No. 9 California Hosts Nevada Sunday

Nov. 15, 2008


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The California Golden Bears, coming off a pair of decisive victories in their exhibition games over Chico State (95-51) and Vanguard (87-37), and a season-opening victory over Albany (63-39), finish off opening weekend with a game Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion against the Nevada Wolfpack. Cal brings a school-record 30-game non-conference home win streak to Haas on Sunday. The Bears were 13-1 overall last season at Haas Pavilion.

Preseason All-American and unanimous preseason All-Pac-10 honoree Ashley Walker averaged 17.5 points in the two exhibition games. Walker scored 23 in the Albany opener and comes into Sunday's game needing just seven points to reach 1,500 in her career. She is seventh on the Cal all-time scoring list, 38 points shy of passing Trisha Safford (1989-92) and moving up to sixth place. Junior guard Natasha Vital score the 500th point of her career in Friday's victory. She had nine points in the game, going 3-for-5 from the field.

The No. 9 Bears will be short-handed once again with just nine players available for Sunday's game. Forwards Devanei Hampton and Rama N'diaye will sit out against Nevada. Head coach Joanne Boyle is still hopeful to have one, or both, back for next Friday's game against No. 3 Rutgers.

Senior Shantrell Sneed saw a career-high 23 minutes of playing time in the opener against Albany, scoring 6 points with 6 rebounds. Freshman Casey Morris also played 23 minutes, posting an identical six points. Morris had two assists, four steals, and two blocks in her Bear debut.

Cal enters the season as the No. 9 ranked team in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches' polls. The Bears have also been ranked No. 2 by Athlon Sports Magazine and No. 8 by Lindy's. The Bears have been continuously ranked in the top-25 since the 2007-08 preseason polls. The Bears have been picked to finish second in the Pac-10 in both the preseason coaches' and media polls.

CAL WINS SIXTH STRAIGHT HOME OPENER The California Golden Bears won their sixth-straight home opener when they defeated the Albany Great Danes 63-39 Friday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. Ashley Walker had 23 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Walker scored eight of Cal's first 10 points. She already had a steal, rebound and an assist five minutes into the game for the short-handed Golden Bears. She shot 9-for-15 before sitting down for good with 6:44 remaining. Coach Joanne Boyle is concerned about her team's lack of depth - she had just nine players suited up for this one and only Walker scored in double digits. The Bears focused on their conditioning this offseason and were able to push the tempo on the way to a 22-4 lead. Lauren Greif added nine points, eight rebounds and three assists and Alexis Gray-Lawson dished out five assists for Cal. Gray-Lawson gave her team a scare when she grabbed her back in pain with 6:53 to go in the first half and left the game for a short time before returning.

HOME NON-CONFERENCE WIN STREAK AT 30 The victory over Albany also extended Cal's school-record home non-conference win streak to a school-record 30 games. The Bears play seven of 12 non-Conference games at home this season and only once leave the Bay Area prior to beginning the Pac-10 schedule. All told, Cal will play 16 of 30 regular-season games at Haas Pavilion. The Bears were 13-1 overall at home last season, with their only loss coming on February 23 in their 60-58 loss to Stanford.


WALKER's QUEST FOR 1,500 Ashley Walker entered the season with 1,470 career points, 30 points shy of becoming just the seventh player in Cal history to score 1,500 points. With her 23 points against Albany, Walker now just needs seven points to reach 1,500. Devanei Hampton sits at 1,301 career points, 199 points shy of reaching that same plateau.


COUNTDOWN TO 1000 Alexis Gray-Lawson comes into the game with 929 career points. She is 71 points shy of becoming the 20th member of the Cal 1,000-point club. Ashley Walker enters the game with 832 career rebounds. Walker needs 168 rebounds to become just the second player in Cal history to grab 1,000 boards. She has averaged 274 rebounds per season in her first three years and pulled in 317 in 2007-08. Walker presently ranks fifth on the school's all-time rebounding list, needing 24 rebounds to pass Cynthia Cooke (1982-85) and move into fourth place on the list.


