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California squeaks way into semifinals

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Joanne Boyle could finally breathe easily.

Her California team hardly has been playing the consistent sharp brand of basketball that carried the Golden Bears most of this season. Still, they found a way to get by.

Natasha Vital had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and No.  10 Cal (25-5) did just enough right when it counted Saturday, holding off Oregon 67-60 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.

"No team's going to come in here and just lay down," said Boyle, Cal's third-year coach. "We've got to be a little headier down the stretch."

Taylor Lilley's three-point play with 4:19 left cut Cal's lead to 56-49, then Nicole Canepa scored for the Ducks the next time down to make it a five-point game. Lilley converted another three-point play with 1:33 to go, making it 57-54, and swished a 3 from the top with 15.4 seconds left to make it a two-point contest.

Cal — which made 10 of 12 free throws over the final 1:33 — face Arizona State in today's first semifinal. The third-seeded Sun Devils defeated Washington.

No.  13 GW 70, RHODE ISLAND 43:

Kimberly Beck had 11 points, six assists and five steals as the Colonials advanced to the Atlantic 10 semifinals in Philadelphia. George Washington (25-5) faces Xavier or Saint Joseph's today.

No.  18 UTEP 86, S. Miss 69: Natasha Lacy scored a game-high 25 as the Miners reached their first league title game in the Conference USA tournament in Orlando. UTEP (27-2), which has won 23 straight, faces SMU today.

NO.  24 MARIST 78, ST. PETER'S 67:

Rachele Fitz had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Marist in the Metro Atlantic semifinals in Albany, N.Y. The top-seeded Red Foxes (30-2) face second seed Iona in today's final.

JACKSONVILLE LOSES FINAL: Latisha Belcher had 24 points and eight rebounds to lead East Tennessee State to its first NCAA berth with a 75-72 victory over Jacksonville in the Atlantic Sun final in Nashville. The Dolphins (23-9) have lost all five of their trips to the championship game. Courtney Jackson's 3-pointer with 2:16 left brought Jacksonville to within a point at 68-67 but JU, which trailed by 18 early, never tied it. Ashley Williams led the Dolphins with 21 points.

OHIO VALLEY: Amber Guffey scored 27 in Nashville to lead Murray State to its first NCAA berth with a 69-58 win over Eastern Illinois in the final.

Regular season

NO.  15 UTAH 82, UNLV 46: Leilani Mitchell had 14 points and 13 assists as the host Utes (27-3) completed a 16-0 regular-season mark in the Mountain West and ran their overall winning streak to 22.

>>Fast facts

In the field

Automatic berths for the NCAA tournament:

East Tenn. St. (Atlantic Sun)

Murray State (Ohio Valley)

California squeaks way into semifinals 03/09/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:33am]
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