March 10, 2008
SAN JOSE, Calif.- No. 2-seeded California lost to No. 1-seeded Stanford, 56-35, Monday night in the Pac-10 Tournament final at HP Pavilion. The eighth-ranked Golden Bears dropped to 26-6 after making their first appearance in the title game, while the fourth-ranked Cardinal improved to 30-3.
Even though Stanford earned the Pac-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the conference tournament, Cal is expecting to earn its third straight NCAA bid for the first time in school history on Selection Monday. The 64-team field will be announced March 17 at 4 p.m. PT
Cal couldn't seem to get in sink against Stanford after defeating Oregon, 67-60, in the quarterfinals and Arizona State, 65-61, in the semifinals. Meanwhile, the Cardinal seemed fresher as their starters didn't play big minutes in blowout wins over Oregon State (65-41) and UCLA (78-45).
The Bears entered the game knowing they're capable of competing with the Cardinal, having lost to Stanford, 60-58, Feb. 23, in Berkeley. Cal held a 56-53 lead in the closing minutes of that game.
In the Pac-10 final, Stanford grabbed an 11-3 lead less than six minutes into the game. Cal, which began the game as the Pac-10's leader in scoring defense at 54.0 ppg, dug in defensively and held the Cardinal scoreless for the next four minutes. Unfortunately, the Bears couldn't get their own shots to start falling consistently.
Cal trailed 11-6, with Cal junior center Devanei Hampton scoring a layup and sophomore guard Lauren Greif sinking a three-pointer. Stanford senior guard Candice Wiggins, who led all scorers with 30 points, went on her own 13-0 run to give the Cardinal a 24-6 lead and control of the game.
Stanford led 36-15 at the half. Hampton scored the first basket of the second half, but that's as close as the Bears would get the rest of the contest. Both teams scored 20 points in the second half.
Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson, reserve sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye and freshman reserve forward/guard Kelsey Adrian led Cal with six points each. Gray-Lawson also led Cal with eight rebounds.
Kayla Pedersen added 13 points for Stanford.
Cal held Stanford to almost 20 points below its season scoring average.
Hampton was selected to the all-tournament team for the second straight season.
The Bears, who have already posted a school-record 26 wins, look to build upon the best season in school history in the NCAA Tournament.