5:00 PM ET, February 2, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- The frustration from more than two games of struggles had boiled over for Devanei Hampton when she let out a scream after making a jumper midway through the first half. Hampton had to do much more than that to rescue California (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) in this game.Hampton bounced back from a rare minislump with 20 points and 15 rebounds, including the tiebreaking basket in overtime, and California survived a poor shooting performance to hold off Southern California 60-55 on Saturday.It was a far cry from her previous two games when Hampton scored just 12 points on 4-for-18 shooting. She got off to another rough start when she traveled the first two times she touched the ball. She missed four of her first five shots before finally finding the form that helped her win Pac-10 Player of the Year last season."There's been a lot of frustration in there," Hampton said. "I have to let it out one way or another."Hampton mostly let it out against the Trojans. She made a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation to send the game into overtime and hit the jumper from just beyond the foul line to give the Golden Bears the lead for good in overtime.The Golden Bears (19-3, 10-1 Pac-10) managed to win their 14th straight home game and remain in first place in the conference despite shooting just 31 percent in the game in one of their worst offensive performances of the season."We have a lot of heart," guard Alexis Gray-Lawson said. "We work really well together, especially when we're struggling. That's the best part of our team. When someone is struggling from the line or 3-point or whatever, we always pick the slack up for each other. Tonight it was Devanei. She had a great game."Cal beat the Trojans (13-9, 6-5) for the sixth straight time and completed its first four-game regular-season sweep against USC and UCLA ever.This one wasn't easy. Hampton's jumper gave Cal a 53-51 lead with 1:27 remaining in overtime. Nadia Parker missed at the other end for USC and after the Trojans got a stop Camille LeNoir misfired on a 3-pointer. Natasha Vital hit two free throws with 33.2 seconds to go to make it 57-53. Cal added three more free throws to seal the win.LeNoir led USC with 21 points on 9-for-25 shooting, including a missed jumper in the final seconds of regulation."Just an inch more and we win this basketball game tonight," USC coach Mark Trakh said. "I think it's going to give us confidence that we came here and could have won this game."Gray-Lawson and Ashley Walker added 11 points apiece for the Bears, who remained one game ahead of Stanford and Arizona State in the Pac-10."It's not something we talk about all the time, but we have a lot at stake," coach Joanne Boyle said. "We know it. We don't look too far ahead. ... We'll trip ourselves up if we look too far ahead."The Trojans came into the Bay Area this weekend on a three-game winning streak but were swept by No. 7 Stanford and Cal. USC shot just 36 percent for the game against the Pac-10's top defensive team.USC took a 41-40 lead midway through the second half after a pair of baskets by LeNoir. The second came when she stole the ball from Walker and went in for an uncontested layup. Cal responded with seven straight points, including four by Hampton to regain a six-point lead.But USC wouldn't go away, holding Cal scoreless for more than 5 minutes and tying the game at 47 on Camille LeNoir's basket with 3 minutes left. Parker gave the Trojans the lead with an inside basket with 1:33 remaining, but Hampton ended Cal's dry spell by making two free throws with 25.1 seconds remaining to tie it at 49. LeNoir missed a jumper in the final seconds that would have won it for USC.Cal got off to a horrid shooting start, missing 15 of its first 19 shots. USC took advantage of the Bears' struggles and went on an 11-2 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by LeNoir to take a 19-12 lead midway through the half. Cal responded by pounding the ball inside to Hampton and Walker and finally drawing fouls to get to the foul line.Hampton scored six points during a 15-2 run that put the Bears up 27-21. Vital capped the spurt with a 3-pointer with 2:04 remaining in the half. But Cal wouldn't score again and led only 27-25 at the break.