California stuns No. 10 Arizona St 75-64 in Pac-12 quarters
SEATTLE (AP) Lindsay Gottlieb was waiting for her young, inexperienced California team to put together a stretch of consistency.
No better time than the postseason.
Pac-12 freshman of the year Kristine Anigwe scored 24 points, Asha Thomas added all 16 of her points in the second half and California stunned No. 10 Arizona State 75-64 on Friday in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals.
California, the No. 10 seed, knocked off Utah in overtime in the opening round on Thursday, then handed the Sun Devils their second straight loss. The only hope for the Golden Bears (15-16) to make the NCAA Tournament for a fifth straight season is to win the conference tournament after a lackluster regular season that included four- and five-game losing streaks in conference play.
The Bears will face either No. 12 UCLA or Arizona in the semifinals on Saturday.
''Sometimes young people and teams are going to do it on their own time,'' Gottlieb said. ''We want things to happen this second, but we are very, very young. What I'm excited about now is the talent and togetherness and youthful energy is back.''
Kelsey Brunner and Kianna Ibis led Arizona State (25-6) with 14 points each, but the Sun Devils will head into the NCAAs having lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
Arizona State had a chance at the outright regular-season conference title and the top seed in the tournament but lost at UCLA on the final day of the regular season and fell into a tie with Oregon State. The Beavers earned the No. 1 seed as a result of their win over Arizona State in the only regular-season meeting.
''Some of the things that happened last Sunday happened again today. Just in terms of not having great, tough responses and being who we have been all year long,'' Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
Penina Davidson added 17 points as the youthful Bears picked up their third win over a ranked team this season. California shot a tournament-record 69 percent led by Anigwe, who was 10-for-11 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Thomas was scoreless in the first half, but hit a trio of 3-pointers to open the second half as the Bears built a 43-33 lead. The Sun Devils pulled within 45-42, but Cal scored nine of the final 11 points in the third quarter and took a 10-point lead.
The lead reached 59-44 early in the fourth quarter after a basket inside by Anigwe and the fourth 3-pointer from Thomas. Cal's lead reached 17 before Arizona State began chipping away with Anigwe on the bench after picking up her fourth foul.
Five straight points from Sabrina Haines - including just the second 3-pointer for the Sun Devils - pulled Arizona State within 66-57 with 4:40 left. After Cal's 21st turnover, Davis' 3-pointer rimmed out and Davidson scored on the interior for the Bears to push the lead back to 11.
California became the first No. 10 seed to beat a No. 2 seed in tournament history. It was the second straight year the No. 1 or 2 seed was knocked out in the quarterfinals. Top-seed Oregon State lost to Colorado in the quarterfinals last year.
California: Thomas had scored in double figures in just two of the previous 10 games. ... Cal is now 5-1 against Arizona State in the Pac-12 tourney.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils allowed 70 points for just the third time this season. They are 1-2 in those games. ... Ibis was averaging 2.6 points.
California: The Bears will play in the Pac-12 semifinals on Saturday.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils will play in the NCAA Tournament.