-high 14 rebounds — one shy of her career high — two blocks, and went 19-of-23 from the floor, a stat line made even more impressive by the fact that she played only 24 minutes.
The Wade Watch and Naismith Trophy candidate was quick to credit her teammates for her success.
"I'm just so blessed," Anigwe said. "My teammates believe in me so much and they just throw up the ball and know I'm going to get it. I'm happy I was able to do this in front of everyone that has helped me. My teammates really care about me and I'm so happy to be here."
As a team, the Bears outrebounded Sacramento State 61-40 and dished out a season-high 26 assists. Fellow sophomores Mo Mosley and Chen Yue also had career nights. Mosley scored 11 points and dished out four assists while Yue finished with eight points and eight rebounds, both personal bests.
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Ashlyn Crenshaw paced the visiting Hornets with 13 points as Sacramento State fell to 3-6 on the season.
The Bears will be back in action on Sunday, hosting Lehigh at 2 p.m. in Cal's final home game of the 2016 calendar year. Cal will be honoring the late Tennessee Lady Vols Head Coach Pat Summit at Sunday's game by raising awareness for The Pat Summitt Foundation and Alzheimer's disease. The all-time wins leader in Division I basketball with 1,098 career victories, Summitt won eight NCAA titles at Tennessee and passed away this summer at the age of 64.