Cougars’ fast start too much for Bears

The good news for Cal: The Bears shot 62% from the floor in the second half at Haas Pavilion on Sunday.

The bad news? That didn’t matter.

Cal, coming off a three-point loss to Washington on Friday in the Bears’ Pac-12 opener, proved no match for Washington State on Sunday as the Cougars bolted to a 25-point lead through the first quarter and didn’t look back in a 96-75 romp.

“It was a rough start for us and we dug ourselves a hole that was a little too big to get out of,” Cal head coach Charmin Smith said. “I’m still proud of the fight in our team and the fact that we stayed even or outscored them in the remaining quarters. We kept playing hard and stuck together through a tough time.”

Washington State took its largest lead of the game, 50-14, when Chanelle Molina hit a jumper with 3:56 left to play in the second quarter.

Cal (8-5, 0-2) responded with a 27-4 run to trim its deficit to 54-41 with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter. But the Bears would get no closer as the Cougars then used a 16-5 run to erase any doubts about the game’s outcome.

Washington State (8-7, 1-2) was paced by Molina’s 28 points, with Borislava Hristova adding 26.

With 1,986 career points, Hristova surpassed Jeanne Eggart (1,967, 1977-82) for her school’s record.

For Cal, Jaelyn Brown led four players in double figures with 20 points.

“We’ve had some struggles as of late putting the ball in the basket and we missed a lot of point-blank layups that I know we’re capable of making,” Smith said. “We just need to settle ourselves down because we’re getting some good looks.”

Washington State had no such shooting issues to start the game, hitting 13 of 16 shots in the first quarter and 22 of 30 in the first half. Cal, meanwhile, was 2-for-16 from the floor in the first period.

“These games are tough but you learn a lot from them,” said Cal freshman forward Evelien Lutje Schipholt, who had 15 points. “We’re just trying to be better for the future and for each other, because we’re a family and that’s what it’s all about.”

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Cougars-fast-start-too-much-for-Bears-14951779.php.

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