It was senior day for the UCLA women's basketball team, with tearful farewells being expressed by six seniors and their parents.
They should have saved some tears for the aftermath, when some wondered if the Bruins had just bid farewell to their postseason hopes as well.
California, which had lost 10 in a row to UCLA, used good shot-clock management down the stretch and beat UCLA, 61-53, Sunday afternoon before 6,632 at Pauley Pavilion.
With two games remaining, at Washington State Thursday and at Washington Saturday, the skidding Bruins, 16-10 overall and 10-6 in the Pacific 10, are dangerously close to tumbling off the NCAA selection committee's radar screen.
A grim UCLA Coach Kathy Olivier said she believed her team needs a sweep to make the NCAA tournament.
UCLA, after its high-energy victory Friday night over Stanford, seemed befuddled Sunday by Cal's tenacious perimeter defense, which forced 29 turnovers. Down the stretch, Cal often used nearly all 30 seconds on the shot clock, and at one point, with an offensive rebound, took a full minute off the game clock when it had a 55-48 lead.
Defensively, Cal (10-16, 5-11) locked up UCLA as effectively as any team has this season. The Bruins had a 17-16 lead with 9:46 left in the first half but made only two field goals the rest of the half and trailed at the break, 38-27.
Cal finished the game with four fouls each on three starters and yet choked off a closing UCLA surge, when a 10-2 run brought the Bruins to within 55-53 with 1:16 left.
Afterward, Cal Coach Marianne Stanley, in the final year of her four-year contract at Cal, left for an interview with Los Angeles Spark Coach Michael Cooper for an assistant coaching position.