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California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb is hugged after her team beat Georgia in overtime in a regional final in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Monday, April 1, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. Cal won 65-62. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SPOKANE, Wash. -- These Cal Bears just don't quit.

Cal reached its first Final Four in history Monday night with another overtime victory -- this time a 65-62 thriller over Georgia in front of a crowd of 5,863 at Spokane Arena.

The Bears (32-3) will play either Tennessee or Louisville in the national semifinals Sunday at New Orleans Arena.

Don't count out Cal to reach the finale April 9. Not with a senior-led roster buoyed by gritty guard Layshia Clarendon, who had 25 points, including five in overtime, against the Lady Bulldogs.

The Bears are the first West Coast team outside of Stanford to reach the Final Four in 25 years. Cal is only the third Pac-12 school to achieve the feat, joining the Cardinal and USC.

On a night star forward Gennifer Brandon failed to score, Cal proved President Barack Obama right when he picked the Berkeley women to play in New Orleans.

Cal erased a 10-point deficit with 6:46 left in regulation to stop Georgia from advancing to its first Final Four in 14 years.

"I knew this was possible," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "I believed in this group more than anyone ever, and I still can't believe this in my wildest dreams."

Believe it. Player after player stepped up when the Bears needed it most.

To wit:

  • A block by Afure Jemerigbe with 52 seconds left in regulation of a shot that would have allowed the Bulldogs to tie the score with enough time to win the game.

  • Sophomore Reshanda Gray's presence underneath. She had eight points and 11 rebounds, including eight on offense.

    The Bears missed all but two of their first 19 shots because of Georgia's 2-3 zone, with Brandon missing all seven of hers, including a handful of uncontested layups.

    But Cal had reached its first Elite Eight because of senior leadership behind Talia Caldwell, Eliza Pierre and especially Clarendon. Those qualities showed a week ago with an overtime victory over South Florida after the Bears blew a 10-point lead in the final 1:23 of regulation.

    "Our whole season prepped us so well for tonight," said Caldwell, who had 10 points and eight rebounds. "We're the new 'Heart attack Pack.' "

    No question this is a team that causes its fans to squirm. The Bears struggled again from the free-throw line making, only 12 of 24 shots. But Cal dominated the post by outrebounding Georgia 54-41.

    "They rebounded from the back side all night long," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "They were bouncing it and going around us and laying it up right in front of us."

    When the Lady Bulldogs (28-7) led by 10 with about 7 minutes left, Clarendon didn't panic.

    She said she told herself, "Keep it close, we're going to make our run, we're going to make a run."

    The guard added, "You can't let fear creep in."

    During timeouts, she implored, "We're winning this game."

    She said it again after Georgia's Anne Marie Armstrong scored with seven seconds left to send the game into overtime.

    And she repeated it when the Bulldogs' Khaalidah Miller immediately made a 3-point shot in the five-minute overtime.

    The Bears didn't buckle from the salvo with Caldwell, Clarendon and Jemerigbe leading the way to a 61-55 margin.

    With 38 seconds left, Clarendon twisted into the lane to make a pull-up jumper before Shacobia Barbee brought it back to four points with 16 seconds to go.

    Armstrong made another big shot from beyond the arc with 4 seconds left as Georgia closed to 64-62.

    But the Bears wouldn't budge with a Final Four on the line.

    Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.