Nothing comes easy in the Pac-12.
The Cal women’s basketball team completed its weekend sweep Sunday, but Washington made the Bears sweat for the 79-70 victory at Haas Pavilion.
Cal (12-5, 3-3 Pac-12) won consecutive games for the first time since opening the season with a nine-game streak from Nov. 6-Dec. 16, despite the Huskies (8-10, 1-6) setting season marks in three-pointers made and three-point percentage.
Washington, which has dropped eight of its past nine games overall and 13 straight conference road games, went 13-of-23 from three-point range (56.5 percent). The Huskies, who entered the game shooting 28.6 percent, hadn’t made more than nine or bettered 40 percent in any other game.
But as good as the Huskies were from the outside, Cal was even more dominant on the inside. Led by 6-foot-4 senior forward center Kristine Anigwe, the Bears had a 16-rebound edge and beat Washington 40-20 in paint points.
Anigwe, was coming off a 29-point, 23-rebound effort against Washington State on Friday, nearly had 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting and 18 rebounds. With the game in hand, Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb pulled Anigwe with 13.3 seconds remaining and evoked a huge ovation.
The rest of the Bears’ offensive production was pretty balanced with Recee Caldwell scoring 15 points, McKenzie Forbes adding 10 and Asha Thomas each pitching in with nine. Caldwell returned from an apparent left shoulder injury in the first quarter to help Cal take control of a back-and-back game.
Washington junior guard Amber Melgoza, who was limited to just eight points at Stanford on Friday, saved them all up for Cal. She had 27 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range.
There were eight lead changes and 12 ties in a first half filled with Cal’s inside dominance and Washington throwing haymakers from the perimeter. Anigwe had 14 points and 10 rebounds at the break, but the Huskies went 7-of-12 from three-point range to make it 33-33.
Neither team led by more than five points until Caldwell’s three-pointer capped a 12-3 run at the start of the fourth quarter to put Cal ahead 61-54 with 6:15 remaining. Thomas jumper from the corner with fewer than two minutes left gave her 200 on her career and the Bears a 70-60 lead.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Cal-women-complete-weekend-sweep-with-win-over-13548518.php.