Cal Loses Regular Season Finale to USC, 69-58

Feb. 24, 2002

LOS ANGELES - Cal led USC at the half but ended up losing a hard-fought, 69-58, decision in the regular season finale Sunday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

'I thought USC did a very good job adjusting at halftime,' said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'We knew they would make some adjustments. They adjusting by bringing players behind the zone, and they used their athleticism to get lay-ups.'

Cal finishes the regular season with a 7-20 record (2-16 Pac-10), while USC improved to 15-12 (11-7). The Women of Troy were able to overcome a 26-22 halftime deficit by shooting 56.3 percent in the second half after shooting only 26.3 in the first half.

Leigh Gregory paced Cal with a career-high 17 points. Also in double-figures were Ami Forney (16) and Kristin Iwanaga (14), who scored all of her points in the second half.

'Leigh Gregory was incredible,' said Horstmeyer. 'She was very mentally prepared and stepped up her play on both ends of the floor and made an impact for us.'

Ebony Hoffman led USC with 24 points, followed by 19 from Aisha Hollans and 13 from Rachel Woodward.

USC got out of the gate quickly, racing to a 15-4 lead behind nine points from Hoffman. Cal then responded with a 10-2 run to close the gap to 17-14 with eight minutes left until halftime. Following two free throws by Forney, the Bears had their first lead of the game at 23-22 and held a 26-22 lead at the break behind 11 points from Gregory. USC scored only seven points over the final 13:41 of the half and didn't score for the final 4:04.

The game stayed within four points for over half of the second half. Forney went out with her fourth foul at the 9:02 mark, and USC up 42-41. By the time Forney came back in with 6:55 to play, the Women of Troy had built a 50-43 lead and extended it to 18 with 4:15 to play. A long-range three-pointer from Iwanaga with time expiring brought the Bears to with 11.

The Bears shot 42.9 percent for the game to USC's 40.0. USC helped its cause by outrebounding Cal, 43-34, and forcing the Bears into 25 turnovers, while committing only 16.

Next up for the Bears is the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament, March 1-4, in Eugene, Ore. The Bears face UCLA in the opening round Friday at 8:45 p.m.

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