March 3, 2007
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sophomore forward/center Devanei Hampton posted 21 points and nine rebounds to lead No. 24 California to a 63-51 victory over Oregon Saturday morning in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament at HP Pavilion. The third-seeded Golden Bears improved to 23-7, the program's best record through 30 games in school history, and are only one victory shy of matching the 1983-84 team (24-8) for the school record for wins in a season.
Hampton, who was crowned the Pac-10 Player of the Year March 1, has led Cal in scoring in nine of the last 10 games and reached the 20-point milestone for the 10th time this season. Sophomore forward/center Ashley Walker tallied her Pac-10-leading 11th double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Natasha Vital registered 16 points, and senior guard Keanna Levy added 10 points for the Bears.
Cal will play in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the first time in the six-year history of the event. The Bears will face the winner of the No. 2-seeded Arizona State vs. No. 7-seeded UCLA game Sunday at 2 p.m. on Fox Sports Net.
Cal led by one at the half at 27-26 and clung to a one-point lead at 39-38 following a jumper by Carolyn Ganes, who led the sixth-seeded Ducks (16-13) with 19 points, with 11:32 to play in the game.
Ignited by a steal and two free throws by Walker, Cal went on an 11-0 run to grab a 50-38 advantage with 5:33 remaining on the clock. Four different players scored for the Bears during the run, including Hampton who had four points and Levy who hit her second three-pointer of the game. The Bears switched their defense during the decisive run and increased their pressure, holding the Ducks scoreless for six minutes, thirty-seconds until Cicely Oaks drained a three-pointer with 5:02 on the clock.
Oregon, which began the game as the Pac-10's top three-point shooting team at 36.4 percent, made two more of their eight three-pointers before the end of the game but couldn't get any closer than seven points. Walker gave Cal its biggest lead of the game at 61-48 after making 1-of-2 free throws with 57 ticks to go.
Oregon led 7-6 with 13:58 to play in the first half before Hampton scored on a rebound and putback to ignite a 12-2 Cal run. The Bears led 18-9 with 8:10 left until halftime with Levy hitting a three-pointer and Walker converting a three-point play to help Cal temporarily pull away.
Vital nailed a three-pointer to give Cal its biggest lead of the half at 21-11 with 6:49 to go. The Ducks scored five straight points, including one of Oaks' three three-pointers today, to bring Oregon to within five at 21-16.
After a long jumper by Krista Foster, Cal rebuilt its lead back to 27-18. Following a 30-second timeout, Oregon regrouped to close the half on an 8-0 run, highlighted by two three-pointers by Ganes with Hampton closely guarding her.
Hampton posted 10 points and Vital had nine, as the Bears entered the locker room up 27-26. Ganes registered 10 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Oregon went up one on its first possession of the second half before Walker, who sat for over eight minutes in the first half with two fouls, posted four points to help put Cal ahead, 33-28, less than two minutes into the second half.
The Bears took a 37-30 lead following a free throw from Hampton, but the Ducks continued to hang around for most of the second half.
Cal has won two-of-three games from Oregon this season and has defeated the Ducks in the schools' two meetings in the Pac-10 Tournament. In 2004, the Bears downed the Ducks, 82-57, in a first-round match-up.
Tamika Nurse (12 points) and Oaks (11 points) also notched double-figure points for Oregon. On the strength of a 50-percent effort in the second half, Cal shot 42.9 percent for the game and held Oregon to 34.5 percent. The Bears, who lead the conference in free throws attempted per contest, shot 72 percent from the foul line (18-of-25), while the Ducks hurt their cause with a 45.5 percent effort (5-of-11).