No. 12/15 Cal Faces New Mexico in Home Opener

Nov. 18, 2007

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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After opening the season 2-0 on the road, No. 12 California returns to Berkeley to host New Mexico (3-0) in its home opener Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears have won four consecutive home openers.

Cal defeated UC Riverside, 65-49, behind double-doubles from junior forward/center Ashley Walker and sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye. Walker contributed 25 points and 10 rebounds, while N'diaye had career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds as she started in place of an injured Devanei Hampton (the 2006-07 Pac-10 Player of the Year.)

Walker became the 18th 1000-point scorer in school history on a layup with 13:14 to play in the second half at UC Riverside. She now has 1006 career points.

UC Riverside was the first of six of Cal's non-conference opponents that qualified for the 2007 NCAA Tournament. The stretch is capped with a Dec. 10 road game at Rutgers, the 2007 national runner-ups.

The Bears moved up one spot to an all-time best ranking of 12th in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Cal dropped one place from a program high of 14th to 15th in the USA Today-ESPN Coaches' Top 25 Poll.

Cal rallied from nine points down in the second half to grab an 83-79 road victory over Fresno State Nov. 10 in both teams' season opener. Walker posted a monster double-double with 31 points and a career-high 23 rebounds.

Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson contributed 15 points against Fresno State, including the Bears' final four points. Preseason All-Americans Walker and Gray-Lawson will be relied upon heavily over the next few weeks as Hampton recovers from knee surgery.

Gray-Lawson and sophomore guards Natasha Vital and Lauren Greif also start for the Bears. Vital led the Pac-10 in assists in conference games last season at 5.4 apg, and Greif ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in three-pointers made/game (1.50). The sophomore duo both received Pac-10 All-Freshman honors.

In the first game without Hampton, forward Krista Foster, the only senior on the team, received the starting nod against Fresno State. Foster is a captain with Walker and Greif.

Freshman guard/forward Kelsey Adrian contributed 13 points off the bench for the Bears against the Bulldogs and added 11 at UC Riverside. Junior forward Shantrell Sneed has seen more minutes early on this year, and freshman guard Rachelle Federico could factor in to the rotation.

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