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Women’s first game at Haas ends with a comeback win

By Tim Haran Daily Planet Correspondent
Monday November 06, 2000

The Cal women’s basketball team overcame a shaky start and defeated the Bay Area Pro-Am All-Stars 77-72 Sunday in its first of its two exhibition games at Haas Pavilion. 

Senior forward Lauren Ashbaugh led the Bears with 23 points while grabbing six rebounds. Guard Becky Staubes and forward Amber White also finished in double figures, with 11 and 12 points respectively.  

But the Pro-Am nearly spoiled Cal’s first game under new head coach Caren Horstmeyer as the All-Stars led with 3:46 left to play.  

Ashbaugh scored the first two points of the game before Pro-Am — a team made up of players primarily from Northern California colleges — countered with nine unanswered points. 

“They were actually in a little better condition than I thought,“ Horstmeyer said. 

Pro-Am’s fast pace from the outset seemed to catch the Bears flat-footed.  

“We got off to a little bit of a shaky start,“ Horstmeyer said, adding that the team’s work ethic and hard playing set the tone throughout much of the game. 

Cal trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but rallied late in the period to tie the score at 34-34 heading into the break.  

The All-Stars actually had a higher field goal percentage than the Bears, but Cal put up 23 more shots. Pro-Am hit 22-of-47 shots while the Bears netted 27-of-70. 

“I’ve built my teams on defense,“ Horstmeyer said. “(Pro-Am’s) 46 percent (from the field) makes my hair stand up a little bit.“ 

She added that Cal would work on forcing its opponents to take more difficult shots while putting more pressure on the ball to lower the opponent’s shooting percentage to 38-40. 

Pro-Am’s 6-foot-3 center Valerie Gillon from the University of San Francisco, was a force in the middle, hitting 4-of-4 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line as she posted team-high 16 points. 

But she couldn’t stop Ashbaugh down the stretch as the Bears’ 6-foot-2 star scored a bucket and was fouled with 2:52 left in the game to give Cal a 68-64 edge. She pulled down a key rebound with less than two minutes left and came up with a steal with 40 seconds remaining to seal the Bears’ victory. 

“A key was to be in close games and come out on top, be winners,“ Horstmeyer said. “Players were able to make some adjustments.“ 

The All-Stars kept pace with the Bears by pounding the ball inside, getting fouled and knocking down free throws. Pro-Am hit 24-of-29 from the foul line (82.8 percent), while Cal struggled, especially in the first half, hitting just 22-of-38 (57.9 percent). 

Cal’s rookie coach, who compiled a 221-124 record in her 12 years at Santa Clara, said she’s pleased with the way the team is playing this early in the season. 

“I’m feeling better about the work intensity we’ve established,“ Horstmeyer said. 

She added that she was excited about the team’s 13 assists, led by Staubes and Courtney Johnson with three each. “That goes to show we’re playing as a team,“ she said. 

The Bears also turned the ball over just 16 times while causing Pro-Am to cough it up 28 times. Following the first of Cal’s two preseason contests, Horstmeyer said the Bears needs to improve its passing. 

“I think on tape they’ll see that their passes weren’t crisp,“ she said. “That stood out glaring for me.“ 

Between a new coaching staff and the unavailability of Haas Pavilion for practices, Horstmeyer said that the team is still making adjustments on the floor.  

“We’ve only had 15 practices and the players are learning everything new,“ she said. “This is only our third day in Haas.“ 

The Bears return to Haas on Nov. 12 with its second exhibition game of the year before facing Rutgers on the road for its regular-season opener on Nov. 17.