March 1, 2002
EUGENE, Ore. - Cal senior Ami Forney scored her 14th career double-double in a 46-42 loss to UCLA Friday night at McArthur Court in the opening round of the inaugural Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament.
"I thought you saw a very intense game, a very physical, aggressive basketball game," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "I can't say whether it was a good game for spectators. But, I do know that intensity was there by both teams."
The ninth-seeded Bears end their season with a 7-21 overall record and a 2-16 Pac-10 mark. With their third win over Cal this season, the eighth-seeded Bruins (9-19, 4-14) move on to play top-seeded Stanford in the quarterfinals Saturday at 6 p.m.
Down 45-42, Cal had the ball with a chance to tie the game with eight seconds to play, but a Jackie Lord three-pointer rimmed out.
Forney posted 11 points and a season-high 12 rebounds to post her seventh double-double of the season. Cal out-rebounded UCLA for the third time this year, 37-31. Freshman forward Leigh Gregory added eight points, four rebounds and three steals for Cal.
Cal's offense couldn't match its defense in the season finale. Their 16 steals tied their season high, and tonight's game was the 11th time this year Cal has held an opponent to 60 or fewer points. However, the Bears are only 4-7 in those games.
"Our defense was the best it's been in 10 games," said Horstmeyer. "I think we were really ready. I felt good about our team's effort. I felt really good about where our team was mentally and our practices this past week. We all went into this game very confident and believed we could beat UCLA."
Cal shot only 27.1 percent for the game, but UCLA wasn't much better at 34.9 percent.
UCLA played zone against Cal for almost the entire game. The Bears handled the zone early in the first half, as they jumped out to a 14-9 lead behind seven points from Forney with 10:26 to play in the first half.
The first of two three pointers from Natalie Nakase helped UCLA tie the game at 14. The Bruins would go up 20-16, but Cal entered the locker room up 21-20 after a three-pointer from Gregory.
Cal scored the first six points of the second half, four from two Forney baskets, to build its biggest lead of the game at 26-20. The Bruins zone collapsed around Forney the rest of the game and held her scoreless for the final 18 minutes.
After Cal led 30-26 with 14:30 left in the game, UCLA went on a 13-0 run behind five of Gennifer Arranaga's game-high 17 points.
Over the final 9 minutes, 49 seconds, Cal held UCLA to only seven points as it mounted its comeback, closing to within one at 43-32, but the Bears ran out of time. Igniting Cal's comeback was 6-4 sophomore center Olga Volkova, who grabbed three steals in five minutes of action. She had missed the previous seven games because of an ankle sprain and an investigation into her amateur eligibility.
The future looks bright for Cal, which returns four starters and 14 letterwinners next season. Cal graduates Forney and reserve guard Janet Franey. Forney summed up Cal's future best.
"The program is headed in a positive direction," said Forney. "Coach has recruited some great athletes and great people and when you have that combination you are going to get there. They work extremely hard. They're smart players, and they are great people. I just know that if they continue to work as hard as they did this year in the future, only good things will happen."
And, as for hers and Franey's future?
"Janet and I were talking about that the other day how we haven't had as many wins as we would like," said Forney. "We have to look at it in perspective. We attended the number one university in the nation. We've been taught by some of the best professors in the nation, and we've been surrounded by great people. You have to look at things in the broader scheme. We're prepared for the future. Overall, we had a great career. We've had lots of fun, lots of great memories, and the adversity we've had in basketball, we believe has made us stronger for the future. So, when we do go into situations where our backs are against the wall, we'll know how to persevere."