No. 13/9 California Hosts Saint Mary's Monday, Dec. 29
Dec. 23, 2008
Monday, Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m.: No. 13/9 Cal vs. Saint Mary's(Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: none)
Despite being idle this week, the California Golden Bears slipped slightly in one of the national polls. In the Associated Press poll, the Bears fell from No. 12 to No. 13. In the USA Today/ ESPN the Magazine Coaches' poll, Cal held steady at No. 9. After the loss to No. 5/6 Oklahoma, the Bears fell out of the top 10 in the Associated Press poll, tumbling to No. 12, but managed to stay in the top 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, coming in at No. 9. The Bears spent two weeks (weeks 2-3) with a program-best No. 3 ranking, but fell to No. 9/7 after being handed their first loss of the season Sunday, Dec. 7 by No. 22 TCU, 82-73.
Cal is coming off a long break, 15 days without a game. Cal is 17-8 in the game after coming off over a week's layoff. Since 2005-06 when Coach Boyle took over the program, Cal is 1-2 in the game after December's break. Last season, Cal was in a similar situation with their last game before the break being a heartbreaking loss to a ranked team, its 56-51 loss at No. 3 Rutgers. The Bears rebounded with a 74-41 victory at Kansas 11 days later. In the previous two seasons, Cal finished with a victory before finals week, then came back right before Christmas with an opening loss in Pac-10 play, falling in overtime at UCLA, 77-68, in 2006 and at Washington, 62-55, in 2005. The last time the Bears had a chance to shake off the rust at home was a 67-60 victory over Hampton in 2004.
The 15 days is the longest break for a Cal women's basketball team since 1986-87 when they began playing in the Pac-10, however it is not the longest ever break for the team. The team had a 16-day break in the 1983 season. In back-to-back seasons at the beginning of the program (1975-76 and 1977-78), the team played one or two games the first of December and then would not play again until January, taking a solid month off from action.
The Bears will gear back up facing Saint Mary's. The Bears hold a 12-5 lifetime record against the Gaels and have won the last three matchups. The Bears have dominated West Coast Conference schools. Since the 1985-86 season when the WCC began sponsoring women's basketball, Cal has racked up a 32-13 record against WCC teams. Since the beginning of Cal basketball, the Bears have recorded an 88.9 winning percentage (168-21) against schools that are currently in the WCC. They last faced a WCC opponent when they took on San Diego in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, with Cal winning 77-60.
Reschedule?The Baylor team was trapped in Oregon after their Saturday night game against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene. The Portland airport was shut down on Sunday, with seemingly no way for the team to make it to the Bay Area for the game. Both schools looked for another time to play the game, but with Conference play for both right around the corner, there weren't many options. Baylor's head coach, Kim Mulkey, was quoted by the Waco Tribune-Herald as saying 'the game with Cal wouldn't be played this year, but she intends to reschedule it for a future season.'
' This has never happened to me,' said Cal head coach Joanne Boyle on the cancellation. 'We want to play this game but we can't fit in our schedule anywhere.'
The status of the game officially remains as a 'postponement' with the hopes of rescheduling it, but it is very unlikely that a mutual date will be found.
SCORING In the San Jose State game, senior forward Ashley Walker scored nine straight points for the Bears in the span of 1:36. Walker went 4-for-5 in the first half and 7-for-11 overall. Walker's scoring binge continued through the first half of the Oklahoma game. She hit her 22nd point of the game on a free throw at the 3:05 mark, when Oklahoma as a team had 22 total points.
THE FIRST HALFThe Cal Bears shot 64.0 percent in the first half of the Oklahoma game. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson hit her first four field-goal attempts to put up an early 13 points. The Bears made baskets on six of their first eight shots. Their 52 points they scored in the half was more than three of their opponents had scored in an entire game against the Bears this season.
THE SECOND HALFThere were some bright spots to the Bears second half against Oklahoma. Junior guard Lauren Greif went 3-for-4 on three point shots in the period. She scored a team-high nine points in the second half. Greif scored a career high 18 points overall in the game, hitting 5-of-7 three-point attempts. Senior forward Devanei Hampton fought for all five of her rebounds against Oklahoma in the second half.
ASSISTSAlexis Gray-Lawson flirted with her second double-double of her career when she scored 16 points with nine assists against Oklahoma. Gray-Lawson had only twice had nine or more assists in a game in her career. She already has two this season. Gray-Lawson is averaging 4.7 assists per game, third best in the Pac-10. She continues to lead the Pac-10 in assist to turnover ratio with a 2.76, ranking her No. 5 among all NCAA I women's basketball players.
