LEXINGTON, Ky. — Asha Thomas led a balanced attack with 17 points and No. 24 California won its sixth straight, defeating cold-shooting Kentucky 62-52 on Thursday.
Mikayla Cowling added 15 points, including 10 in the second quarter that was critical for the Golden Bears (9-2). Kianna Smith, who matched Thomas’ three 3-pointers, added 14 points and Penina Davidson had 13.
Maci Morris led Kentucky (8-5), which has lost four straight, with 21 points. Despite 25 offensive rebounds and 24 more shots, the Wildcats finished at a season-low 26.5 percent (18 of 68), shooting better behind the arc (7 of 20).
Cal held Kentucky without a field goal for the final 8:05 of the second quarter and scored eight points off turnovers, to turn a 20-15 deficit into a 30-27 halftime lead.
The Wildcats scored the first six points of the third quarter to regain the lead but the Bears went on a 10-0 run, five by Smith, to close the period and lead 46-37. Kentucky went the final 6:30 without a field goal.
Cal made 7 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter to protect the lead.