Feb. 24, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - California rallied from 17 points down late in the first half to defeat UCLA, 88-69, Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Golden Bears improved to 22-7 (12-6 Pac-10), giving them the most wins in program history since the 1983-84 team set a school record at 24-8.
Cal also guaranteed itself that it would finish in sole possession of third place in the conference, equaling the 1991-92 team for the top Pac-10 showing in school history. This year's 12-6 league record also equals the 1991-92 Bears for the best Pac-10 mark in school history.
Sophomore center Devanei Hampton led Cal with her eighth double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds, and freshman guard Natasha Vital tallied her second consecutive double-double, tallying 18 points and equaling Thursday's career-high 10 assists vs. USC. Freshman guard Lauren Greif (21 points, career high), sophomore forward Ashley Walker (18 points) and senior guard Keanna Levy (10 points) also registered double-figure points for the Bears.
Cal trailed 34-17 with 3:55 remaining in the first half before the Bears' offense started to catch fire. Five straight points from Greif and a top of the key jumper by Hampton closed the gap to 34-24 with 1:38 on the clock. The Bears entered the locker room down 39-28 following a jumper by Vital, who converted 7-of-8 shots from the floor today.
The Bears hit 61.8 percent of their field goals over the final 20 minutes to propel them to a 60-point half. Cal opened the second half with a 16-4 run, capped by a steal and layup by Vital, to grab its first lead of the game at 44-33 with 14:33 remaining in the contest. Hampton tallied eight points, including two three-point plays, to help the Bears grab a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Lindsay Pluimer, who had 18 points for UCLA (13-17, 7-11 Pac-10), made a layup with 11:52 to play to keep her team within two points at 48-46. After that, Cal's pressure defense, transition game and three-point shooting (5-of-10 in the second half) helped the Bears build a 23-point lead at 85-62 following a layup by Walker with 1:16 on the clock.
There was one stretch in the second half Cal and UCLA combined to make five consecutive three-pointers, with Vital, Greif and Levy each draining one. Greif led her team with a 4-of-8 effort from three-point range, upping her season total to 47 three-pointers.
UCLA shot only 34.3 percent and committed nine of its 11 turnovers in the second half under intense defensive pressure from the Bears. Greif matched her career high of five steals, with all of the thefts coming in the second half. Cal finished the game with a 57.6 field goal percentage and held a 42-31 rebounding advantage. The Bears also drained 7-of-15 three-point attempts (46.7 percent). UCLA relied on the three, draining 10-of-20 attempts.
Noelle Quinn led UCLA with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Cal, which owns the third seed in next week's Pac-10 Tournament, will face sixth-seeded Oregon in the quarterfinals Saturday, March 3, at 11 a.m. at HP Pavilion in San Jose. The Ducks (16-12, 8-10) lost on the road to Washington, 61-46, today.