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No longer perfect in 2014: No.15 Cal Women's Basketball suffers first loss of '14 in road loss to No.19 ASU

Plagued by foul trouble pretty much the entire game, it was ASU 68, Cal 59 as the Bears drop a conference game for the first time this season.

This picture is not from today's game, but this happened a lot today.
This picture is not from today's game, but this happened a lot today.
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

With a margin of 32 to 19, Cal (12-4, 4-1) was called for significantly more fouls than its opponent on this Friday morning. Sure, some of the discrepancy came from all the late fouls as the Bears desperately tried to claw their way back into this game, but Bears were called for a bunch of hand checking fouls early and often in this one.

Not to take anything away from a very good ASU team (15-2, 4-1), the Bears let the referees beat them in this one. It was established fairly early that this game would be called pretty tight, but the Bears fail to make the proper adjustments. Both of the Bears' most essential players in Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray were in foul trouble in the first half. The Bears played valiantly, however to only be down by a single point (27-26) at the half after a buzzer beating 3, made by Mikayla Lyles (it was her only basket of the game).

With two fouls and a decent amount of time on the bench, Brittay Boyd quickly picked up a foul right at the start of the 2nd half. Coach Gottlieb opted to leave Boyd in the back-and-forth game. Bears actually were up by 4 points after a brilliant Brittany Boyd drive before things start to unravel with about 11 minutes left in the game. ASU made a couple buckets to tie the game up. The turning point, however, was Brittany Boyd picking up a hand-checking 4th foul that probably would not be called a foul in most game this year, even with the crackdown on hand-checking this year. Boyd was sent to the bench with 10:28 left in the game. ASU got two more quick buckets to go up 4 and never looked back.

Of course, the game was not decided until really late in the game with the Bears hovering at around a 6 point deficit. Boyd was forced to play with 4 fouls as the Bears fought to get back in the game. With 2:22 left, Boyd was called for a charging foul and her morning/afternoon is over.

Fortunately for the Bears, this was when Afure Jemerigbe took over the game. Helped out by ASU's inability to make free throws (only 19 for 34 for the game for 55.9%), Jemerigbe kept the Bears in the game by scoring a number of buckets, yet the Bears could not cut the lead to closer than 5.

For the ASU Sun Devils which employs a line change of 5 new players on a few occasions, the leading scorer of the game was Quinn Dornstauder with 13. Two other Sun Devils in double figure were Promise Amukamara and Deja Mann who both sunk critical free throws late.

Reshanda Gray recorded a double-double for the Bears with 17 points and 10 boards. Boyd and Jemerigbe contributed 11 and 16 points, respectively. Gennifer Brandon did have 10 rebounds for the Bears but only 3 points, as she is still finding her way to get back to her old form.

By the way, this is the very first Pac-12 loss by a LIndsay Gottlieb Cal team to an opponent that does not come from the state of California (mainly 'Furd). This fact has been stated numerous time today as well as the Colorado game last weekend.

Bears will next face a bad Arizona team on Monday (2 PM on Pac-12 Networks) to close out this 4 straight road game part of their schedule.