LEADING THE Pac-10Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 22.9 ppg paces the conference and ranks her No. 5 among all DI players, moving her up one place from last week. Gabriela Marginean of Drexel leads the nation at 26.4 ppg. Walker is the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top 50 in scoring. Oregon's Micaela Cocks (16.2 ppg) is the only other Pac-10 in the top 100 at No. 80.
TEAM LEADERAshley Walker has led the team in scoring each of the last six games and the team in rebounding each of the last five. Walker has scored in double-digits in eight of the Bear's nine games this season. She has led the team in scoring in all but three games and the team in rebounding in all but three games. Lauren Greif is the only other Bear to lead the team in rebounding in a game this season.
CAREER HIGHSophomore forward Kelsey Adrian scored a career-high 15 points against SJSU. She was the second starter this season to set a new career-high. Junior guard Natasha Vital scored a career-high 22 against South Florida. Ashley Walker matched her career high, 32, against Iowa.
FEDERICOSophomore guard Rachelle Federico blasted her previous career high for minutes played with 21 quality minutes on the court against SJSU. Her previous career high was 11. She had four rebounds, four points, and two assists. Federico has hit a three-point shot in four of her last six games.
WALKER MOVES INTO THIRD PLACEAshley 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 52 points last weekend moved her past Teresa Palmisano (1986-91, 1610 points) to take over fourth place on the all-time career list. She has since moved past Cynthia Cooke (1982-85, 1,641 points) and into third on the all-time points list with 1,673. She needs 93 points to pass Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and move into second place on the all-time scoring list.
WALKER No. 2 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERAshley Walker's eight rebounds against Iowa moved her to second on the all-time Cal rebounding list, passing Kesha Martin (1989-93), who has 875, to make her the second leading rebounder in school history. Walker now has 912 career rebounds, needing 88 to become just the second player in Cal history to grab 1,000 boards, and is 117 rebounds shy of passing Colleen Galloway (1978-81) to become Cal's all-time leading rebounder.
27 20'sAshley Walker's 26 point performance against Oklahoma marked the 27th time she has scored 20 or more points in a game in her Cal career. Her 31 against TCU marked the fifth time she has scored more than 30. It was the 43th time that any Cal player has scored 30 or more points in a game. Walker has scored in double-digits all but one game this season (South Florida, 6 points) and has only failed to top the 20 point mark three times. Walker scored 17 points in the San Jose State game, but scored nearly a point per minute as she only saw 18 minutes of floor time in the game.
DOUBLE-DOUBLESAlexis Gray-Lawson became the second Bear this season to post her first career double-double when she scored 12 points with 10 assists against Princeton. Lauren Greif posted her first career double-double when she scored 15 points with 11 rebounds against South Florida in the Paradise Jam tournament a week earlier. Gray-Lawson's double-double was the first time since Dec. 10, 2005, when Sarah Pool scored 14 points with 11 assists that a Cal player had a double-double with points and assists. Her 10 assists was the first time a Cal player had double-digits in that category since Natasha Vital had 12 assists against Arizona on Feb. 16, 2008. Vital has three double-digit assist games in her career, but none have been partnered with a double-digit scoring effort.
ALL-TIME ASSISTNatasha Vital moved into the top 10 in career assists with her four dishes against SJSU, passing Sherrise Smith (1996-99, 292) to officially enter the Bear record book. Vital is now one assist shy of career assist number 300.
GRAY-LAWSON's 1000 POINT MEMBERSHIPAlexis Gray-Lawson became the 20th member of Cal's 1,000 point club on Nov. 29 in the third game of the Paradise Jam Tournament against Iowa, with 1:26 left in the first half on a runner through the lane. Gray-Lawson needs 172 points to move into the top-10 on the career-scoring list.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,500Senior forward Devanei Hampton comes into the game with 1,333 career points, 167 points shy of joining Walker at 1500 career points. Hampton is also 36 points shy of passing Kesha Martin (1989-93, 1,368 points) and moving into eighth place on the career scoring list.
BASKETBALL BY THE BAY TOURNAMENT
No. 9/7 California 76, San Jose State 40In Cal's 76-40 victory over San Jose State, the Bears led from tip to buzzer to earn their second 30-point victory of the season. The final was the largest point differential in a Bears' victory since beating Washington State by 55 points last season (99-44, 12/30/07) and the largest margin of victory over a nonconference opponent since defeating Harvard 96-54 at their home tournament, the Contra Costa Times Classic, in 2006. The Bears, who were holding their opponents to an average of just 49.3 ppg before allowing 82 to TCU, brought their average back down to 52.3. It was the second time this season the Bears defense held an opponent to 40 or fewer points.
