No. 2-Seeded Cal Beats No. 7-Seeded Oregon, 67-60, in Pac-10 Quarterfinals
March 8, 2008
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Natasha Vital had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and No. 10 California did just enough right when it counted Saturday, holding off Oregon 67-60 in the second round of the Pac-10 tournament.
Devanei Hampton added 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals and Ashley Walker scored 15 for the second-seeded Bears (25-5), who had their best regular season in school history. Hampton, the Pac-10 Player of the Year last season, shot 7-for-17, missed all but one of her 10 free-throw tries and committed a turnover in crunch time.
Alexis Gray-Lawson made four free throws in the final 14.5 seconds to seal it and finished with 14 points.
Cal -- which made 10 of 12 free throws over the final 1:33 -- will certainly need a better showing against Arizona State in Sunday's first semifinal. The third-seeded Sun Devils defeated Washington 83-64 in an earlier game Saturday.
Taylor Lilley, Oregon's only player averaging in double digits scoring, had 24 points and Kaela Chapdelaine 12 for the Ducks as the teams met up in the tournament's quarterfinal round for the second straight year.
Lilley's three-point play with 4:19 left cut Cal's lead to 56-49, then Nicole Canepa scored for the Ducks the next time down to make it a five-point game. Lilley converted another three-point play with 1:33 to go, making it 57-54, and she swished a 3 from the top with 15.4 seconds left to make it a two-point contest.
Oregon (14-17), the No. 7 seed that advanced by beating Washington State on Friday night, had its three-game winning streak snapped but hustled all the over the floor until the final buzzer. The Ducks' two games with Cal this season were decided by a combined 28 points.
The Bears hit four 3-pointers to match the school record for 3s in a season, tying the 1995-96 team that made 135. Gray-Lawson had one of those and now has a career-high 53 this season.
Cal has won eight of its last 10, but lost two of its final three conference games -- to rival Stanford by two points on Feb. 23 and a 74-66 loss at Washington last weekend to finish up the Pac-10 schedule and miss a chance at its first league title. Still, the Bears only dropped one spot in the poll after that defeat.
They built a double-digit lead on Rama N'diaye's banked-in 12-footer with 11:43 to play but Chapdelaine answered with a baseline 3 on the other end -- and Cal was hurt by 13-of-28 free-throw shooting despite making the clutch attempts late.
Oregon started the game 0-for-11 with seven turnovers in the opening 9 1/2 minutes as Cal jumped to a 16-0 lead. Canepa's shot barely rolled in at 10:03 for the Ducks' first points, then Oregon used a 15-1 run including 3s by Lilley and Micaela Cocks to get back within 19-17.
The Bears led 31-26 at the break, shooting 46 percent and making four steals.