California Hosts Stanford in the Battle of the Bay
March 2, 2010
The California Golden Bears (17-11, 11-6 Pac-10) close out the regular season by hosting the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (27-1, 17-0 Pac-10) at Haas Pavilion on Saturday, March 6. The game will be carried nationally on Fox Sports Net and locally on Comcast Bay Area. Tip off is at 12:30 p.m.
Saturday's game will be a Cal Kids Day with general admission tickets available for all youth 12th grade and younger for just $1. There will be pregame face painting, poster making and inflatables as well as a post game player autograph session. However in the event of rain, the kids day pregame activities will be canceled.
Cal enters the week in sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 standings, holding a half-game advantage over the USC Trojans. Cal and USC both have six losses, but Cal has 11 wins. USC will play a pair of games this week, hosting Arizona on Thursday and Arizona State on Saturday. If Cal and USC end up in a tie for third, USC holds the tiebreak advantage over Cal and would earn the three seed in the Pac-10 Tournament, pushing Cal into the fourth seed. If Arizona State wins both of their games and Cal loses, then ASU and Cal would be tied for third. Once again, Arizona State owns the tiebreak advantage and Cal would be seeded fourth. Cal could also end up as the five seed if ASU, USC, and Cal tie for third place (with a Cal loss, two ASU wins, and a USC victory over Arizona).
Cal has been guaranteed a first round bye in the Pac-10 tournament. The No. 1-6 seeds play their first games on Friday, March 12, the day after the 7-10 seeds open the tournament with a pair of Thursday games. If Cal does retain the No. 3 seed, they will take on the No. 6 seed on Friday at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals. If they are the four or five seed, they will play Friday at 11:00 a.m. Only the semifinals, played on Saturday, March 13 (at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.), and the Championships game, played on Sunday, March 14 (at 3:00 p.m.) will be televised on Fox Sports (and carried locally on Comcast Bay Area).
Cal comes into the weekend 11-3 in their last 14 games, with one of those losses coming on a last second shot from Arizona State's Danielle Orsillo. Cal's defense has held each of their last three opponents, including the offensive juggernaut Oregon, to under their season scoring average. In the last four games, Cal has outrebounded their opponents on average by 6.5 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Gennifer Brandon has led the defensive charge. Brandon has been Cal's top rebounder in eight of their last 11 games, despite having only started five of those games. She had back-to-back-to-back double-digit rebounding games against Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona. She is also getting it done on the offensive end of the court, averaging 12.0 points per game in her last three games.
Freshman guard Eliza Pierre had a well-balanced games against Arizona State, scoring 9 points with 6 rebounds, 4 assists. She also had a block, the sixth time this season the 5 foot 7 guard has blocked a shot.
PAC-10 SCORING RACE Going into the final game of the regular season, Alexis Gray-Lawson leads the race for the Pac-10 scoring title. Gray-Lawson is averaging 18.1 points per game with Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike at 18.0. Gray-Lawson has scored three more points this season, with 508 to Ogwumike's 505. In Conference games, Gray-Lawson is averaging 20.6 ppg to Oregon's Taylor Lilley's 19.7. Ogumike is in third with 17.9. The scoring race will continue on through the post-season. If Gray-Lawson should win the title, it will be the second consecutive year a Cal player has led the Conference in scoring. Ashley Walker ended the 2008-09 season with a Pac-10-best 18.9 points per game. Walker was the third Bear to win a Pac-10 scoring title. Jennifer Bennett, with a 23.7 points per game average, was the first ever Pac-10 scoring champ for women's basketball in 1986-87, the first season the Conference sponsored women's basketball. Trisha Stafford also led the league in scoring in 1991-92 with a 22.3 ppg average.
It would also be the second time in Gray-Lawson's career that she ended the year leading the Conference in a statistical category. She finished the 2007-08 season with a 40.0 three-point shooting percentage, tops in the Pac-10.
500 POINTS Alexis Gray-Lawson scored her 500th point of the season against Arizona State. Gray-Lawson has moved into the top-10 in the Cal record book for most points in a single season. She enters today's game with 508, in tenth place on the list.
FREETHROWS Senior guard Natasha Vital is ranked tenth in the Pac-10 in freethrow percentage this season. Vital has made 79.2 percent of her attempts from the stripe. Gennifer Brandon has made her last seven consecutive freethrow attempts. Brandon has made 16 of her last 18 freethrows in a span of six games. She has raised her average to 74.3 percent from the line.
