LUBBOCK, Texas - Despite a career-high 33 points from Ki-Ki Moore, No. 2 seed and sixth-ranked California handed 15th seeded Fresno State a 90-76 season-ending defeat in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship on Saturday in the United Spirit Arena.
In Fresno State's first season under head coach Raegan Pebley, the Bulldog finished 24-9 overall and made the programs sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The 24 wins by the 'Dogs tied for the most-ever under a first-year head coach at the school.
"It's very said. This is a great bunch of girls, we've had a great year and we're really happy we got the Mountain West championship," said senior guard Rosie Moult, who scored 15 points in her final game. "That was one thing we never thought we could do this year, so that was a great accomplishment. Obviously we're disappointed in this game, but if you look back on the year we had a great year."
Moore's 33 points came on 12-of-28 shooting and she had six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Her point total was three off the school single-game record, was the most ever scored by a Bulldog in a NCAA Tournament game and the most ever scored by a player against Cal in the NCAA Tournament.
"My teammates got me open, I got them open and we knocked down big shots tonight," Moore said. "Unfortunately, we just came up short."
Fresno State's 76 points are the most the Bulldogs have scored in their six NCAA Tournament games in program history, but the difference in the game was Cal's inside presence. The Bears (29-3) out-rebounded the 'Dogs by 23, collected 16 offensive rebounds and scored 56 of their 90 points in the paint.
"They're a very well built team, there has been some great recruiting that has gone on at Cal," Pebley said. "They've got perimeter players that you have to respect enough from the 3-point line, they got an inside game that is tremendous off their second, third and fourth chance opportunities."
The Bulldogs were able to hit 12 3-pointers in the game, the most ever surrendered by the Bears in a NCAA Tournament game. Moult hit four of those, as she had six rebounds and three steals to go along with her 15 points.
"That's one of our focuses," Moult said of Fresno State hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half. "We have great 3-point shooters, but we also have great attackers. If we hit our shots, that opens up the drive so that is what we were trying for."
Cal was led by guard Brittany Boyd, who scored 21 points, had 13 rebounds and nine assists. Cal did a good job protecting the ball against the Bulldog press and only had 14 turnovers in the game. Fresno State entered the contest forcing over 20 turnovers per game.
"We wanted to create an up-tempo game," Pebley said of the Bulldogs' plan against Cal. "We wanted to get out and try to turn them over and get some steals. To their credit, Brittany Boyd handled the ball really well and I think their bigs that handled the ball against our press did a pretty good job."
After forcing Cal to open the game shooting 3-of-17 in the first eight minutes, the Bears closed the half by making 18-of-20 shots to take a 48-41 lead at the half. Cal scored 34 of its 48 first-half points in the paint.
Fresno State used 3-point shooting to stay in the game in the first 20 minutes. The 'Dogs were 8-of-16 from downtown and six of the seven Bulldogs that played in the first half hit a three. Moore scored 16 points in the first half.
"We really did a pretty good job of containing their second-chance opportunities," Pebley said of the Bulldogs first-half performance. "They only had six offensive rebounds in the first half, but I think they had 10 in the second half. That created great opportunities for them to get buckets, to get their defense set - we weren't able to run on them as much - and they really did a great job of locking in defensively."
After shooting 45.7 percent from the field in the first half, Fresno State hit just two of its first 12 shot in the first seven minutes coming out of the locker room. That allowed Cal to open up a 61-48 lead with 12:50 left in the game.
Moult's fourth 3-pointer of the game at 11:53 cut the Bear lead back down to 10.
That Cal lead would remain around 10 points the rest of the way. Fresno State started fouling the Bears down the stretch to try to cut into the lead, but Cal hit enough free throws and continued its rebounding dominance to keep Fresno State from coming back.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics