Brittany Boyd, Cortnee Walton, Monique Reid
Cal’s Brittany Boyd drives into the lane against Louisville’s Cortnee Walton and Monique Reid. Photo: AP Photo/Dave Martin

Hot beat heart.

The Cal women’s basketball team, which had gutted out two overtime victories on their way to a first-ever Final Four tournament appearance, fell short on Sunday night in New Orleans against the hot Louisville Cardinals.

For much of the game, it seemed Cal would spare its supporters heart problems as their superior size and quick transition game overcame a slow first few minutes to build a 10-point first half lead, 37-27. Cal seemed invincible on the boards, getting plenty of second-look points, while tight defense at the other end of the court held Louisville star Shoni Schimmel to just three first-half points.

But Louisville had faced greater odds in their road to the Final Four, beating hugely fancied one-seed Baylor, with superstar Britney Griner, and then two-seed Tennessee to earn the matchup against Cal.

Hundreds of Cal fans packed Pappy’s Sports Bar and Grill on Telegraph Avenue to watch the basketball game. Disappointment at the result showed on their faces. Photo: Ted Friedman

Cardinal coach Jeff Walz has a reputation as a defensive whiz, and he shifted his team’s look numerous times in the second half. Cal came out cold once again, and Louisville cut the lead to three before Cal scored. Cal looked as though they had doused the challenge when Brittany Boyd hit a three-pointer to take the team to 50-46 with 7:41 left. With 5:10 left, Cal was still up by four, 52-48, leading the rebounding 39-19 (and leading offensive rebounds 14-5). But that was the best the Golden Bears could do.

Louisville’s Antonia Slaughter kept hitting threes, finishing 6-10, and the Cardinals were 11-11 from the free throw line in the second half (14-19 for the game). In contrast, the Bears shot 1-7 from the line. Layshia Clarendon was again Cal’s standout player, with 17 points.

Berkeley’s Mayor Bates places liquid Final Four bet [04.05.13]
Cal women top Georgia, 65-62, head to first Final Four [04.02.13]
Brittany Boyd, a Berkeley role model, makes waves at Cal [03.29.12]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...