"I thought we came out and started the game very well," said California head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "I think we did a lot of good things but the bottom line is that Arizona rebounded, and we did not block out, and that was the difference in the game."
Down 33-32 at the half, Arizona (11-2 overall, 1-0 in the Pac-10) regrouped early in the second stanza, taking a one point lead just 2:06 into the half on its way to a commanding 12 point, 52-40, lead with 12:41 remaining in the game. Senior guard Reshea Bristol led the Wildcats with a career-high 30 points, the most points scored by an Arizona player this season.
California (4-7 overall, 0-1 in the Pac-10) led for most of the first half, twice by six points, and appeared to be pulling back into the thick of things midway through the second half, cutting the Arizona lead down to four, 54-50, with 10:44 remaining in the contest. But two UA baskets sandwiched between a Cal turnover gave the Wildcats the opening they needed to regain their double-digit lead and quiet the Bears.
The win increases Arizona's winning streak to four, with the Wildcats winning 10 of their last 11 games. A significant setback for the Bears, Arizona out-rebounded California 50-35, monopolizing defensive rebounds 32-18. The Wildcats dressed only eight players Thursday night, missing two starters, one for academics and one for a team suspension.
"Coming into the game, we knew they were really shorthanded," said senior guard Kenya Corley, who finished the game with 16 points. "We talked about that a lot, about who was missing and what they do. We really wanted to attack and get them into foul trouble, but a few of us got into foul trouble instead and that hurt a little."