Women: California 64, Washington State 49
Despite turning the ball over 25 times, No. 2-seed California (24-8, 13-5 Pac-12) used a strong inside presence to end Washington State's (13-20, 5-13 Pac-12) postseason run with a 64-49 victory in the 100th Pac-12 Tournament game.
"We're really good when we're playing with a lot of energy, and I thought in a very short prep for Washington State, we were able to take away some of their looks," said California coach Lindsay Gottlieb. "Our big players made plays. Brittany Boyd and Gennifer Brandon in particular really like space. They like to make plays in space and they found those gaps."
The Golden Bears opened up the game with an 8-0 run in the first four minutes of the game. Yet the Cougars were not going to give up so easily. Instead they used a lot of energy and physical play to engage in their own 12-6 run to pull within one point with 10:52 to play. California responded with their own run, but with a minute left in the half, Washington State refused to go away. The Cougars used energy and confidence to put together a 6-0 run to tie up the score at 26.
"I have to respect their energy level and how they came out at halftime and before the game," said California's Brittany Boyd. "I just think that their confidence was really high."
After battling through the first half, Washington State kept up its energy with a second half surge that saw them enjoy a lead with 12:14 to play. Whether it was fatigue from playing their third game in three days, a turnover by Washington State's Rosetta Adzasu and layup by Cal's Talia Caldwell with 6:52 to play gave the Golden Bears a breakthrough.
"I think it was more of a residual of three games in three nights for us," said Washington State coach June Daugherty. "Early on (in the season) we had the depth to keep rotating and keep them a little bit fresher. We didn't have that luxury here at the tournament."
California shot 48.2 percent for the game, but by controlling the boards with 59 rebounds as compared to Washington State's 25, their big time play came from their big players. Brittany Boyd led the Bears with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Gennifer Brandon also contributed to the game with her own double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds. The Golden Bears also had standout performances from Talia Caldwell with 11 points and Reshanda Gray with 10. California also scored 42 of its 64 points from inside the paint.
"I think it is a real luxury as a coach to be able to look at them in March and say the rebounding thing is part of our identity," said Gottlieb. "When you come into a win-or-go-home game and say, 'Do what we do on the boards,' is a real factor for us."
Washington State shot 27 percent from the field and was led by Sage Romberg's 11 points and 10 points from April Cook.
California will now take on No. 1-seed Stanford in tomorrow's championship game at 11:30 a.m. This game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.