BERKELEY, Calif. – In the first road action of the season, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to Cal 73-58 Monday night in Haas Pavilion.
Despite a strong start and a lead at the half, the size of the Bears (2-0) proved too much for the Broncos (1-1). Cal held a 40-22 advantage in points in the paint, led by 20 from Kristine Anigwe. Angiwe also grabbed a game-high 10 boards for the double-double.
The Bears took control over the final four minutes of the game. They scored the final nine points while the Broncos missed their final six shots from the field.
"I think the difference in the game was their post player [Anigwe]," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "She's a load in there and does a good job inside. They did a good job of getting her the ball late. With that said, I thought we played for 36 minutes and then we have some breakdowns defensively that led to some breakdowns offensively. That was the difference in the game."
A 7-0 run by the Bears at the end of the third quarter put them up 56-46 before Marie Bertholdt grabbed an offensive board and put back a layup to end a scoring drought of over three minutes for the Broncos. Santa Clara missed four straight shots and had four turnovers during the stretch.
Cal had a balanced scored attack, with Mikayla Cowling (16), Asha Thomas (13), and Penina Davidson (12) all scoring in double-figures. The Bears had 20 assists on their 28 made baskets.
Taylor Berry scored a career-highs with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three 3-pointers made, eight 3-pointers attempted, and tied a career-high with six field goals made. It was the first double-double of her career.
Bertholdt added 11 points on 4 of 9 shooting from the field and 2 of 4 from beyond the arc to go with seven rebounds.
"Taylor played like an experienced guard and I'm proud of her," Carr said. "I'm happy with everybody. Even in a loss. I thought the effort was there. I thought the plan was there. They executed. We just came up short. We'll go back and watch film and see where we can improve."
Santa Clara started the game on a 10-0 run behind 3-pointers from Bertholdt and Berry. After a Cal timeout, the Bears came back with a 15-2 run of their own. They hit four straight shots from the field during the three-minute span.
In the second quarter, the Broncos would return the favor and answer a Bears run. Cal built its lead up to 24-17 at the 6:45 mark but Santa Clara went on a 14-1 run over 4:20 to take a 31-25 lead with under two minutes to go in the half. A 3-pointer from Bertholdt capped the run and the Broncos took a 35-32 lead into halftime.
"I thought our team competed," Carr said. "We executed the game plan pretty well and got some good shots and got the ball moving. We handled their press for the most part. They got a couple easy ones late. It's something to build on. There are no moral victories in our program but we'll build on this."
The Broncos are back in action Sunday at 2 p.m. at San Jose State.
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