No. 3 Cal Hosts Colliers International Classic Sat-Sun at Haas
Dec. 2, 2008
Saturday, Dec. 6, 1:30 p.m.: No. 3 Cal vs Princeton (Radio: none; TV: none)
Saturday, Dec. 6, 4:00 p.m.: No. 22/NR Texas Christian vs St. Louis
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2:00 p.m.: Princeton vs No. 22/NR TCU ot St. Louis
Sunday, Dec. 7, 5:00 pm: No. 3 Cal vs No. 22/NR TCU or St. Louis (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: none)
The No. 3 California Golden Bears, off to a school-best 6-0 start, were the Paradise Jam Tournament Reef Division champions last week in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The Bears outscored their opponents, 229-152, in the tournament, cruising to victories over South Florida and a pair of teams which had received votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll this season, Texas Tech and Iowa.
Senior forward Ashley Walker was named the Reef Division Tournament MVP, averaging 22.7 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game. Walker shot 60.5 percent from the field and was a perfect 15-15 from the free-throw line. She also had seven assists, six steals, and four blocks. Walker was also named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for the fifth time in her career.
Junior guard Lauren Greif posted the first double-double of her Bear career in the 85-55 victory over South Florida. Grief scored 15 points with a career-high 11 rebounds in the game. She ended the tournament with 23 points and 21 rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team, which marks the first time in her collegiate career she was named all-tournament.
Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson was also named all-tournament with her 37 points and 16 rebounds. Gray-Lawson also had 12 assists with just three turnovers in the games. Gray-Lawson received a roaring ovation on Saturday night when it was announced to the crowd that she had scored the 1,000th point of her career just before the end of the first half of the Iowa game. Gray-Lawson is the 20th Cal player to enter the 1,000 point club.
Cal remained at No. 3 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls. The Bears trail only UConn, the unanimous No. 1, and North Carolina.
The Bears host the Colliers International Classic this weekend at Haas Pavilion. There is a chance they will play their second ranked opponent of the season, No. 22/NR Texas Christian, in Sunday's finale. If both Cal and TCU win or lose Saturday's first-round matchups, they will play each other at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
STARTING THE SEASON STRONG The Bears have started the season with a 4-0 or better win streak six times, but the 1981-82 squad was the only other Bear team to start the season 5-0. The 1986-87 team dropped the first game of the season and then rattled off eight straight wins for an 8-1 start. The program record for overall consecutive wins is 10, which was accomplished by both the 81-82 and 86-87 Bears. The longest winning streak for Cal since current head coach Joanne Boyle took over the program is nine games, which was set last season. The Bears won every contest from Dec. 21, when they defeated Kansas, until they lost to Stanford Jan. 26. The Bears won six straight after the Stanford defeat to go 15-1 from Dec. 21 to Feb. 16. Once again, it was a Stanford loss to break that streak. Cal is one of 17 remaining undefeated teams in NCAA I and one of eight with a mark of 6-0 or better.
HOME NONCONFERENCE WIN STREAK AT 32 The victory over Rutgers extended Cal's school-record home nonconference win streak to a school-record 32 games. The Bears play seven of 12 nonconference games at home this season. All told, Cal will play 16 of 30 regular-season games at Haas Pavilion. The Bears were 13-1 overall at home last season, with their only loss coming on Feb. 23 in their 60-58 loss to Stanford.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL For the second time this season, the Bears had single-digit turnovers, turning the ball over just eight times against Iowa. The Bears are averaging 13.2 turnovers per game, ranking them No. 6 among all NCAA I schools. UTEP and Samford lead the nation with just 11.8 turnovers per game.
LEADING THE Pac-10 Ashley Walker now leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 22.3 ppg paces the conference and ranks her No. 9 among all DI players. Dawn Evans of James Madison leads the nation at 30.8 ppg. Alexis Gray-Lawson also took over the conference lead in assist-to-turnover ratio this week. Gray-Lawson had 12 assists with just three turnovers at the Paradise Jam tournament. Her 3.5 A/TO ratio leads the Pac-10 and is seventh in the national rankings. Ball State's Audrey McDonald has a 5.0 ratio to top the national list.
DEFENSE The Bears are holding opponents to 49.3 ppg, ranking them fifth among all NCAA I teams and first in the Pac-10. Wake Forest leads the nation, allowing 45.2 ppg.
FROM THE STRIPE Ashley Walker went 15-15 from the free-throw line at the Paradise Jam Tournament including hitting 11 of 11 free-throw attempts in the Texas Tech game. Walker was just the third Bear in program history to be perfect from the line with 10 or more attempts in a game. Going back to the Rutgers game, Walker has made 16 consecutive free-throws. Alexis Gray-Lawson hit 15 of 17 from the charity stripe in the Caribbean.
BACK ON TARGET After starting the season shooting just 16.0 percent from three-point range with the team having two halves (the first half against Albany and the second half against Nevada) when they failed to make a single three-pointer, the Bears went 7-16 (43.8 percent) from long range against Rutgers. Fuelde by junior guard Natasha Vital's 5-for-6 performance against South Florida, the Bears shot 40.4 percent from long range at the Paradise Jam and have raised the season mark to 34.1 percent.