SENIOR DAY Saturday will be the final home game in the career of three outstanding Cal seniors. A special Senior Day Presentation will be held right after the National Anthem.
Lauren Grief comes into the game ranked fourth on the Cal career three-point list (132). She is currently fifth on the Cal career games played list. She started 109 consecutive games and had a streak of 124 consecutive games played in her career. Last season, she was a Pac-10 First Team All-Academic honoree.
Natasha Vital is ranked fourth on the Cal career games played list. She comes into the game ranked ninth on the career three-point list (102) and third on the career assist list (443). She has more career assists than any active player in the Pac-10. Vital is a two time honorable mention for All-Pac-10 honors and a two time honorable mention for the All-Defensive Pac-10 team.
Alexis Gray-Lawson will finish her career as the number three scorer in Cal history. She currently has 1848 career points. She has also played more games in a Cal jersey than any other player. She holds the Cal single game point record (47) and the career three-point record (199) as well as ranking in the top-10 in assists (339), steals (179) and points in a single season (508 so far this year).
SHOOTING SHIRT AUCTION On Saturday, March 6 the California Golden Bear women's basketball team will be holding a silent auction to raise money for the Berkeley Food and Housing Project. The silent auction of specially designed shooting shirts will go from 11 a.m. through the end of the first half of the Stanford game.
The players will each be designing a special shooting shirt that they will wear during the pregame warmups. The shirts will be available to be bid on as soon as the doors open to the public (11:00 a.m.). The starting bid for each shirt will be $100 with bid increments of $10. The auction will take place in the Haas Pavilion Club Room.
This is the second year that the players have participated in a shooting shirt auction. This season, there will be two beneficiaries. The proceeds from Coach Joanne Boyle and freshman guard Tierra Rogers' shirts will benefit the UCSF Foundation and their research efforts on ARVD Research. The rest of the team's shirts will be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting the Berkeley Food and Housing Project. Last year's shooting shirt auction raised $3100.
POST SEASON On Monday, March 15, Cal will learn their post season fate. The NCAA Tournament's field of 64 teams will be announced live on ESPN at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. If the Bears make the NCAA Tournament, they will most likely be playing in Berkeley on Saturday, March 20 as Haas Pavilion is one of the 2010 NCAA Tournament First and Second Round host sites.
If the Bears fail to make the NCAA Tournament, they will learn later that evening if they have received an invitation to the WNIT (Women's National Invitation Tournament). The 64-team field for the WNIT consists of 31 automatic berths - one from each established conference - and 33 at-large teams. The intention of the WNIT Selection Committee is to select the 33 best available at-large teams in the nation, regardless of conference or geographical location. All games in the single-elimination format are played at the main or alternate facilities of participating schools. First round games will take place March 17-19.
Details of Cal's post season will be posted on CalBears.com as soon as the information is determined.
BOYLE & THE POST SEASON Cal head coach Joanne Boyle has a perfect record for post-season qualifying as a head coach. She took her Richmond Spiders to two WNIT tournaments (advancing to the semi-finals in 2003-04) and to the NCAA's in 2004-05. Her four previous Cal teams have all qualified for the NCAA's. Even as an assistant at Duke, Boyle's teams made it to the NCAA tournament every year but her first (1993-94), eight straight trips.
GRAY-LAWSON FINALIST FOR WOMEN'S NAISMITH TROPHY The Atlanta Tipoff Club today announced the 30 midseason candidates for the 2010 Women's Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T. It is the one Player of the Year award whose winner is partially determined through fan voting. The list was voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season.
The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national basketball award and is given annually to the women's college basketball player of the year. This year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Women's Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. Fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25 percent of the final results - more than any other national college basketball award. Beginning March 22, fans will be able to text their votes for the player of their choice.
A LOOK AT STANFORD (17-0, 27-1) The Stanford Cardinal have already secured their sixth consecutive outright Pac-10 regular-season championship. They have won 17 games in a row, their last loss coming at the hands of No. 1 Connecticut, and have been ranked No. 2 in both polls all season.
The Cardinal leads the series 53-17. Cal has two recent victories, winning 57-54 last season at Haas (date) and a 72-57 victory at Stanford (dates), the last home loss for the Cardinal.
Earlier this season, the California Golden Bears dropped the opening round of the 2010 Battle of the Bay, falling to the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal, 79-58, at Stanford.