No. 13/18 California Plays Saint Mary's Tuesday Night at Haas
Nov. 16, 2009
The No. 13/18 California Golden Bears (1-0) close out their opening home stand with a pair of games this week. First up, Cal will host Bay Area neighbor Saint Mary's (1-0) for a Tuesday, Nov. 17 game tipping at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 22, Cal will play the first of their televised games of the season, hosting fellow top-25 power Baylor (0-1) at 2:00 p.m. in Haas Pavilion.
Cal got off to a hot start to the 2009-10 season. After scoring an unofficial 101 points in their exhibition game against Vanguard, the Bears made the triple-digit score official in their 100-43 rout of Idaho State in the season opener. It was the first time since Jan. 6, 1996 that Cal had scored 100 or more points and was only the 15th time that had happened in the history of the program. The even 100 points also set a Haas Pavilion record for the most points scored by a team playing in the building, erasing the previous record of 99 points Cal scored against Washington State during the 2007-08 season.
The Bears showed depth and balance in the game with every available player scoring in the game. The freshmen class looked like seasoned veterans on the floor. Forward DeNesha Stallworth scored 17 points in her official debut, going 6-for-8 from the field, including hitting a three-pointer. Stallworth also logged eight rebounds, had three assists, and a pair of steals. Forward Talia Caldwell logged a game-high nine rebounds. Guard Eliza Pierre scored 11 points with nine of those coming from the freethrow line. Pierre also had four steals, two assists, and a block. Guard Layshia Clarendon ended up being the workhorse in the game, leading the squad with 26 minutes on the court. Every player saw at least 15 minutes on the court.
The seniors, playing on fresh legs through most of the contest, also put up some very impressive numbers. Senior guard Natasha Vital scored 16 points in just 17 minutes on the court. Vital went on a personal 7-0 run in the second half. She also logged four assists and six steals in the game. Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 16 points, including hitting three three-pointers, while playing 20 minutes. Vital and Gray-Lawson combined for a 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) shooting with 10 steals in the game. Senior guard Lauren Greif had nine points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS NOTES
FREETHROWS Alexis Gray-Lawson had hit 14 consecutive freethrows (a streak that dated back to the Pac-10 Tournament game against USC) before missing her fourth attempt in the Idaho State game. Three players, DeNesha Stallworth, Lauren Greif, and Layshia Clarendon, were perfect from the stripe in the game. Freshman guard Eliza Pierre scored nine of her 11 points at the freethrow line her Cal debut.
THREES Alexis Gray-Lawson enters the game ranked No. 2 on the Cal career three-point list. She has 153 treys in her career, six behind Jennifer Self who made 159 from 1989-1992.
POINTS Alexis Gray-Lawson is currently ranked No. 10 on the Cal career scoring list with 1,346 points. She is 144 points shy of becoming the eighth player in Cal history to score 1,500 career points. Former teammates Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton each reached the 1,500 point mark last season. Walker became the first Cal player to score 1,500 points since 1992. She went on to pass the 2,000 career point mark later in the season.
ASSISTS Natasha Vital moved into fourth place on the Cal career assist list, logging four assists against Idaho State. Vital has 385 career assists, 19 fewer than Meme Fanner (1986-89, 404) who ranks third on the career list. Alexis Gray-Lawson is 25 assists away from moving into the career top-10 list.
100 WINS Head Coach Joanne Boyle enters the week with a Cal career record of 96-35, four victories shy of her 100th Cal win. Gooch Foster, with 279 victories, is the only Cal coach in the history of the program with more than 100 victories.
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS Since 2005-06, Cal has gone 37-7 in regular season games while playing non-Pac-10 opponents. Two of those seven losses have come against Baylor. Cal fell 69-56 in Waco two years ago and also bowed 75-58 in a neutral-site match up in 2005's Caribbean Classic. Cal went 9-2 last year in the regular season against non-conference foes, with their two losses coming at the hands of No. 5 Oklahoma and TCU, which was at the time ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN poll.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE The Golden Bears home court was the setting for a 33-game non-conference win streak. From the beginning of the 2003-04 season through Dec. 6, 2008, Cal did not lose a non-conference game played at Haas Pavilion. The 2008-09 season saw one of the biggest non-conference wins in the history of the program when the Bears knocked off the then-ranked No. 2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 66-52 in front of 4,458 fans. Last season was also the second time in two years that Haas was filled literally to the rafters with a crowd of over 10,000 fans. The 2008-09 Battle of the Bay game against Stanford had 10,126 fans on hand to witness the Bears' 57-54 victory over the Cardinal. In 2007-08, the game at Cal between the two nationally-ranked women's basketball powers was attended by a Haas Pavilion record 10,525 fans.
LIVE STREAMING AUDIO The California Golden Bear's Women's Basketball team will be streaming live action for their entire 2009-10 season as part of the Cal ISP Sports Network online through CalBears.com. The Cal ISP Sports Network will be providing the audio broadcasts for all games will be available free on the internet for fans to listen via the CalBears.com website. Bay Area broadcasting veteran Dave Lewis has been hired to call the play-by-play for the game broadcasts. U.C. Berkeley's student radio station, KALX-FM, which has carried women's basketball games for the past 27 years, will continue to broadcast most home games and select road games this season.
