The Cal Bears battled back from as much as seven down in the second half to stun the Fordham Rams in the finals seconds.
Calfornia’s Brittany Boyd hit a runner with 10.8 seconds remaining to give the California (22-9) the 64-63 lead. Then it was a solid defense that limited Fordham’s Erin Rooney’s last second gasp that fell short.
Boyd finished with 22 points and 10 assists for the Bears. Those 10 assists are now a new school record for an NCAA tournament game. Was just really aggressive and was the spark that the Bears needed throughout the game.
The Bears, a Final Four team from last season, had to really battle all game long throughout the slow pace of the Fordham Rams (25-8). California found other ways to help push the Fordham tempo up. They applied the full court press. It helped turn that into 16 Ram’s turnovers.
Senior Erin Rooney finished her collegiate career with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting and 10 rebounds. She also had five assists. Those five turnovers, mainly in the half court trap were deadly. Samantha Clark, a top 100 recruit from last season tied a career high with three made three-pointers, finishing with 15 points. Emily Tapio had 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
Those turnovers were your game changer. California outscored Fordham 14-4 on points off turnovers and had 13 extra shots off 16 offensive rebounds. It’s one of the many differences that helped the Bears over come a poor shooting afternoon. Cal shot just 40.3 percent on the evening.
Reshanda Gray contributed 10 points and eight boards. Afure Jemerigbe had 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including seven boards. Cal’s bench was huge as they outscored Fordham 17-7.
The Bears used their length continuously in the second half and it frustrated the Rams. However, nine offensive rebounds and limiting the Rams to just three on their end. There was a sequence in which the Bears grabbed six offensive rebounds in a single possession.
Cal head coach, Lindsay Gottlieb grew up right out side of Fordham, grew up a Ram fan, won her 79th game, the most in a three season span of any California coach.
The Bears will now await the winner between Baylor and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Cal will play the winner on Monday at 3 p.m. CST