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Cal Claims Another Four Point Decision Over Oregon St.

Final score: California 66 Oregon St. 62

The California Golden Bears and the Oregon St. Beavers womens' hoops teams have produced some of the best games of the year, but Cal continues to hold the slightest of advantages, after their second straight four point win.

After claiming a 79-75 overtime win in Corvallis in the teams' first meeting, Cal completed the season sweep Thursday night in Berkley, holding off Oregon St.'s rally for a 66-62 last-minute victory.

With Cal in the double bonus, Natasha Vital and then DeNesha Stallworth both hit the second only of two free throws in the final 30 seconds to open the final four point lead. Stallworth's miss was only her second of the game at the line, but her second one that secured the win with five seconds left was her ninth of eleven, and game her a game high 19 points.

The game was competitive all the way, with the Beavers leading much of the middle portion of the first half, and opening their largest lead, a seven point, 19-12 advantage midway in the first half, on a pair of Haiden Palmer free throws.

Palmer was one of three Beavers all with 15 points on the night, along with Talisa Rhea, and guard Elisha Sheppard off the bench.

Rachelle Federico started Cal's rally with a three pointer, and the Bears outscored the Beavers 23-14 the rest of the half to take a 35-33 lead at the break.

There was a scoreless gap of almost four and a half minutes before and after the break, but the Bears then surged, eventually taking the game's largest lead, up 10 points, 54-44 with just under eight minutes left, on a Stallworth jumper.

Kirsten Tilleman, the fourth Beaver in double digits, with 10 points, wrapped a pair of layins around a Rhea layup to pull Oregon St. right back within four points, ending any idea that another down to the wire affair wasn't in the works.

Alexis Gray-Lawson, who had 47 points in the first meeting in Corvallis on Jan. 23rd., and was the other Bear in double digits, with 17 points in 40 minutes, and Stallworth answered with back to back baskets, and Gray-Lawson answered a Rhea jumper with a three pointer to put Cal up by nine again with four minutes left.

Sheppard's basket plus free throw three point play capped an OSU 8-1 run that pulled the Beavers back within two points with a minute left, but Sheppard's foul sent Gray-Lawson to the line with 42 seconds left, and she made it a two possession game again, draining both shots.

A pair of offensive boards led to Sheppard's basket that brought the Beavers within two points again with 29 seconds left, but Rhea missed a three pointer with 12 seconds left that would have tied the game after Vital's free throw, and Stallworth proceeded to finally put the game away.

Cal (15-10, 9-5) kept control of third place in the Pac-10 with the win, and will host Oregon (16-9, 7-6) Saturday.

Oregon St. (9-15, 1-12) dropped to the bottom of the conference despite their effort, and visit Stanford (24-1, 14-0) Saturday night at 7PM. The Cardinal, the second ranked team in the country, blasted Oregon, who is tied for fourth in the conference, 104-60 Thursday night, as both Jayne Appel and Jeanette Pohlen poured in 26 points for Stanford.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com