BERKELEY, Calif.—Aja Williams tied or broke two CSU Bakersfield Division three-point field goal shooting records and was only one point off the CSUB Division I record for most points in a game, but it wasn’t enough as the University of California defeated CSU Bakersfield 86-63 in women’s basketball action Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion.
"Aja played extremely well today," said CSUB head coach Greg McCall. "
CSUB took an 8-5 when Williams connected on a three-pointer 2+ minutes into the first before the Bears rattled off a 12-2 run that would put Cal into the lead. Williams put an end to the spurt with a three-pointer at the 3:33 mark. CSUB would climb to within three, 19-16 when freshman Daije Harris converted a three-point play with just over a minute to play. Back-to-back three-pointers from Asha Thomas and Mi’Cole Cayton helped Cal to a 25-16 advantage before five quick points at the end of the frame by Brittany Sims and Williams made it 25-21 at the end of one.
The Bears (4-0) scored the first seven points of the second quarter to extend the lead to 11 before Williams scored five straight. A Thomas and Williams traded baskets to again make it a six-point game. The Bears went to reigning national freshman of the year Kristine Anigwe down low. She was fouled on a layup attempt that went in and the subquent free throw was good for a 37-28 Cal lead. On the ensuing offensive Bears’ possession, Anigwe sank 1-of-2 free throws to put the advantage back into double-digits.
Tylinn Carter’s layup cut into the Bears lead. The teams remained off the scoreboard for the next two minutes before Mikayla Cowling’s three point again created a 10-point Cal lead. Williams drove the lane was fouled. She made both from the charity stripe. The Roadrunners forced a turnover which led to a Carter layup. Alexxus Gilbert stole the ball from Cowling the next time down but the halftime score would remain 40-34.
The Bears went to Angiwe early and often in the third quarter as the 6-3 post player scored four of the first eight Cal points to again push the lead back into double-digits. CSUB would fall behind by 14 before recording their first score of the half on a Carter basket with just over five to play. Angiwe charted eight points in the third as Cal would lead 62-43 after 30 minutes.
A Williams’ three-pointer got the Roadrunners off to good start in the final stanza. Cal returned to a 20+ lead when Courtney Range connected on a three with just under eight to go. Cowling pushed the lead to 23 with a field goal on the ensuing Bears’ possession. The closest CSUB would get down the stretch would be 20 when Williams sank a three at the 6:12 mark. Cal scored the next five in a row to go onto the 23-point win.
Williams tied the CSUB Division I record for most made three-point field goals in a game with nine against the Bears. Addi Walters made nine three-point field goals against Seattle in Jan. of 2016. Williams would break Walters’ record of 16 three-point field goals attempted (set in the same game against Seattle U) as she attempted 17 threes against the Bears. The Holmes CC transfer was 11-of-23 from the field.
"Going forward, we are going to need to have our other players step up and carry the scoring load," McCall said. "The third quarter was tough again. We need to come out stronger in the second half. You can't fall behind Pac-12 teams and expect to come back. All in all, I do think we played well this weekend."
Cal would shoot 57.6% from the field (34-of-59) and 52.6% from beyond the three-point mark (10-of-19). Angiwe led five Bears’ players in double figures with 23. She completed a double-double with 11 rebounds. Cowling scored 18 while Cayton had 12. Range posted 12 while Thomas had 10. The Bears outrebounded CSUB 37-24. The teams combined for 31 turnovers (16 for CSUB, 15 for Cal).
The Roadrunners (1-3) return to the Icardo Center’s blue court next Sunday when the ‘Runners host the University of South Dakota at 1 p.m.