Bears Hold off Women of Troy in Overtime
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/02/2008

Feb. 2, 2008

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BERKELEY, Calif.-- Junior forward/center Devanei Hampton recorded 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 9 California to a 60-55 overtime win over USC Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears improved to 19-3 overall and maintained their one-game lead atop the Pac-10 at 10-1. USC dropped to 13-9 (6-5 Pac-10) after losing for the sixth straight time to Cal.

The most important points Hampton posted all night were the two free throws she sank with 25.1 seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 49-49 and gave the Bears new life. With five seconds to play USC guard Camille LeNoir, who registered a game-high 21 points, missed a jumper that would have likely given her team the victory.

Cal sophomore guard Natasha Vital secured the defensive rebound, and the game went to extra minutes. Vital coralled a career-high eight rebounds to go with her eight points and four assists.

Junior forward/center Ashley Walker put Cal ahead, 51-49, on her team's first possession of overtime on a layp after receiving a pass from Hampton. USC tied Cal on two occasions but never grabbed a lead in the extra period. Hampton put the Bears back up for good at 55-53 by sinking a jump shot with 1:34 on the clock.

Vital converted four consecutive free throws and Walker, who amassed 11 points in the game, added one more free throw to give Cal a 60-53 edge with 11 seconds to go. USC's Nadia Parker, who had 12 points off of the bench, made two free throws with one second left to account for the final score.

LeNoir scored on a a layup to give the Women of Troy a 41-40 advantage with 9:29 remaining in the second half. But, the Bears wouldn't be denied as they pursued their 14th straight home victory. Hampton capped a 7-0 Cal run with two free throws and a layup, stretching the Bears lead to 47-41 with 5:28 left on the clock.

Parker began and ended USC's rally with layups, the last giving the Women of Troy a 49-47 lead with 1:33 left in the contest.

Cal led 10-8 almost seven minutes into the first half following a free throw line jump shot by sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye. Behind two three-pointers from LeNoir and one by Morghan Medlock, USC went on an 11-2 run to grab a 19-12 lead with 8:43 remaining in the half.

The Bears responded with an 8-0 spurt, which included four of Hampton's 10 first-half points, to regain the lead at 20-19 at the 5:19 mark.

USC briefly went up 21-20 on a layup by LeNoir, but Cal went on a 7-0 run to secure its biggest lead of the half at 27-21 following a three-pointer by Vital with 2:04 to play. USC scored the final four points of the half to trail 27-25 at the break.

Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson tallied 11 points for Cal, playing 44 of a possible 45 minutes. Cal sophomore guard Lauren Greif saw 43 minutes of action and led the Bears with three important steals. N'diaye was Cal's leader off the bench, posting five points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal. During a three-minute span in the second half N'diaye hit a jumper and assisted on three straight baskets by Walker.

Cal shot well from the free throw line for the third straight game, sinking 82.6 percent of its chances (19-of-23). That high percentage keyed the win as the Bears shot 31.1 percent from the field. USC was 36.1 percent from the floor but only made seven trips to the foul line.

Cal, the Pac-10's leader for rebounding margin, held a 47-33 advantage on the glass today.

The Bears hit the road to face Oregon State Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. and Oregon, Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. The game against the Ducks can be seen live on Fox Sports Net.