Cal Women's Basketball: Anigwe Sets Another School Record in Win; Stanford Next

Asha Thomas (1) had nine assists and no turnovers.Photo courtesy of Cal Athletics

Bears star breaks Cal career blocks record in victory over Washington State in Pac-12 tournament opener

Kristine Anigwe set another school record Thursday as Cal eliminated Washington State 77-58 in its first-round game in the women's Pac- 12 tournament in Las Vegas.

Now the Bears face second-seeded Stanford in a quarterfinal game on Friday at 6 p.m. Cal split its two regular-season games with the Cardinal, winning in Berkeley on a buzzer-beating shot by Asha Thomas, then losing by 25 points two days later at Stanford.

"In the first game we had a bounce, we were on our toes," Anigwe said. "Second game, we were a little stuck in the mud."

It will interesting to see how Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer opts to defend Anigwe, who had 45 points and 44 rebounds in the two games combined against Cal.

"Tara is the game-plan guru," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.

Anigwe knows the Cardinal will have something cooked up.

"Tara is a really, really good coach," Anigwe said. "She's going to have a game plan."

The Cardinal finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the conference.

"Any Tara VanDerveer team continues to improve as the season goes on," Gottlieb said. "They're not going to be subpar; we have to be great. And we still feel the sting of that second game against them."

Anigwe, who already owns the Cal record for career points and rebounds, broke the school record for career blocked shots with her second block on Thursday. She finished with three blocks, giving her an even 200 for her career, to go along with 27 points and 16 rebounds for seventh-seeded Cal (19-11), which won its fifth straight game.

Anigwe did not quite have the monster game she had on Sunday, when she collected 32 points and 30 rebounds against the Cougars, but she still had an impessive outing. She would have had another 30-point game if she had made her free throws, but she was just 1-of-6 from the line.

"I don't think there's a debate about who's the best in the nation as a big," Cal guard Recee' Caldwell said. "She's the best player in the country in my opinion. She makes the game easier for all of us."

Anigwe recorded her 31st consecutive double-double, the longest such streak in the country, and she even got some rest as she sat out the closing minutes of the game against 10th-seeded Washington State (9-21).

Caldwell collected 14 points and nine assists for Cal, and Kianna Smith added 15 points. Asha Thomas scored just three points, but had nine assists with no turnovers.

"Nine assists, no turnovers -- that's crazy, you know," Anigwe said.

Cal beat the Cougars twice during the regular season, incuding a 22-point victory in Pullman, Wash., on Sunday, and the Bears dominated the fourth quarter on Thursday. Cal outrebounded the Cougars 48-24, but Anigwe did not outrebound the entire WSU team as she did on Sunday.

Cal beat the Cougars twice dring the regular season, incuding a 22-point victory in Pullman, Wash., on Sunday, and the Bears dominated the fourth quarter to pull away on Thursday.

The Bears used a 13-1 run to start the fourth quarter to expand a seven-point lead beginning the quarter to 71-52 midway through the period.

"Our players really locked down on the defensive end in the fourth," Gottlieb said.

Washington State's Chanelle Molina beat Cal defenders off the dribble time and time again, getting open layups through the first three quarters while collecting 24 points. She was not a factor in the fourth quarter, though.

Anigwe had 17 points and six rebounds in the first half, which ended with the Bears holding a 36-34 lead.

Cal started the second quarter on a 12-1 run that helped the Bears take an eight-point lead midway through the period. The Cougars closed the gap to two points at halftime by outscoring Cal 7-1 in the closing minutes.

Molina had 14 points in the first half.