California in San Diego for Surf `n Slam
Dec. 26, 2009
The California Golden Bears (5-4) begin their busy post-Christmas week with a pair of games at the Maggie Dixon Surf `n Slam Tournament in San Diego. In memory of Maggie Dixon, former USD player, the Surf `N Slam Classic at USD has been renamed the Maggie Dixon Surf `N Slam Classic. Since 2001, this four-team, two-game tournament has been held every year from Dec. 26-31. The tournament expanded in 2005 to eight teams. San Diego State joined USD as a tournament host, creating two separate four-team brackets, the Torero Division (USD host) and the Aztec Division (SDSU host).
The Bears will take on the Boston College Eagles (6-5) in the opening game of the Torero Division. If the Bears win, they will face the winner of the San Diego Toreros (6-6) Nevada Wolfpack (6-5) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30. If the Bears lose, they will play in the consolation game at 6 p.m. against the loser of the San Diego/ Nevada game.
The tournament could see a rematch of the 2008 NCAA Tournament first round game where Cal downed San Diego, 77-60, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford. It is the only time the two teams have faced one another in the history of the programs. Before potentially facing San Diego, Cal first will face off with the ACC's Boston College. This will be the first time the two schools have faced one another since the 1986-87 season. Cal is much more familiar with Nevada. The Bears defeated the Wolfpack, 67-53, last season at Haas Pavilion. Cal leads the all-time series 8-3 and has won the last five meetings with Nevada's last victory over Cal coming in the 1976-77 season.
The Boston College game is the first for the Bears since their Dec. 21 80-71 victory over the Long Beach State 49ers. The Bears had an 11-day break before the Long Beach game, and are coming into the weekend tournament having had a week off. The turnaround for their next game will be very quick as Pac-10 play begins Saturday, Jan. 2 with Cal opening up the conference schedule at Stanford. It is the only time this season the Bears will play three games in less than a seven-day span.
Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson has a chance to become the ninth player in Cal history to score 1,500 points in her career. Gray-Lawson comes into the tournament with 1,469 career points, 31 shy of the milestone. Last season, Gray-Lawson scored the 1,000th point of her career at the Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a tournament coordinated by the same group doing the Surf `n Slam Tournament in San Diego.
100 WINS Head Coach Joanne Boyle earned the 100th victory of her Cal career last Monday against Long Beach State. Boyle comes into the tournament with a 100-39 record leading the Golden Bears. Gooch Foster, with 279 victories, is the only Cal coach in the history of the program with more than 100 victories.
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGES Freshman center Talia Caldwell begins the week leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage. Caldwell, who has made seven straight field goal attempts, improved her shooting percentage to 67.7 percent. Caldwell currently does not have enough made-baskets to qualify for the NCAA national rankings in field goal percentage. She is averaging 3.6 makes per game. The minimum to be ranked in the NCAA national rankings is 5.0 per game. Tiana Hawkins of Maryland is the national leader with a 67.6 percent efficiency from the field.
Fellow freshman DeNesha Stallworth is also making 53.8 percent of her shots, ranking her third in the Pac-10 and No. 61 among NCAA Division I players. Stallworth found her way back into a shooting groove against Long Beach State, going 8-for-11 from the field, the second time this season she has gone 8-for-11 in a game. Cal, as a team, is third in the Pac-10 with a 41.6 accuracy from the field.
THREE POINTERS Stallworth has hit eighth three-pointers this season, tied for the second-highest total on the team. Stallworth leads the team with a 72.7 percent three-point efficiency, hitting her eight in just 11 attempts. Alexis Gray-Lawson, Cal's all-time career leader in made-threes, leads the team with 16 three-point baskets.
STEALS Guards Eliza Pierre and Natasha Vital have each had a game this season where they have logged six steals. Vital opened the season with a six-steal performance against Idaho State. Pierre logged six against Southern. Six steals was the most by a Bear in a single game since the 2005-06 season when Alexis Gray-Lawson grabbed six at Washington on Dec. 20, 2005. Pierre leads the team with 23 steals and entered the week ranked third in the Pac-10 averaging 2.56 steals per game. She also ranks among the top-100 players in NCAA Division I for steals (No. 86). However, there are only five freshmen averaging more than 2.5 steals per game this season, including Kevi Luper of Orel Roberts, a freshman currently leading the nation in steals with 5.2 per game.
POINTS Alexis Gray-Lawson is currently ranked No. 9 on the Cal career scoring list with 1,469 points. She is 31 points shy of becoming the ninth 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, eventually going on to pass the 2,000 career point mark later in the season.
TAKING SHOTS Alexis Gray-Lawson took 25 shots against Texas A&M, the most field goal attempts in a single game by a Pac-10 player this season. Gray-Lawson is also ranked second on the list with the 24 shots she took against Ohio State. Gray-Lawson has already taken 123 shots this season, 32 more than the next closest player on the team (DeNesha Stallworth, 91).
ASSISTS Natasha Vital logged the 400th assist of her Cal career against San Jose State. She continues to move up the career assist rankings, currently tied Meme Fanner (1986-89, 404) who ranks third on the career list. Alexis Gray-Lawson is four assists away from moving into the career top-10 list.
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS Since 2005-06, Cal has gone 41-11 in regular season games while playing non-Pac-10 opponents. 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. 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. Cal is 5-4 this season against non-conference opponents.
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.