WACO, Texas — Cal has seen all kind of plans from opponents trying to contain Kristine Anigwe, the Bears’ dominating 6-foot-4 senior post.
Add North Carolina to the list of teams that have failed to stop her.
Anigwe extended her season-long streak of double-doubles with 18 points and 22 rebounds and the Bears rallied from a 12-point deficit in the first half to win 92-72 in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Cal will play top-seeded Baylor in the second round Monday.
“I’ve watched a ton of film on them and I haven’t seen them play any post player like that,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “I just haven’t seen them load up on the post like that. … A lot of teams try to create a game plan for her and it often wears down in the second half because it’s hard to stay disciplined in what you’re trying to do.”
Anigwe scored all but two of her points after halftime for the Bears (20-12), the No. 8 seed in the Greensboro Regional. Constantly surrounded by Tar Heels, she was 1-of-5 shooting before halftime but still grabbed 10 rebounds.
“I changed my mind-set and focused on defense, something I’ve tried to focus on throughout the season and get on the glass because my offensive game isn’t going,” Anigwe said. “I can always make an impact on the defensive end, and that’s what I had to do.”
Photo: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press
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Anigwe is the only player, men or women, with a double-double in every game this season, and she also broke the Pac-12 single-season rebounding record (528 and counting).
Cal’s Jaelyn Brown banked in a 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key to end the third quarter following an inbound play.
“It was two touch passes and the shot,” Brown said. “That was a really great moment to get the energy going into the fourth quarter, which gave us a run.”
The Bears opened the fourth with a 14-2 burst and led 77-58 after Anigwe made two free throws with 5:43 left.
“Well, we gave it all we had. … I thought they played their hearts out. We just ran out of gas,” North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “First half, we played pretty doggone good, and then I thought second half, you know, we got a little bit tired.”
Paris Kea had 22 points to lead the Tar Heels (18-15).
Asha Thomas led Cal with 19 points.
Stephen Hawkins is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Anigwe-has-18-points-22-rebounds-as-Cal-opens-13711864.php.