Cal Battles USC to 86-79 Overtime Win
Feb. 22, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - Sophomore forward Ashley Walker posted a career-high 32 points and hauled in 11 rebounds to lead California to an 86-79 overtime victory over USC Thursday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears improved to 21-7 (11-6 Pac-10) with their second straight season sweep of USC, while the Women of Troy fell to 16-11 (10-7 Pac-10). The two teams began the game tied for third in the Pac-10.
Cal, which was coming off a 67-61 double-overtime road win over Oregon State Feb. 17, has now played a school-record four overtime games this season. The Bears are 2-2 in those games. Cal's 21 wins are the most it has amassed since the 1986-87 team went 21-10.
Walker's effort gave her 10 double-doubles on the season, equaling USC's Eshaya Murphy for Pac-10-high honors. Cal sophomore center Devanei Hampton contributed 25 points and eight rebounds, and freshman guard Natasha Vital tallied 15 points and dished off a career-high 10 assists to record her first double-double. Senior guard Keanna Levy added 11 points, including two critical three-pointers in the final 4:17 of regulation, to help the Bears erase an eight-point USC lead. Levy was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for the game.
USC led 64-56 with 4:57 to play in the second half after Murphy posted seven straight points, helping her grab team-high honors with 22. Hampton then hit two free throws to jumpstart a 10-2 Cal run that helped the Bears tie the game at 66-66 with 2:18 on the clock. Levy's second three-pointer during the stretch brought the Bears even.
The teams then traded one-point leads until Chloe Kerr's three-point play put USC ahead, 70-68, with 56 ticks to go. Walker tied the game at 70-70 with a layup 15 seconds later. On the other end of the floor, Jamie Hagiya drew a foul and was successful on her two free throw attempts. Walker was then fouled as she drove hard to the basket and drained both of her free throws with five seconds to play to send the game into overtime tied at 72-72.
Walker, who converted 14-of-16 free throws in the game, put the Bears ahead for good at 74-72 by nailing two more free throws less than a minute into the overtime period. After Morgahan Medlock made a layup to bring USC to within 76-74, Cal responded with a 10-0 run to secure its biggest lead of the game at 84-74 with 34 seconds left in extra time. Cal outscored USC, 14-7, in the overtime period by converting 12-of-14 free throws. Hampton led the Bears with four points in overtime and made her team's only field goal.
Cal had a height advantage in overtime after Kerr, who is 6-3, joined 6-3 Nadia Parker on the bench with five fouls 49 seconds into overtime.
Hagiya scored 11 of her 14 first-half points, including three three-pointers, to help USC grab a 15-7 lead with 14:18 to play in the first half. She was 4-of-6 from three-point range in the first half and 0-of-7 the remainder of the game, matching her career high of 16 points.
Cal responded with an 8-2 run, capped by a three-pointer by Vital, to close to within 17-15 with 11:01 left until halftime.
The Women of Troy rebuilt their lead to 22-15, but the Bears dug in defensively down the stretch of the opening half. Walker scored six of her 14 first-half points to key a 13-4 run that gave Cal its first lead of the game at 28-26 at the five-minute mark. Levy drained a three-pointer from the right baseline to put the Bears ahead.
Cal led 31-30 on a fadeaway jumper by Hampton before Jamie Funn converted a three-point play and Allison Jaskowiak sank a three-pointer to give USC a 36-31 edge. Vital sank her second three-pointer and freshman guard Lauren Greif hit a free throw to send the Bears into the locker room down only one at 36-35. Vital almost gave the Bears the lead with a half-court three-point attempt that rolled around the rim as time expired.
Hampton scored on a high-low pass from Walker to help Cal regain the lead at 39-38, and Vital scored on a steal and a difficult short jumper in transition to put the Bears up 41-40 with 16:51 remaining in the game.
Murphy notched five straight points, including a three-pointer, to give USC a 45-41 advantage. Walker then converted three free throws to cut the deficit to one. The Bears never let USC build a double-digit lead and hung around long enough to make a decisive run in the final minutes to send the game to overtime.
Cal shot 47.3 percent from the floor and 78.4 percent from the charity stripe, sinking 29-of-37 attempts. The Bears also held a 39-27 rebounding edge.
Cal hosts UCLA Saturday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. in the regular-season finale. The game can be seen live on Comcast SportsNet.