No. 6 George Washington Hits Buzzer Beater to Edge No. 3 Cal
March 24, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Sarah-Jo Lawrence got George Washington back into the regional semifinal just in the nick of time.
Lawrence rebounded a missed shot by Kimberly Beck and beat the buzzer with a shot from the baseline to give sixth-seeded George Washington an improbable 55-53 comeback victory over No. 3 California on Monday night.
The winning shot was set up when Natasha Vital traveled while trying to call timeout for Cal (27-7) with less than 6 seconds remaining. Lawrence hit the game-tying shot moments earlier after Vital shot an airball as the shot clock wound down.
The winning shot sent the Colonials (27-6) into a delirious celebration that had to be put on hold for a moment as the officials checked the replay to make sure the shot got off on time. As soon as the basket was signaled good, they headed to midcourt and danced on the NCAA logo. They waved at the crowd while jumping up and down.
George Washington (27-6) advanced to play the winner of Monday night's game between Iowa State (21-12) and Rutgers (25-6) in the Greensboro Regional semifinal.
Cal blew a seven-point lead in the final 4 minutes, failing to score in the last 3:20 of the game as the Bears missed out on advancing to the regional semifinals for the first time in school history.
Antelia Parrish scored 15 points to lead George Washington and Lawrence added 13. Jessica Adair had 11 and Beck, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, was held to six on 2-for-14 shooting.
Walker led Cal with 19 points and nine rebounds. Gray-Lawson added 14 points and a career-high nine boards. Hampton was held to four points and committed six turnovers. Cal had 14 turnovers in all, none bigger than the travel in the final seconds that cost the Bears a chance at their first trip to the regional final in school history.
This matchup between two of the stingiest defenses in the country proved to be the low-scoring affair people expected, but the Colonials were able to come up with the big baskets when they needed them.
After Cal opened a seven-point lead with 4 minutes to go, Parrish hit a 3-pointer to get George Washington right back into striking distance. After two free throws by Walker made it a six-point game, Whitney Allen scored underneath to get it back to four.
Gray-Lawson missed the front-end of a one-and-one and Adair scored to make it a two-point game. The Colonials missed a chance to tie the game at 53 when they committed a shot-clock violation coming out of a timeout with 48.9 seconds to go. But Cal couldn't capitalize as Vital shot an airball as the shot clock wound down.
Lawrence then pushed the ball upcourt and tied the game with a layup with 12.1 seconds to go.
The Colonials packed their defense around Walker and Hampton in the post, forcing Cal's outside shooters to beat them. That is usually a sound strategy against the Bears, but it did not work well early when Cal hit its first four shots from long range and took a 31-23 halftime lead.