California Opens Pac-10 Play at the Battle of the Bay
Dec. 31, 2009
The California Golden Bears (6-5) start 2010 and the 2010 Pac-10 season this Saturday, January 2 when they head to Stanford to take on the No. 2-ranked Cardinal in the road half of this season's Battle of the Bay. The game will be carried live on Fox Sports Net (locally on CSN Bay Area) at 12 p.m.
Cal comes into the Stanford game after having had their best shooting performance of the season. The Bears made 51.6 percent of their shots in Wednesday's victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack. Their hot shooting also translated to the freethrow line with Cal converting 11 of their 12 freethrow attempts.
No shooter has been hotter than freshman guard Layshia Clarendon. Clarendon has posted back-to-back-to-back 20 point scoring performances. Clarendon averaged 5.8 points per game in the month of November. In December, Clarendon averaged 15.3 points per game. For the season, she is now averaging 11.0 ppg.
Freshman guard Talia Caldwell continues to lead the Pac-10 in shooting percentage. Caldwell
Cal has seen three different starting lineups in the last three games. Against Nevada, the Bears had four freshmen starters with Alexis Gray-Lawson as the lone upperclassmen.
Cal has also seen a deepening of the bench this week. Freshman forward Brenna Heater, who has been out since Nov. 22 with a stress fracture in her left foot, returned to the court against Boston College. Freshman forward Gennifer Brandon missed two games with a stress reaction in her left fibula. She returned against Nevada, scoring 10 points in her 12 minutes on the court.
The Bears turn their attention toward Pac-10 play and the Stanford Cardinal. Alexis Gray-Lawson was the hero of Cal's victory last season over Stanford. Gray-Lawson scored a career-high 37 points in the 57-54 victory in Berkeley January 18 of last season. Gray-Lawson has faced Stanford seven times in her career and is averaging 14.9 points per game against Stanford.
Gray-Lawson comes into Saturday's game three points shy of becoming the ninth player in Cal history to score 1,500 career points. Gray-Lawson is second among active Pac-10 players in career points, trailing only Stanford's Jayne Appel. She will be the 42nd player in Pac-10 history to reach 1,500 career points.
Cal trails the all-time series, 52-17. Cal has two recent victories over Stanford. In addition to last year's victory, Cal also had a 72-57 victory at Stanford Feb. 4, 2007.
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGES Freshman center Talia Caldwell leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage. 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 50.0 percent of her shots (41-for-80), ranking her tenth in the Pac-10, but Stallworth's three-point accuracy is what is really impressive. Stallworth has hit nine three-pointers this season in 13 attempts (69.2 percent). Stallworth is third on the team in made-threes. Alexis Gray-Lawson, Cal's career leader in made threes, leads the squad with 18.
Layshia Clarendon has made 14 three-pointers on the season, second highest total on the squad. Clarendon has had the hot hand lately, going 4-for-6 from long range against Nevada. In the last five games, Clarendon has made 12 of 26 attempts, making treys at a 46.1 percent efficiency. For the season, she is currently ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting efficiency (37.8).
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 24 steals and is sixth in the Pac-10 averaging 2.2 steals per game. She also ranks among the top-100 players in NCAA Division I for steals (No. 87). 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. 10 on the Cal career scoring list with 1,497 points. She is 3 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.
BLOCKING Talia Caldwell was the first Bear this season to log three or more blocks in a game when she blocked four shots in the Nevada game. DeNesha Stallworth leads the Bears with 11 blocks. Freshman forward Gennifer Brandon has had a block in all but two games she has played in this season.
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 with four fewer than Meme Fanner (1986-89, 404) who ranks third on the career list. Alexis Gray-Lawson moved into Cal's career top-10 list with her two assists in the Nevada game. She has 318 career assists.
FREETHROWS Despite recent struggles as a team at the freethrow line, Cal does have two players ranked in the top-10 in the Pac-10 in freethrow efficiency. Natasha Vital is sixth, hitting 80.0 percent of her freethrows. DeNesha Stallworth is right behind her at seventh at 79.4 percent. Rachelle Federico has not missed a freethrow this season and Layshia Clarendon has only missed on three attempts (21-of-24).
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.