George Washington's win against No. 10 California didn't end with a big basket, but an anti-climactic series of fouls and desperate last-second heaves by the Golden Bears.
Megan Nipe scored a career-high 31 points and Danni Jackson made a 3-pointer with 3:11 left to put the Colonials ahead for good in a 75-72 victory Friday night.
"I did not wake up this morning feeling (confident). I actually felt a little nauseous before the game," Nipe said.
Nipe shot 11 for 20 from the field, including 4 for 9 on 3s, as she made clutch shots at opportune times down the stretch, helping George Washington (2-0) pull out the win in a game that featured five lead changes in the second half.
"It starts with the tempo we want to play at, Colonials coach Jonathan Tsipis said. "And I think when we were at that attacking tempo, on a make, on a miss, on turnovers, then a lot of the other things flowed."
California (1-2) had the ball with 13 seconds left, but Brittany Boyd and Afure Jemerigbe missed 3-point attempts in the final seconds.
Reshanda Gray scored a career-high 24 points and Boyd added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Golden Bears, who were coming off a 70-58 home loss to No. 2 Duke.
"We have one choice, and that is to get better," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "This is our team, we choose this team any night. It may not look as perfect as last year, but we're okay with that.
George Washington beat a Top 25 team for the first time since a win against the then-No. 10 Golden Bears 55-53 in the NCAA tournament in March 2008.
Jackson finished with 14 points, Caira Washington had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Chakecia Miller added adding 10 points and six assists.
George Washington had a 7-0 run, capped by Miller's short jumper, to make it 61-53 with 7:40 left. But California rallied and took a 67-66 lead on two free throws by Boyd, until Jackson's 3 put the Colonials back in front.
After Jackson's short jumper put George Washington ahead by four, Gray was fouled while scoring and completed the three-point play to pull California to 73-72 with a minute left.
But that was as close as they would get as the Golden Bears' next two possessions ended with Courtney Range being called for offensive fouls.
California struggled from outside — shooting just 4 for 24 on 3s — and the Colonials made sure to limit any mistakes that would allow an opportunity to pull away.
The Golden Bears made just 11 of 32 shots in the second half.
"We had a lot of good open looks, we just didn't knock them down," Gray said.