Women's Basketball Takes Consolation in First Win

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Finally, Caren Horstmeyer got what she wanted from her squad - good shooting coupled with outstanding defense and her first win as a Cal women's basketball coach.

The Bears rebounded from a loss a day earlier for a 70-59 win over South Alabama in the consolation game of the University of Illinois-Chicago Thanksgiving Tournament Saturday at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

Cal shot 46.4 percent while holding the Jaguars to 33.9 percent shooting from the field - both season bests - while dominating the boards, outrebounding South Alabama 42-34.

The win was the first of the season for Cal (1-3) after three consecutive losses to open the 2000-01 campaign.

"It's like having a monkey off your back," Horstmeyer said of notching the team's first win.

Kenya Corley's career-high 22 points led the Bears, besting her previous high of 19, set on two separate occasions last season.

Lauren Ashbaugh added 15 points - 11 in the second half - to go along with eight rebounds.

Forward Jessica Webb led South Alabama with 22 points and eight rebounds, while guard Taneshia Russell added 13 points.

Corley stepping up to lead the team continued the Bears' trend this season of having a different player come through with a big performance each night.

"It's exciting to see we've had a lot of personal bests," Horstmeyer said.

In the 76-63 loss to Alabama on the first day of the tournament, Courtney Johnson exploded for a career high-27 points, topping her previous best by five points.

Brook Coulter, who is in her first full season on the hardwood after four years of volleyball, helped lead Cal's comeback attempt in a 64-63 loss to Fairfield last Sunday with 15 points, to go along with Ami Forney's career-high tying 17 points.

Saturday was Corley's turn to play superhero after going scoreless against the Crimson Tide.

"Kenya felt very badly about the night before," Horstmeyer said. "She was able to put that game behind her."

The Bears pulled away in the second half, leading by as many as 15 points, shooting 51.7 percent from the field. The Jaguars cut the lead down to seven with 35 seconds remaining, but two free throws from Johnson and a layup from Corley were enough to insure the victory.

The team's resilience late in the game was a step in the right direction. A week ago, Cal was in position to beat Fairfield, but was unable to hold on for the victory in the final seconds.

"We were able to get a lead and maintain it," Horstmeyer said. "We maintained our composure the entire game."

The Bears opened the game with a 12-5 lead with half of Cal's total coming from Corley.

South Alabama climbed back into the contest at 15-14 with seven minutes remaining in the first half.

The Bears then went on an 8-0 run to open up a nine-point lead at 23-14. The Jaguars refused to go away, clawing back into striking distance, but a three-pointer by Corley as time expired in the first half put Cal up 27-21.

Friday, the Bears dropped their first game against the Crimson Tide after falling behind 16-5 to start the game.

A 9-1 run lessened the deficit to three at 17-14, but a Cal scoring drought allowed Alabama to build a 26-16 lead and the 'Tide ended the half with a 32-21 advantage.

Cal cut the lead to six with 15:51 remaining in the contest, but could not get any closer. Alabama opened up a 15-point spread with 7:43 to play.

The 'Tide had four players score in double figures. Shondra Johnson led all players with 29 points, followed by Sparkle Johnson's 14 points and 10 rebounds.


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