BERKELEY, Calif. – Sacramento State outscored No. 24 California 48-46 in the second half and was outscored by the Bears by just three points over the last three quarters of the game, but Cal led 30-9 at the end of the first quarter and completed a 97-73 win on Thursday night.
Cal sophomore forward Kristine Anigwe tied the Pac-12 scoring record with 50 points, shooting 19-of-23 (82.6%) from the field and making 12 free throws. She topped the Cal scoring record by three points and had the highest scoring game by an NCAA Div. I player this season while also pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds.
Ranked this week for the first time this season, California (8-0) is off to the best start in program history and beat the Hornets in Berkeley for the third consecutive season. Sacramento State (3-6) was playing just its second true road game of the year.
The Bears jumped out to a 12-0 lead just over three minutes into the contest and never looked back. The Hornets missed their first nine field goal attempts and shot just 4-of-22 overall and 1-of-12 from 3-point range in the first quarter while Cal was 13-of-21 with the 6-foot-4 Anigwe going 8-of-10 with 18 points in the period.
Down 21, The Hornets had a better second period as Cal had just a 21-16 scoring edge. Sacramento State outscored the Golden Bears by identical 24-23 totals in both the third and fourth quarters, making nine threes in the second half and forcing 14 Cal turnovers.
The Bears did go ahead by as many as 31 points but the Hornets outscored the home team 19-12 over the last six and a half minutes of the game. Cal had just a 67-64 edge in scoring over the last three quarters of the game (30 minutes).
Junior transfer Alexia Mefi had the best game of her young Hornet career, totaling 12 points and eight rebounds in just 14 minutes played. Senior Ashlyn Crenshaw scored a team-high 13 points, shooting 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and senior Emily Easom hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points.
In just her second game played this year due to injury, senior Brianna Burgos, who was the team's top returning scorer from last season, played a season-high 11 minutes and had eight points, two rebounds, and a steal while making a pair of 3-pointers.
The Hornets forced 23 Cal turnovers in the game and had just 13 of their own. Sacramento State had 20 offensive rebounds but Cal had 17 with a 19-8 advantage in second chance points. The Hornets were 10-of-12 (83.3%) at the free throw line but shot just 28% from the field and 11-of-50 (22%) from 3-point range.
Anigwe has scored 93 points against the Hornets in the last two seasons, as she had her previous career high of 43 when the teams met last year. Only one other Cal player finished in double figures with Mo Moseley scoring 11 points off the bench. Cal finished at 57% shooting for the game and scored 76 of its 97 points in the paint, making just 1-of-6 3-point attempts.
Sacramento State plays its final non-conference road game of the season at 2 p.m. Saturday at UC Irvine. The Hornets beat the Anteaters 126-78 in The Nest last season, breaking the Big Sky scoring record and posting the largest margin of victory against a Div. I team in program history.