Cal women’s basketball escapes with 78-76 win over Colorado, snaps losing streak

Stephanie Li/Staff

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After dropping its last three games, the Cal women’s basketball team entered Friday’s contest against Colorado desperate for a win. While the Buffaloes gave everything they could, the Bears prevailed, 78-76, in a tightly contested affair that went down to the last second.

When adversity hit the Bears, they turned to their leaders to guide them to a victory. The trio of junior guard Asha Thomas, junior forward Kristine Anigwe and senior guard Mikayla Cowling combined to score 49 of Cal’s 78 points — enough to help Cal squeeze out a much-needed victory.

On the other side, the Buffs were led by senior center Zoe Correal who recorded a career-high 20 points. She was complemented nicely by junior guards Alexis Robinson and Kennedy Leonard, who poured in 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Leonard had an opportunity to tie the game and force overtime, but she was unable to make the shot, sending the majority of Cal fans relieved after a nail-biter of a game.

On paper, Cal came into this matchup as the more experienced and talented team. From the outset, however, neither of these two hungry teams could gain any separation.

Both teams started slow in the first quarter, scoring a combined 21 points, but they soon found their way in the second quarter and put up 20 apiece. At halftime, the Bears were on top, 32 -29.

In the second half, Colorado continued to fight and make life difficult for Cal, outscoring the Bears, 27-24, in the third quarter to enter the fourth all tied up.

In the last period of play, Cowling took over, scoring 9 of the team’s final 13 points to help seal the victory.

Overall, Cal picked up the win to get back to winning ways. The Bears weren’t always at their best, but they showed enough grit to get the job done. Against better competition such as Utah and No. 17 Stanford, Cal will have to reach new levels of play if they expect to keep winning. But for now, the Bears will breathe a sigh of relief after a quality victory.

Praveen Kuruppu covers women’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected].