SPOKANE, Wash. —
Shacobia Barbee led Georgia (28-7) with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lady Bulldogs' surprising postseason run that included an upset of Stanford came to a painful end.
"I don't think the words can even explain right now. Disappointed, hurt," said Georgia's Jasmine James, who had 11 points before fouling out. "To have something that you've always wanted to be able to do, just be so close, and to end up getting outworked for it, it hurts."
California will go to the Final Four on the side of the bracket completely blown open by the stunning loss of top-ranked Baylor in the regional semifinals. The Golden Bears will play Tennessee or Louisville in the national semifinals.
It didn't look like another game awaited the Golden Bears, who trailed 49-39 with 6:46 left after Barbee hit a pair of free throws. The Bears got back in it by halftime, overcoming a horrible shooting start, but each run early in the second half was rebuffed by the Lady Bulldogs. Cal missed 18 of its first 19 shots to start the game.
Finally Cal found an answer. Afure Jemerigbe hit her first 3-pointer after missing her previous six attempts. Clarendon scored four straight points and Talia Caldwell got a bucket in the paint. Caldwell then hit a putback of Jemerigbe's missed free throw to tie it at 50.
Tiaria Griffin missed from 3-point range for Georgia and Cal's Brittany Boyd was fouled driving to the rim by James, her fifth foul, leaving Georgia without its floor leader. Boyd hit both free throws and Cal had its first lead since 17-16.
Not having James on the floor had an immediate effect. Georgia turned it over on its next two possessions, helped by a pair of blocked shots by Jemerigbe, the second with 51 seconds left.