No. 20/22 Cal Looks for Split at Arizona on Saturday

Jan. 26, 2007

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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Off to its best start in 15 seasons, No. 20/22 California (15-5, 6-4 Pac-10, 4th) looks to come home with a road split when the Golden Bears play at Arizona (7-15, 1-9, 10th) Saturday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m. MT (3 p.m. PT). Saturday's game can be seen live on Fox Sports Net, with Tracy Warren (play-by-play) and Cathy Nelson (color) handling the broadcast duties.

Arizona has lost five straight games but four of those contests have been decided by 10 points or fewer. The Bears look to win at the McKale Center for the second straight year after claiming a victory in Tucson for the first time since 1993 last season.

At 15-5, Cal is tied for the second-best start in school history through 20 games. Only the 1983-84 Bears began the year with a better record at 17-3. Cal's 6-4 Pac-10 record is tied for its second best through 10 games in Pac-10 play with the 1992-93 and 2005-06 teams. The1991-92 squad was 7-3 (15-5 overall).

Sophomore forward/center Ashley Walker, who was named to the State Farm Wade Trophy watch list and earned her third Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this season earlier this week, led Cal with 20 points and eight rebounds in a 66-54 setback at No. 10 Arizona State Jan. 25. The Bears, who have only nine healthy scholarship players, trailed by four with under five minutes on the clock.

Walker leads Cal in scoring (17.9 ppg), rebounding (8.6 rpg) and blocked shots (1.6 bpg). Sophomore forward/center Devanei Hampton, a Naismith Trophy candidate, posted 15 points at ASU and is second on the team in both scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg).

Prior to the setback at Arizona State, Cal had won four straight games, capped by a 65-56 decision over Oregon Jan. 20. Freshman guard Lauren Greif (Portland, Ore.) tallied a career-high 19 points to help head coach Joanne Boyle win her 100th-career game in five years as a collegiate coach.

The Bears' three starting guards had a breakout game in the Oregon win, as they combined for 39 points, eight assists and 1 turnover in a combined 118 minutes on the court. Greif, who averages 8.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg, is Cal's top three-point threat at 38.3 percent (36-94, 7th Pac-10 to start week). Senior Keanna Levy (Waterloo, Iowa) continues to excel in her first season as a starter, contributing 7.2 ppg and 4.2 rpg. Freshman Natasha Vital has started the last 11 games at point guard since Cal lost sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson for the season with an ACL injury Dec. 10. Vital averages 6.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 4.5 apg as a starter, compared to 3.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 1.3 apg as a non-starter.

Freshman forward/center Rama N'diaye (5.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and junior forward Krista Foster (3.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg) round out Cal's typical rotation for most games.

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