March 24, 2008
STANFORD, Calif.- No. 3-seeded California's historic season ended with a last second 55-53 loss to No. 6-seeded George Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Monday night at Maples Pavilion. The Golden Bears, who set a school record for wins in a season, end 2007-08 with a 27-7 record, while the Colonials advance to the Sweet 16 with a 27-6 mark.
Junior forward Ashley Walker led Cal with 19 points, nine rebounds and for assists, marking the third time in four NCAA Tournament games that that the All-American has led the Bears in scoring. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson was also in double-figure points with 14.
Cal led 31-23 at halftime behind nine points and six rebounds from Walker. The game was extremely close for the entire second half, with the Bears maintained a lead or a tie until the game winning shot by Sarah-Jo Lawrence with under two seconds left on the clock. Lawrence finished with 13 points.
The Colonials tied the game briefly at 36-36 on a jumper by Jazmine Adair, but Walker put the Bears back on top with an offensive rebound and putback with 11:36 to go in the contest.
Cal freshman guard Kelsey Adrian capped a 7-2 run with her second three-pointer of the game, giving the Bears a 43-38 advantage with 8:51 remaining in the game.
Gray-Lawson sank her third trey to set Cal's NCAA Tournament record for a game and extend her team's edge to 48-42 with 6:05 left. The Bears continued to gain momentum with a Gray-Lawson's three-point play that gave them a 51-44 lead at the 4:08 mark.
Antelia Parrish, who led George Washington with 15 points and 10 rebounds, answered with a three-pointer at the other end of the court. Walker put the Bears back ahead by six at 53-47 with two free throws, but Cal was held scoreless over the final 3:19 of the game.
Cal, which led 53-51, was able to draw what appeared to be a critical shot-clock expiration call on GW with 47 seconds to go but couldn't capitalize on the offensive end.
Lawrence tied the game at 53-53 with 13 seconds left. Cal called timeout, and sophomore guard Natasha Vital dribbled the ball up court and made a motion with her hands for a timeout, but instead was whistled for a travel.
George Washington got the ball with under six seconds remaining. Kimberly Beck missed a jumper, but Lawrence got the rebound and converted the game-winning shot as time expired.
George Washington led 5-1 to start the game before three-pointers by Gray-Lawson and Vital propelled Cal to a 15-7 lead. The Bears made 8-of-20 three-pointers for the game to set a school record for most three-pointers made and attempted in an NCAA Tournament game.
Lawrence hit a jumper to bring her team to within 15-12, but Cal responded with an 8-2 run, which included three-pointers by Adrian and Gray-Lawson, to give the Bears their largest lead of the game at 23-14 with 6:54 left in the first half.
The Colonials got to within four before Walker made two layups to send Cal into the locker room up 31-23.
Cal held a 44-38 rebounding advantage for the game, with Walker, Devanei Hampton and Gray-Lawson each hauling in nine boards. Walker became Cal's all-time leader for rebounds in a season with 317.
Jessica Adair contributed 11 points for GW.
Cal was without sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye, a primary reserve who injured her right knee against San Diego on Saturday.
Cal returns everyone from this year's team except for senior forward Krista Foster. This season will be remembered as the best in school history. In addition to surpassing the 1983-84 Bears (24-8) for the school record for wins, this year's team earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 1993, posted a program-best 15-3 Pac-10 mark, finished an all-time best of second in the Pac-10 and advanced to its first Pac-10 Tournament final.