24-20's Ashley Walker's back-to-back games of scoring 30 and 32 points makes it 24 times she has scored 20 or more points in a game in her Cal career.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE Lauren Grief posted her first career double-double when she scored 15 points with 11 rebounds against South Florida. Dominic Seals of South Florida and Wendy Ausdmore of Iowa were the only two other players in the tournament to post double-doubles. Ashley Walker is the only other Bear with a double-double this season. Walker has accomplished the feat twice, once against Nevada and the other against Rutgers.
WALKER No. 2 ALL-TIME REBOUNDER Ashley Walker's eight rebounds against Iowa moved her to second on the all-time Cal rebounding list. Walker now has 877 career rebounds, passing Kesha Martin (1989-93), who has 875, to make her the second leading rebounder in school history. Walker needs 123 rebounds to become just the second player in Cal history to grab 1,000 boards and is 153 rebounds shy of passing Colleen Galloway (1978-81) to become Cal's all-time leading rebounder.
GRAY-LAWSON's 1000 POINT MEMBERSHIP Alexis Gray-Lawson came into the season with 925 career points. After scoring 44 points in her first three games, Gray-Lawson needed to average 10.3 points-per-game at the Paradise Jam to reach that milestone over 3,600 miles away from Haas Pavilion. She hit the milestone in the third game in St. Thomas, with 1:26 let in the first half. She needs three points to pass Chris Selledn (1979-82) to move up to 19th on the all-time scoring list and 216 points from entering the top-10. Gray-Lawson is averaging 13.5 points per game.
WALKER SCORES POINT NO. 1500, MOVING UP CAREER LIST Ashley Walker entered the season with 1,470 career points, 30 points shy of becoming just the seventh player in Cal history to score 1,500 points. She scored her 1500th career point in the first half of the Nevada game. Walker is just the seventh player in Cal history to score at lest 1,500 points. Walker`s 1,586 points has moved her past Karen Smith (1981-84, 1559 points) into fifth place on the career list. Walker needs 25 points to pass Teresa Palmisano (1986-91, 1610 points) to take over fourth place.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,500 Devanei Hampton comes into the game with 1,317 career points, 183 points shy of reaching joining Walker at 1500 career points.
BEARS VS. RANKED OPPONENTS Cal's Rutgers was the Bears' first taste of top-25 action this season. Last season, Cal went 2-4 in the regular season against ranked opponents, coming up with victories over No. 18/23 Vanderbilt, 67-59 (12/2/07), and at No. 25/NR Arizona State 64-51 (1/17/08). They added two postseason losses to ranked teams, falling in the Pac-10 tournament to No. 4/7 Stanford (56-35) and in the second round of the NCAA tournament to No. 20/16 George Washington (55-53). Cal has three other victories over ranked teams since coach Joanne Boyle has taken over the program, with six total in her three plus seasons at the helm.
PARADISE JAM GAMES
GAME ONE: No. 3 CALIFORNIA 85, SOUTH FLORIDA 55 The Bears opened the tournament with a dominant 85-55 victory over the South Florida Bulls. Junior guard Natasha Vital scored a career-high 22 points in 22 minutes, missing just one shot (7-8), including hitting five of her six three-point attempts. Junior guard Lauren Greif posted her first career double with 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Her 15 points also gives her 500 career points, making her the second Bear this season to reach 500 points (Natasha Vital reached 500 in the opener against Albany). The Bears came into the game averaging 65.3 points per game to South Florida's 98.5. The Bear defense held the Bulls to just over half of their average output (55 percent) by not giving up the good shots. USF shot just 28.6 percent in the game (20-70). Cal took advantage of the up-tempo game to score nearly 20 points higher than their season average. Cal scored 85 or more points in a game only once last season, their record-setting 99-44 victory over Washington State (which set the new standard for points scored by Cal on the home court).
GAME TWO: No. 3 CALIFORNIA 68, TEXAS TECH 54 The Bears earned a victory over Texas Tech, 68-54 in a foul-intensive game Friday night at the Paradise Jam Tournament. The very physical game featured 49 foul calls and 54 free-throw attempts by the two teams. Cal senior forward Ashley Walker was a perfect 11-11 from the free-throw line, just the third Bear to ever shoot 1.000 from the line when making 10 or more attempts. Walker's performance at the line was one of two school records tied in last night's game. The victory improved the Bears to 5-0 on the season, tying the best start in Cal women's basketball history. The 1981-82 squad was the only other Bear team to start the season 5-0.
GAME 3: No. 3 CALIFORNIA 76, IOWA 43 The Bears won the Paradise Jam Reef Division tournament title with a 76-43 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday night. Iowa started the game strong, jumping out to a quick 8-2 lead. Cal senior forward Ashley Walker found her stroke, scoring 11 straight points for the Bears to give them a 13-8 lead. The Bears built on Walker's foundation, extending their run to 24-2 to take a 26-10 lead. Once again, it was the Bear defense fuelling the offense. Iowa shot just 26.7 percent in the first half with the two teams retiring to the locker rooms with Cal leading by 20, 40-20. Walker accounted for 20 of those first half Cal points. The most important basket of the half came at the 1:26 mark when junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson drove through the lane to lay in the ball, scoring two points for her team and becoming the twentieth member of Cal's 1,000 point club. The St. Thomas crowd gave Gray-Lawson a rousing ovation when the accomplishment was announced. Cal cruised through the second half, outscoring Iowa 36-23 to earn the decisive 76-43 victory.
