March 5, 2005
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- No. 8-seed California lost to No. 1-seed Stanford, 81-40, in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament Saturday evening at the HP Pavilion. Freshman center Jessica Lawson paced Cal with 10 points, as the Golden Bears finish the season with an 11-18 record, while the second-ranked Cardinal improve to 27-2.
"We came out and played with no fear," Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer said, "and despite having played them two times in a row and Stanford being as talented as they are, I really thought we came out extremely aggressive. I think our downfall was our shooting percentage (27.3 percent), and I would credit Stanford's defense to that."
The Bears trailed 9-8 with 17:04 left in the first half before the Cardinal opened the game up with a 16-2 run to pull ahead 25-10 with 8:21 remaining until halftime. Christy Pierce hit one of Stanford's eight three-pointers during the run.
After trailing 41-20 at the half, Cal began the second-half with a 7-0 run to close to within 14 points at 41-27 with 17:46 left in the game. The spurt began with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Sarah Pool and included a layup by Lawson and two free throws from senior forward Leigh Gregory.
The score was 47-31 with 13 minutes to play before a 15-0 Cardinal run, which included two threes from Susan King Borchardt and one from Kelley Suminski, helped Stanford regain control of the game for good.
Borchardt paced Stanford with 14 points, followed by Brooke Smith with 12 points, and Candice Wiggins and Azella Perryman with 10 each.
Horstmeyer inserted all five of her seniors -- Gregory, Kristin Iwanaga, Kiki Williams, Jacqueline Sanchez and Khadijah Coakley - with 3:24 left in the game. The quintet left the game with about minute to go with many fans rising to their feet and offering their applause.
Gregory was excited to have the opportunity to share the floor with her senior teammates one last time.
"We were saying how much fun we've had together and how we have made it through the journey," Gregory said about the seniors' huddle during the four-minute media timeout.
Gregory ends her career ranked 11th in Cal history with 1136 points, while Iwanaga owns the Pac-10 career free throw record at 89.0 percent (235-264) and leads the nation in free throw accuracy at 93.4 percent this season.
The future looks bright for Cal, as the Bears welcome the sixth-ranked recruiting class in the country for the 2005-06 season and return top newcomers from this year - Lawson and Krista Foster, who posted eight points off the bench tonight. Pool and junior forward Renee Wright are also among those returning next year. In addition, Cal looks forward to having freshmen Kelly O'Connell, Brio Rode and Seda Erdogan, along with junior Aminata Soumare available for more games then they were this year due primarily to injuries.
"I think the future of the program is nothing but on the rise," Gregory said. "If you look at where our coach started and where we have all started in the beginning, we are just taking huge strides. Especially with the class we have coming in and the class that came in this year, it's such a great foundation. I think it's going to be a winning team."