10:00 PM ET, February 29, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- California coach Joanne Boyle was in no mood to celebrate her team tying the school record for victories."We had 23 turnovers," Boyle said after the Bears beat last place Washington State 61-47 on Friday night to keep pace with No. 7 Stanford in a race for their first Pacific-10 title."I didn't see the fire from my team that I need to see," Boyle said. "If we are going for the Pac-10 championship, we've got to take it. No one is going to give it to you."California (24-4, 15-2) closes the regular season Sunday at Washington, which was defeated by Stanford on Friday. Stanford (26-3, 15-2) plays at Washington State on Sunday.Devanei Hampton scored 16 points and Ashley Walker added 15 for California, which tied the 1983-84 team that went 24-8 for most wins in Cal history.The Bears were coming off a loss to Stanford that dropped them into a tie for the Pac-10 lead. Boyle criticized her team for playing well below the level they showed in the 60-58 loss to Stanford."We are trying to keep them focused on the task at hand," Boyle said. "If we play to our potential ... we have got the potential to go anywhere."Heather Molzen scored 14 points to lead Washington State (5-23, 2-15).After losing by 55 points in the first meeting at California, the Cougars were much more competitive this time. They hung around for much of the game, trailing just 48-41 with 8 minutes left, despite big disadvantages in shooting and rebounding.The Bears won the rebound battle 31-23 and shot 52 percent to Washington State's 40 percent."I'm proud of our kids for the improvement they have shown against the No. 9 team in the country," WSU coach June Daugherty said.After committing 14 turnovers and shooting just 33 percent in the first half to fall behind 27-19, the Cougars had just six turnovers and shot 46 percent in the second half. But Cal was making 60 percent of its second half shots to stay ahead."It shows how far we have come throughout the season," said Katie Appleton, who scored 12 points for WSU.The Cougars are 2-3 in their past five games, after opening the Pac-10 season with 12 straight losses, including that 99-44 loss at Cal.Washington State had cut Cal's lead to 29-23 early in the second half when the Bears went on a 13-2 run to open a 42-25 advantage. Lauren Greif capped the run with a pair of 3-pointers for the Bears.Washington State replied with a 16-6 run, eight points by Appleton, to cut the deficit to seven at 48-41 with 8 minutes left.But Alexis Gray-Lawson hit a 3-pointer for Cal to open a 13-6 run that iced the game. She finished with 12 points."They were fired up," Boyle said of the Cougars. "Washington State played hard and forced us into things."In the first, Cal jumped to a 17-9 lead, but consecutive baskets by WSU's Kezia Kelly cut the lead to 17-13. Cal rebuilt a 23-13 lead on three straight baskets. But the Cougars scored six straight points to cut it to 23-19 late in the first.Baskets by Krista Foster and Rama N'diaye gave Cal a 27-19 halftime lead. The Bears shot 46 percent in the first, while WSU shot only 33 percent.
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