- Michelle Smith, Contributor, espnW.com
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SPOKANE, Wash. -- Quick reaction to Cal's 73-63 win over LSU:
Overview: It was a physical, chaotic, nip-and-tuck game between a pair of athletic, aggressive teams -- until the Bears were able to seize control in the second half and pull away for the double-digit victory. LSU got some early momentum inside from the play of center Theresa Plaisance, but she cooled considerably in the second half and finished five of 18 from the floor. Cal got running in the second half, forced 16 turnovers for the game and created offense off defense with 16 fast-break points to LSU's two.
Turning point: The Bears were down 38-37 on a Plaisance basket with 13:48 to go when they reeled off a 9-2 run to take over the lead for good. Gennifer Brandon hit a pair of free throws, Layshia Clarendon followed with a jumper and Brittany Boyd scored in transition. Sophomore Mikayla Lyles capped the run with a 3-pointer that pushed Cal's lead to 46-40. From there, Cal found its offensive rhythm and was able to extend the lead.
Key player: Cal's Brandon. The Bears' lithe junior forward turned in a double-double effort -- her 19th of the season -- that included a team-high 17 points and 13 rebounds. She was 7-for-10 at the free throw line.
Key stat: The Bears were able to take advantage of their opportunities at the free throw line, converting 26 of 41 shots, a 63.4 percent clip that exceeded their season average.
What's next: Cal advances to its first Elite Eight, where it will play Georgia, which enters its first Elite Eight since 2004 (11th overall trip to the regional finals). LSU finishes its season at 22-12.
19dBonnie D. Ford