March 6, 1999
OAKLAND - Fifteenth-ranked Oregon claimed a share of its first Pac-10 title on the final day of the regular season at California's expense with an 80-57 victory Saturday at the Kaiser Arena.
With UCLA's win over Arizona today, UCLA and Oregon finished with a 15-3 Pac-10 record, but due to a tie breaker system, the Bruins earn the Pac-10's NCAA Tournament automatic bid. Oregon ends the regular season with a 24-5 overall mark.
Cal finishes at 12-15, 6-12, which is Cal's best overall and conference record since the 1992-93 season when the Bears went 19-10, 10-8 and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Courtney Johnson led Cal with 13 points off the bench, while senior Jennie Leander closed out her four-year Bear career with 12 points and seven rebounds. On Cal's career charts, Leander ranks 10th for points (1144) and moved into seventh for rebounds today (790), surpassing legendary Bear great Ingrid Dixson (789).
Oregon had a trio of players in double-figure scoring with Lisa Bowyer leading the way with 16 points, followed by Natasha O'Brien with 14 and Brianne Meharry with 10.
The Ducks jumped out to a 14-3 lead to start the game utilizing three, three pointers. But the Bears, winners of four of their last six games in come-from-behind fashion, fought back to 14-10 with 8:39 remaining in the half on four points from Jennie Leander and three from Courtney Johnson. The Duck mounted another run to extend their lead back to nine points, but the Bears closed to within two at 26-24 with a 9-2 run spurred by three of the Ducks 16 first half turnovers. Two points would be as close as Cal would get the rest of the game. Despite 29 percent shooting by the Bears, the Ducks entered the locker room with only a 33-26 lead.
"I thought we played well defensively in the first half, but couldn't get our offense going," said Cal head coach Marianne Stanley. "Some of that was their defense but the rest was our impatience."
Oregon was able to pull further ahead with a 71.4 shooting effort in the second half. The Ducks reeled off a 21-10 run to mount its biggest lead at 54-36. Cal wouldn't get any closer than 16 the rest of the game.
Three other Bears wrapped up their college careers today - Sherrise Smith, Jamilla Churchill and Kobie Kennon. Smith has her name etched in the ninth spot in Cal's career assists book (284).
Cal opens a new era at the Haas Pavilion beginning with the 1999-2000 basketball season.