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01-19-2008 California Recap
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/19/2008
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TUCSON , Ariz. (AP) ?C ?No. 8 California relied on Alexis Gray-Lawsonˇ?s three-point shooting and a Pac-10 best man-to-man defense for a 66-45 victory on Saturday.

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Gray-Lawson connected on 5 of the teamˇ?s season tying high 10 three-pointers in en route to 19 points.

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While she was finding her offensive rhythm Arizona did not against the Pac-10ˇ?s best scoring defense. The Wildcats shot 24 percent for the game, and made only 4 of 26 field goals in the second half.

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ˇ?We challenged the team at halftime. We challenged them to dig down and play defense like we have been known for,ˇ± California coach Joanne Boyle said.

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The Bears (17-2, 8-0) won their ninth straight game, the longest streak since the 1986-87 team won 10 consecutively. Cal also tied its school record with eight straight Pac-10 victories.

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The Bears had scoring help from Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker, who scored 10 apiece.

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Rheya Neabors led Arizona (6-12, 0-7) with 13 points as the Wildcats lost their eighth straight game. Ashley Whisonant and Amina Njonkou each had 10.

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California usually has a powerful inside game, but relied on the three-point shot against Arizona, making 10 of 17 attempts.

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ˇ?They were packing it in so much. It was tough to get the posts touches and when they did they were doubling and tripling down,ˇ± Boyle said.

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ˇ?Once we relaxed and hit one or two of the threeˇ?s then the basket gets that much bigger.ˇ±

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Gray-Lawson hit from three-point range for a 17 point lead and then another to go ahead 55-34 with 9:21 remaining to pull ahead.

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California made 9 of its first 13 three-pointers before finishing the game with reserves.

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ˇ?They made some adjustments late in the first half and started to pick us apart,ˇ± Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini said. ˇ?They are a team that doesnˇ?t usually turn the ball over that much and turned it over 20 times so all those threes they hit kept them in the game and ultimately pulled them away.ˇ±

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Natasha Vital hit two straight threeˇ?s to give the Bears a 45-31 lead with 14:29 left. Gray-Lawson not only connected from the perimeter but also scored off her steal and breakaway lay-up en route to a 16-point cushion as the Bears made five consecutive shots to open the second half.

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Gray-Lawson made 6 of 7 field goals, 5 for 6 from three-point territory.

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ˇ?They were doubling inside so I said I might as well get open,ˇ± Gray-Lawson said. ˇ?I guess I kind of went off.ˇ±

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Arizona took a 21-16 lead on a Neabors three-pointer before California went on a 10-0 spurt to gain control before the first half. Gray-Lawson hit a pair of three-pointers during the Bearsˇ? run to help them take a 29-24 lead at the break.

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ˇ?We came back and responded. I think we started out tight at the beginning of the game,ˇ± Boyle said. ˇ?I thought we started to relax in the second half and played more of our basketball.ˇ±

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Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano served as a guest coach on the bench for the Wildcats, the fifth time she has done so during her tenure.

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Arizona will next travel to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. (PST).

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