March 4, 2006
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Freshman center Devanei Hampton posted a game-high 23 points and 14 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to prevent sixth-seed California from falling to third-seed UCLA, 80-63, Saturday morning in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament at HP Pavilion.
The 80 points are the most Cal has surrendered since a 90-87 overtime loss at UCLA Jan. 29. In the seven games since that setback, Cal -- which entered today's game ranked second in the conference in scoring defense at 59.1 ppg -- had given up 54.9 ppg.
The Golden Bears are now 18-11 overall, and find themselves on the bubble of the school's first NCAA Tournament bid since 1993. The 65-team NCAA Tournament will be announced March 13 at 4 p.m. PT, and the 40-team WNIT field will be announced later that evening.
Hampton recorded her Pac-10-leading ninth double-double today and was only one point off of her career high, which she set in the road loss to UCLA. She shot 8-of-13 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the foul line today. In the three games against the Bruins this season, Hampton averaged 22.3 ppg and 13.3 rpg.
Cal led 5-3 on a three-pointer by Alexis Gray-Lawson to start the game and a layup by Ashley Walker before UCLA rattled off six unanswered points to grab an 11-5 lead with 17:06 left in the first half. Noelle Quinn had the hot hand early for the Bruins, scoring eight points to give her team a 20-11 edge before the 12 minute media timeout.
Quinn scored on a fast-break layup to give UCLA (18-10) a 28-17 advantage with 5:33 to go until halftime. Hampton and senior forward Renee Wright scored consecutive basket to bring the Bears to within seven. Quinn, who posted 15 of her team-high 18 points in the first half, capped a 9-4 run with a trey, giving the Bruins their biggest lead of the half at 37-25. UCLA entered the locker room up 39-29. Gray-Lawson led Cal with 11 of her 13 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Cal committed 16 of its 23 turnovers in the first half, allowing UCLA to score many of its points in transition. The Bruins had nine first-half miscues and 13 for the game. Both teams shot well, including a 50 percent effort from the Bears in the first half and 46.3 percent for the game. UCLA hit 53.2 percent of its chances overall.
After UCLA built a 50-36 lead, Gray-Lawson converted a layup and Walker made two strong post moves to propel Cal to within 50-42 with 13:05 on the clock, but that was as close as the Bears could get. Lisa Willis responded on UCLA's next possession with a three-pointer, igniting a 9-2 spurt to put the Bruins ahead by 15 with 10:13 remaining in the game.
A layup by Chinyere Ibekwe gave the Bruins a 20-point margin at 66-46. Cal kept battling down the stretch behind the offensive exploits of Hampton, who posted 11 of her points in the final seven minutes. Hampton sank her sixth and seventh straight free throws to cut the deficit to 77-63 at the 2:09 mark.
Nikki Blue and Willis posted 14 points each for UCLA, and Ibekwe added 10 points off of the bench. Walker notched nine points and eight boards for Cal.
Cal's starters played 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40 minutes, with the bench logging a combined 10 minutes. Wright, the team's only senior, played 40 minutes and tied her teammate Jene Morris with eight points.
This is the second time UCLA and Cal have played each other in the Pac-10 Tournament. The No. 8-seed Bruins held off the No. 9-seed Bears, 46-42, in the inaugural 2002 conference tournament. Cal won first-round games each of the next three seasons, with 2006 marking the Bears' highest seed and the first time they received a first-round bye.