No. 1 RECRUITING CLASS SHOWDOWN In Nov. 2008, Cal head coach Joanne Boyle inked the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, according to Blue Star Basketball Report. According to ESPN Hoop Gurlz, Baylor's Kim Mulkey signed the nation's top class with the Cal Bears ranking third. Both teams were ranked among the best recruiting class by all of the major scouting and recruiting sites last season, setting up the Sunday, Nov. 22 showdown between these two heralded groups of now-freshmen.
BACK-TO-BACK TOP-10 CLASSES According to the Blue Star Basketball report, Cal has the distinction of being the only team to sign back-to-back top-ten ranked recruiting classes. The incoming freshmen of 2009-10 were ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country by at least one major recruiting site. This year's class of 2010-11 was a consensus top-10 class, ranking No. 7 by Blue Star and No. 9 by ESPN Hoop Gurlz. Afure Jemerigbe, a 6-0 guard who plays at Saint Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., is ranked No. 15 overall and is the No. 2 shooting guard by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and the No. 15 overall recruit by Blue Star. Lindsay Sherbert, a 6-1 guard from Temecula, Calif. at Great Oak High School is ranked No. 29 overall and at No. 6 at her position by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and at No. 10 overall by Blue Star. Guard Mikayla Lyles, a 5-8 Bay Area guard who plays at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., rounds out the class.
PRESEASON RANKINGS The California Golden Bears are ranked No. 13 in the Preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Cal is ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press preseason poll. This is the fourth consecutive season Cal begins play as a top-25 team. California has been a steady presence in both major top-25 polls since the 2006-07 season. Cal returned to the polls in the 2007 preseason poll and has been listed in 54 of 57 AP polls and 57 of 58 USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls since then. Cal has been a continuous presence in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll since Feb. 26, 2007 (week 16). Last season, Cal spent four weeks at a program-best No. 3 ranking. They finished the season ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll.
CAL PICKED SECOND IN PAC-10 The California women's basketball team was predicted to finish second in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the preseason coaches' poll and third in the media poll. This is second time since the poll's inception in 1998-99 that Cal has received such a high preseason ranking. Stanford, a 2008-09 Final Four team, earned eight of the nine first place votes to take first place in the poll. Arizona State was picked to finish third after advancing to the postseason in 2008-09 for the fifth straight season. Each of the last two seasons, the Bears have finished in second place in the conference with a school-record 15-3 record. The Pac-10 had three teams earn NCAA Tournament bids last year, the seventh consecutive year at least three league teams earned invites.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
A Look at Saint Mary's The Saint Mary's Gaels (11-19, 7-7 WCC) have been projected to finish fifth this season, earning 29 points in this year's 2009-10 preseason West Coast Conference Coaches Poll. Last season, the Gaels finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the WCC, tied with Loyola Marymount and San Diego after posting a 7-7 conference record.
The Gaels had two players named to the preseason all-conference team in junior center Louella Tomlinson and senior guard Jontelle Smith, who missed last season due to injury. Tomlinson ranked second in the country in blocks (161) and holds the Saint Mary's all-time record in blocks with 317 rejections. She broke her own single-season record from freshman year, when she had 156 blocks. Tomlinson was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-WCC First Team honors. With one season left, Smith is already Saint Mary's all-time leader in three-pointers made with 190. In 2007-08, Smith finished the season with 469 points, was 84-216 from 3-point land, had 38 steals, and dished out 31 assists en route to her second consecutive All-WCC First Team selection.
Cal leads the all-time series 13-5 with the Bears winning the last four meetings. Cal cruised to a 85-44 victory last season when the two teams met on Dec. 29 at Haas Pavilion. A close 37-26 game at the half, Cal went on a 35-1 run in the second half to put the game out of reach. In the last three meetings, Cal has averaged a 24.0 point margin of victory. The last close game came in 2004-05 when Cal earned a 59-522 victory, snapping a streak of five straight losses to the Gaels.
A Look at Baylor
The Baylor Bears came into the season ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll. Baylor freshman Brittney Griner, a 6-8 forward with the ability to dunk, has been the most buzzed about player in women's college basketball as the season begins. Griner scored 15 points in Baylor's 74-65 season-opening loss at No. 9 Tennessee, nine of which came from the freethrow line. Guard Melissa Jones led the team with 21 points in the game, including going a perfect 10-for-10 from the freethrow line. Forward Morghan Medlock had a team-high 13 rebounds.
Baylor posted a 29-6 overall record last season and finished No. 5 in the final AP poll. The Lady Bears finished second in the Big 12 Conference, won the Big 12 Championship and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by eventual national runner-up Louisville. Baylor returns one starter off last season's squad and boasts eight returnees and five newcomers on this year's roster.
The Baylor Bears were scheduled to play at Haas Pavilion last season, but the game was canceled when a rare December snow storm stranded the team in Oregon. Baylor and Cal have faced one another three times with Cal looking for its first-ever regular-season victory over Baylor. Cal's only victory was an 82-72 win in the first round of the WNIT, March 26, 1981. Baylor has won the last two match-ups, 69-56 Nov. 25, 2007 in Waco and Nov. 26, 2005 on a neutral court at the Caribbean Classic. This is the first time the two teams have played at Haas Pavilion.
Baylor is the first of two Big-12 teams that Cal should face this season. Texas A&M will be playing in the Collier's International Classic at Haas Pavilion Dec. 5-6 and could take on Cal in the second round of the tournament. Last season, Cal was 1-1 against Big-12 schools including a 68-54 victory over Texas Tech in the Paradise Jam Tournament and the 86-75 loss at the hands of Oklahoma.