The Bears out-rebounded SJSU by 25, their biggest rebounding margin of the season. SJSU managed just two offensive boards in the game, both of those coming in the second half.
The Bears held San Jose State's leading scorer, Natalie White, to zero points in the game. White has averaged 12.8 points per game this season.
The Bears' starting lineup shot 45.0 percent from three-point range in the game, with sophomore guard Kelsey Adrian and Alexis Gray-Lawson going 5-for-8. Ashley Walker hit her third three of the season, the fourth of her career.
No. 9/7 California 75, No. 7/5 Oklahoma 86The game was a tale of two halves with the Golden Bears dominating the first half and the Oklahoma Sooners owning the second half. Cal outscored the Sooners by 26 in the first half, only to be outscored by 37 in the second half in the biggest lead to ever be lost by a Cal team in a loss in program history.
Cal led by 17 points, 69-52, before Oklahoma (8-2) rallied by closing the game with a 34-6 run. Junior guard Nyeshia Stevenson hit back-to-back three-pointers and gave Oklahoma its first lead of the game with 3:43 to play. Stevenson finished with 21 points and senior center Courtney Paris had 18 points and 13 rebounds to extend her consecutive streak of double-doubles dating to her freshman season to 102 in Oklahoma's third straight victory since a loss to top-ranked Connecticut on Nov. 30.
Ashley Walker scored in the paint and from the perimeter, finishing with 26 points and eight rebounds in the shocking collapse by Cal (8-2). Alexis Gray-Lawson had 16 points and nine assists and Lauren Greif added a season-high 18 points for the Golden Bears, who dominated the first half of this highly anticipated showdown between the top-10 programs.
The Bears shot 64 percent and did everything right in the first half only to lose over the final 20 minutes by shooting 28 percent and committing 11 of their 18 turnovers.
Cal started the game strong, hitting 8 of its first 12 field-goal attempts. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson hit her first four field goal attempts, putting up 13 points early in the game. The Bears led 30-10 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. Ashley Walker scored her 22nd point of the game on a free throw with 3:05 left in the first half. At the time, the entire Oklahoma team had 22 points total. Walker had a pair of three pointers in her 22 points, her third and fourth of the season and just the fifth and sixth of her career. Cal led 52-26 at halftime. Their largest lead in the game was 26, which they held with 4:59 left in the first half.
The 2,636 people watching the game was the largest crowd to ever watch a women's collegiate basketball game at the venue.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT
SCOUTING SAINT MARYS
Saint Mary's women's basketball has experienced a rough start to the 2008-09 season, beginning 0-5 against five tough opponents. The Gaels began the year at the 2008 World View Classic in Austin, TX, where they dropped their first two games to ranked opponents (Old Dominion and Texas), and a close game to a very solid Dayton squad. Continuing on the road for their second week of play, Saint Mary's was unable to slow down the Titans of CS Fullerton and Wolfpack of Nevada on the road, dropping to 0-5.
The Gaels earned their first win of the season at home, defeating La Salle in the Concord Hilton Thanksgiving Classic, 61-55. Saint Mary's then faced the Indiana Hoosiers, as they were handed their first loss at home, 63-80. Against a team who was receiving votes in the top-25, the Gaels played the Golden Gophers of Minnesota closely, but was unable to pull the road upset. Back at home against UC Davis, Saint Mary's could not stop the Aggies beyond the arc, losing 85-69.
In their final game before the Christmas break, Saint Mary's mounted an impressive comeback against Boise State, but ultimately fell to the Broncos, 68-60. The Gaels scored just 20 points in the first half, but exploded to outscore Boise State 40 to 27 in the second. Unfortunately their last run was not enough to top the Broncos, as the Gaels came within three with 1:27 left in the game. Sophomore forward Louella Tomlinson did it all for the Gaels, as the Aussie recorded her first career triple-double, scoring game-highs in points, rebounds, and blocks, with 26, 13, and 11 respectively. Tomlinson was also an impressive 10-of-22 from the floor, while dishing out three assists and picking up one steal. Joining Tomlinson in double-digits was freshman Ashlee Smith, finishing the night with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Tomlinson currently leads all NCAA I players in blocks, averaging 6.0 blocks per game. She has 78 total this season.