Dec. 2, 2001
BERKELEY - No. 13 Georgia handed California its first loss of the 2001-02 campaign, edging the Golden Bears, 54-48, Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the Oakland Tribune Classic at Haas Pavilion.
Senior forward Ami Forney, playing through a shoulder injury sustained in the first minute of yesterday's game, led all scorers with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Georgia senior forward Tawana McDonald countered with 19 points and 13 boards. The double-double was Forney's first of the season and eighth of her career.
For the second consecutive game, Cal (4-1) jumped out to a big lead to start off the contest, outscoring the Lady Bulldogs (5-0) 12-0. Georgia didn't to get on the scoreboard until 8:30 had ticked off the clock, when Camille Murphy made a layup fresh out of a timeout.
"I thought that we came out and played with incredible defensive intensity," said Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer. "I really feel the team gave all their heart. Though it was a well-played game by our players, Georgia ended up coming out on top."
Both teams displayed poor shooting efforts in the first half as Georgia converted 30.8 percent of its attempts while Cal made just 26.9 percent of its shots. The Bears out-rebounded the Lady Bulldogs edging Georgia's huge frontline, 45-38. Cal sophomore guard LaTasha O'Keith contributed a career-high nine rebounds.
Shooting just a 44.4 percent clip (8-18) from the charity stripe in the first half, the Bears failed to increase its lead in the first half, and went into the intermission with just a 22-16 lead.
"I can accept that (we shot 23.8 percent from the field), but its harder to accept the 50 percent from the free throw line (for the game)," said Horstmeyer. "And you miss 17 free throws and all you need is half of those (to win the game)."
The poor shooting effort would come back to haunt Cal in the second period as Georgia chipped away at the Bears' six-point halftime lead. The Lady Dogs took the lead for good at the 12:27 mark amidst a 15-0 run, when freshman center Kara Braxton made a jump shot to put Georgia up 30-28.
By the time junior forward Amber White made the back end of a pair of free throws to end the Lady Dog's run, Georgia had a 38-29 advantage. The Bears responded with a 7-0 mini-run of their own, cutting the lead to six points with 3:25 left to go in the game, but the Lady Dog's didn't relinquish the lead. Georgia converted on six of eight free throws in the last minute to seal the victory.
"I think our team needs to know that we can play with anybody, but I also want them to expect to win, and we went into the game expecting to win," added Horstmeyer.
The Bears return to action Wednesday, Dec. 5, as San Francisco travels across the bay to battle Cal at Haas Pavilion at 7 p.m.
In the consolation game today, UNLV went on an 83-28 romp of Central Connecticut State to improve to 5-1 on the year. The Blue Devils dropped to 0-5 overall. Four Lady Rebels scored in double figures, paced by senior forward Linda Frohlich with 20 points. Devil's forward Kim Kopeko and guard Tara Loller scored six points a piece to lead CCSU.
The Oakland Tribune Classic all-tournament team was announced at the conclusion of the championship game. Georgia's Tawana McDonald and Kara Braxton, Cal's Ami Forney and LaTasha O'Keith, and UNLV's Linda Frohlich earned all-tournament honors. McDonald also was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after a combined 25 points and 18 rebounds on the weekend.