SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Cal women advanced to the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament with an 84-74 victory over Iowa on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.
Next up for the Golden Bears: a Tuesday date with host and regional top seed Notre Dame.
Cal (25-9) displayed balanced scoring, with five players in double figures, out-rebounded the Hawkeyes 41-29 and had the advantage in steals, second-chance points and a 27-15 scoring edge off turnovers.
"I think we had fun out there," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "It might have been our most complete game from start to finish. I loved our intensity level. I thought our defensive effort was really good (and) we executed our game plan."
Still, the eighth-seeded Golden Bears had some nervous moments down the stretch as ninth-seeded Iowa (19-12) launched a 3-point barrage that helped shave a 15-point deficit to just six with 1 minute, 14 seconds to play.
By that point, Iowa was forced to foul and Cal sealed the win with four straight free throws.
It was a decidedly physical game, especially in the paint.
"I think our post group especially is competitive with each other," Cal junior center Talia Caldwell said. "Everyone is pushing each other to be better. It's our hunger to get to the ball."
Layshia Clarendon scored a game-high 16 points, Brittany Boyd collected 15, Reshanda Gray had 14 and Gennifer Brandon and Caldwell each added 11 for the winners.
"We are not the most athletic (team)," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "But what we have thrived on and continue to thrive on is doing things fundamentally sound and correct and making sure we do the things right -- going to check the box out person, knowing where the rebounders are, seeing the angle of the ball."
Cal trailed through much of the game's early stages until moving on top with a 16-2 run over a five-minute span. That opened a 32-21 Golden Bears lead with 6:01 remaining in the first half.
The lead hovered around double-digits through most of the next 26 minutes. Cal's biggest lead was 62-46 after Clarendon's layup with 11:55 left in the game.
Notre Dame (31-3) advanced to its date with Cal with a 74-43 victory over Liberty.