Anigwe, Thomas set records, but Bears fall against Beavers
The Cal women’s basketball team keeps racking up individual records.
The Bears also keep racking up losses.
On a Sunday afternoon when Kristine Anigwe moved into first place on the school’s all-time rebounding list and Asha Thomas took over the top spot for 3-pointers, the personal achievements weren’t enough in an 82-74 loss to No. 7 Oregon State.
“Records and legacy are nice, but what’s more important is getting wins,” said Thomas, the senior point guard who had 15 points and four assists. “At the position we’re at right now, we need to get wins to prepare for the future. We’ve just got to be hungrier. We’ve got to really want it.”
Cal (14-9, 5-7 Pac-12) has lost three in a row for the second time this season and for the first time in conference play. The current skid has cast a shadow over the individual brilliance of Anigwe.
The 6-foot-4 forward/center had 31 points on 10-for-18 shooting and 18 rebounds against Oregon State (20-4, 10-2), marking her 24th consecutive double-double. It also marked the third straight game that she stamped her name in the Cal record books, only to see her team lose.
On Feb. 2, Anigwe tied Colleen Galloway for the school’s all-time scoring lead in a loss at Stanford. On Friday, Anigwe took sole possession of the record in a loss to Oregon, and on Sunday, she surpassed Gennifer Brandon’s school record of 1,219 rebounds. Anigwe has 1,235.
Anigwe’s record-setting rebound was one of her more impressive boards as she switched onto high-scoring guard Destiny Slocum and contested the shot, raced back to block out Madison Washington and inhaled the ball.
The Bears went 1-3 in four consecutive games against top-10 opponents — a steeplechase of a stretch that no other team in the country has to try to navigate this season. They showed signs of preparing for a season-ending span of six games — including four on the road — that probably will determine whether the program will make its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
On top of beating then-No. 8 Stanford on Jan. 31, Cal led for about 17 minutes against Oregon State. Playing some of its most inspired defense of the season and getting its usual dominance inside from Anigwe, Cal led for 13½ minutes of the first half.
Anigwe’s free throw with 4:47 remaining in the first half gave the Bears a 35-24 lead, but Oregon State started clicking in the closing minutes. The Beavers, who came into the game averaging 9.6 made 3-pointers per game, didn’t make their second one until the 2:51 mark of the second quarter. Aleah Goodman’s 3-pointer was part of an 11-2, half-closing run that trimmed Cal’s lead to 37-35.
After Cal’s Kianna Smith and Thomas opened the game a combined 0-of-10 from the floor, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range, Thomas made two long balls in the third quarter. Her second at the 4:25 mark of the period put Cal up 48-46, but it was the Bears’ last field goal of the quarter.
Behind six points from Goodman, Oregon State closed the quarter on a 13-3 run and went into the fourth with a 59-51 lead. Cal came firing back from 3-point range, with the Beavers packing a 1-3-1 zone inside the arc.
Thomas made two, Smith got one to fall, and Recee Caldwell added one to trim the Bears’ deficit to 66-63 with 6:42 on the clock. Thomas’ 3-pointer with 4:17 left gave her 212 for her career, moving her past Alexis Gray-Lawson for first in the school’s record book and trimming Oregon State’s lead to 72-70, but Cal got no closer.
“We just went through the toughest four-game stretch by statistical numbers that I think anyone will have in the country all year, and yet, with a whole lot of respect for the teams we played, we’re disappointed,” Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We’re not happy to get one out of the four.”