10:00 PM ET, February 22, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Ashley Walker scored a career-high 32 points, including two crucial free throws at the end of regulation, to spark California to an 86-79 overtime win over USC on Thursday night.Devanei Hampton added 25 points and eight rebounds for California (21-7, 10-6), and Natasha Vital had a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. Walker also had 11 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the year, and made 14 of 16 free throws.Eshaya Murphy scored 19 points for the Trojans (16-11, 10-7) and Jamie Hagiya had a career-high 16, but it was not enough for USC to pull off a win it desperately needed to assure a spot in the NCAA tournament.The Trojans, who now have 11 losses, must play No. 8 Stanford on Saturday. Though teams have gotten at-large bids with 12 or 13 losses, they usually have some big wins, and USC's best victory is against unranked Notre Dame.Cal, on the other hand, had lost two of its last four, and dropped out of the top 25 this week, but the comeback win all but guaranteed the Bears' berth in the NCAA tournament.The Golden Bears trailed by eight with 4:42 left in regulation, but Walker had six points in the last 1:03, including two free throws with five seconds remaining, to force overtime.Walker and Hampton also helped Cal dominate the boards. The Bears outrebounded USC 45-31 and had 16 second-chance points to just six for the Trojans.Hagiya, a non-scorer in her first three years at USC, got the team off to a good start by extending her streak of double-figure-scoring games to 13 in the first 3:50, as she hit three 3-pointers and a jumper to help the Trojans to a 15-7 lead. Hagiya came into the season averaging 5.6 points per game, but has almost doubled that to 10.3 points per game this year.Hagiya finished with four 3-pointers, and Allison Jaskowiak, an 18 percent shooter from beyond the arc, was two for two from 3-point distance. The Trojans were six of nine from long range at one point in the first half (they finished nine of 23), but led just 36-35 at intermission.USC also hurt its chances by committing 27 fouls and sending Cal to the line 37 times. The Trojans, on the other hand, only attempted 15 free throws.