The California Golden Bears women’s basketball team punched their ticket to their first ever NCAA Final Four with a thrilling 65 – 62 overtime victory over the Georgia Lady Bulldogs in Spokane, WA. Georgia (28 – 7) forced overtime when Anne Marie Armstrong scored in the paint with 8.5 second left in regulation–after two huge offensive rebounds. Cal’s Layshia Clarendon threw up a 3-pointer as time expired that clanked off the rim to send the game into overtime.
But Cal (32 – 3) dominated the overtime period, as Clarendon scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half and overtime. Afure Jemerigbe scored 14 points, while Talia Caldwell chipped in 10 points for Cal. But Cal’s dominance on the boards provided the difference, as Reshanda Grey (11 rebounds), Jemerigbe (8 rebounds), Caldwell (8 rebounds), and Brittany Boyd (8 rebounds) cleaned the glass for the Golden Bears. Boyd also dished out five assists to her teammates.
Cal shot 34.3 percent (24-of-70) from the field, 23.8 percent (5-of-21) behind the 3-point line, and 50.0 percent (12-of-24) from the free throw line. Cal won the rebounding battle 54 to 41.
Georgia was led by Shacobia Barbee (14 points), Armstrong (11 points), and Jasmine James (10 points), but Jasmine Hassell was limited to seven points by Cal’s stingy defense. Barbee totaled 10 rebounds for a double-double, while James pulled down seven rebounds and dished out five assists, despite fouling out with 2:20 in regulation.
Georgia shot 36.5 percent (23-of-63) from the field, 23.5 percent (4-of-17) behind the 3-point line, and 66.7 percent (12-of-18) from the free throw line.
Cal slowly chipped away at Georgia’s 10-pound second half lead with a suffocating defense, as Clarendon went to work on the offensive end. Georgia managed just one field goal in the final 7:45 in regulation–Armstrong’s aforementioned bucket to knot the score at 52.
In the overtime, Cal scored nine straight points to pull away from the Lady Bulldogs, and when Barbee’s final halfcourt shot bounced off the backboard, Cal celebrated their date with destiny into the Final Four, where they will play the winner of the Louisville vs. Tennessee game.