PARADISE JAM ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM (REEF DIVISION)
MVP: Ashley Walker, California
Alexis Gray-Lawson, California
Lauren Greif, California
Shantia Grace, South Florida
Dominic Seals, Texas Tech
Wendy Ausdemore, Iowa
IN THE OTHER DIVISION The Wisconsin Badgers pulled off the upset of the No. 6/7 Baylor Bears to win the Island Division championship. The Badgers' Alyssa Karel turned in an MVP performance by hitting the game winning jumper with 7 seconds left and led her team with 15 pts. The Bears' Melissa Jones had a pair of potentially game-winning free throws with .5 on the clock, but was unable to convert on either. Baylor's Danielle Wilson led all scorers with 18 pts. and pulled down 10 rebounds.
COLLIER'S INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC
This is the first year that Colliers International has been the title sponsor of this tournament. For the previous four years, it was called the Contra Costa Times Classic. The tournament, which first began in 1978, has also been known as the Golden Bear Classic and the Oakland Tribune Classic. The Bears have won their tournament title for the past five years and 16 times overall. Last season, No. 12 Cal defeated No. 18 Vanderbilt, 67-59 in the final. Cal seniors Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker won the most valuable player awards in 2005 and 2006, respectively, with junior Rama N'diaye earning the honor last season. A Cal player has been named the MVP each of the last five years and 15 Bears have earned the honor since the award was first presented in 1979.
The winner of each opening round game (Princeton vs. Cal, Sat. Dec. 6, 1:30 pm; TCU vs. St. Louis, Sat. Dec. 6, 4:00 pm) will advance to the championship game. With Princeton set to play at 2 p.m. on Sunday and Cal set to play at 4 p.m., the outcome of Saturday's opener will determine whether Sunday's early game or late game will be the championship.
SCOUTING PRINCETON The Princeton Tigers (3-2, 0-0 Ivy League) return three starters from the 2007-08 season, in which they went 7-23, and bring in five newcomers. Sophomore Addie Micir is the Tigers' top returning scorer and top returning rebounder. She averaged 7.5 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game in 2007-08. Micir also knocked down 42.5 percent of her three-pointers and nailed 75.9 percent of her free throws. Senior Caitlin O'Neill is the team's top returning assist leader, with 47 last season, and classmate Whitney Downs collected the same number of steals. The Bears defeated Princeton 68-42 last season in New Jersey. Sophomore Kelsey Adrian led Cal with 13 points, 11 coming in the second half, and a career-high nine rebounds.
SCOUTING TEXAS CHRISTIAN The Texas Christian (TCU) Lady Frogs (5-1, 0-0 Mountain West) entered the Associated Press' Top-25 poll for the first time in more than three years at No. 24 in the Week 1 poll after an upset of then No. 3-ranked Maryland, which marked only the second time in program history TCU had defeated a top-3 team. With TCU looking to replace five seniors that accounted for nearly 60 percent of the scoring from last season's team, the success of a group of seven newcomers will be very important this season. Six of the 10 Lady Frogs to see action so far this season had never before suited up for TCU. As a group, the newcomers accounted for 89 of the team's 153 points in the Frogs' first two games (58 percent). It's a pair of veterans that are leading the team in scoring. Junior guard TK LaFleur (17.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Helena Sverrisdottir (16.0 ppg) are the pacing the team on the offensive end. If TCU meets Cal on Sunday, it will be the fourth meeting between the two teams, with Cal holding a 2-1 advantage. Cal defeated the Lady Frogs 74-55 last season in Fort Worth. Ashley Walker scored 19 points. Rama N'daiye pulled in 17 rebounds.
SCOUTING SAINT LOUIS Six letterwinners return from last year's team for the Sa Louis Billikens (2-4, 0-0 Atlantic-10). Leading that group is junior guard Theresa Lich, who averaged a team-high 16.8 points and added 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists last year. Junior guard Katie Paganelli was the Bills' second-leading scorer at 12.0 ppg, while junior center Amanda Kemezys, the only Billiken to start every game, averaged 10.6 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds. Sophomore forward Lauren Woods looks to build on a rookie campaign in which she averaged 5.9 points. Senior forward Heather King averaged 4.0 rebounds for the year but a team-best 7.0 rebounds over the last 13 games. Senior forward Jameela Haynes also is back after chipping in 16 rebounds off the bench. In 2007-08, The Billikens posted a 10-20 overall record and a 5-9 Atlantic 10 Conference ledger. Fourteen of SLU's 30 games were decided by six or fewer points, with the Bills finishing strong by winning four of the last six contests in that category. If Cal plays Saint Louis on Sunday, it will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.