COUNTDOWN TO 500 Natasha Vital scored the 500th point of her career in the opener against Albany. She needed three points to reach 500, and scored nine. Lauren Greif comes in the game with 469 points, needing 31 to reach 500.


THE CAPTAINS Ashley Walker and Lauren Greif will serve as Cal's captains this season.


CAL PRESEASON UNANIMOUS TOP-10 California is ranked No. 9 or higher in four preseason women's basketball polls. Both the AP poll and the USA Today ESPN Coaches' poll have the Bears ranked ninth. Lindy's Magazine has the Bears ranked eighth. Athlon Sports Magazine rates the Bears as the No. 2 team in the country. The Bears were included in all 18 regular season AP polls last season as well as being chosen as the preseason No. 13 team. They spent three weeks ranked No. 8, their highest-ever ranking. They closed out the season ranked No. 10. In the USA Today ESPN Coaches' poll, the Bears also were included in all 19 regular-season polls and were the preseason No. 14 team. They spent two weeks ranked No. 8 on the USA Today ESPN poll and finished the season ranked No. 18 after falling to George Washington in the second round game of the NCAA Tournament.


CAL PICKED SECOND IN PAC-10 The California women's basketball team was predicted to finish second in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the preseason coaches' poll and the media poll. The ears had four first-place votes and 76 total points to place second. This is the highest that Cal has ever been slated to finish since the poll's inception in 1998-99. Stanford, the national runner-up, earned six first-place votes to take first place in the poll. Arizona State was picked to finish third after advancing to the postseason in 2007-08 for the fourth straight season. Last season, the Bears finished a program all-time best of second with a school-record 15-3 record. Cal led or held a share of first place in the conference until the Bears lost the regular-season final at Washington, 74-66, on March 2. The Pac-10 had three teams earn NCAA Tournament bids last year, the sixth consecutive year at least three league teams earned invites.

Preseason Coaches' Poll Team (First Place) Points 1. Stanford (6) 78 2. California (4) 76 3. Arizona State 65 4. USC 55 5. UCLA 48 6. Oregon 40 7. Washington 27 8. Oregon State 25 9. Washington State 20 10. Arizona 16 Preseason Media Poll Team (First Place) Points 1. Stanford (13) 139 2. California (1) 126 3. Arizona State 112 4. USC 94 5. UCLA 85 6. Oregon 64 7. Washington 56 8. Oregon State 51 9. Arizona 26 10. Washington St. 21

HAMPTON, WALKER PRESEASON All-PAC-10 Ashley Walker, a two-time first team All-Pac-10 honoree, was the lone unanimous selection to the preseason All-Pac-10 team. Cal had two of the five players on the preseason All-Pac-10 team with Devanei Hampton, a three-time All-Pac-10 honoree, also earning the recognition.


HAMPTON, WALKER EARN PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA HONORS Devanei Hampton, a two-time All-American and three-time All-Pac-10 honoree added more honors to her resume. Hampton was named preseason third-team All-American by The Sporting News. She is also on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 list and the State Farm/Wade Trophy Watch List. Ashley Walker, a two-time All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 player, was named a first-team preseason All-American by the Sporting News and an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. She, like Hampton, is also on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 list and the State Farm/Wade Trophy Watch List.


HAMPTON NAMED BEST POWER FORWARD BY ESPN.COM, in a list of the top five players at each position, declared Ashley Walker to be the best power forward in the nation. 'She plays with the aggressive mentality of thinking she has something to prove. She has been the steady presence as Cal has risen in the national rankings' said ESPN contributor Mechelle Voepel about Walker. Alexis Gray-Lawson was among the top five 2-guards. Devanei Hampton was among other forwards receiving votes.


CAL WELCOMES MORRIS, AGUIRRE Cal returns nine players from last year's squad and adds two freshmen: #15 Casey Morris and #5 Angelei Aguirre. Aguirre, a 5-11 guard, averaged 20.9 ppg and 10.2 rebounds per game during her senior season at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. Morris is a 5-9 point and shooting guard hailing from Piedmont High School, and was nationally ranked No. 35 ranked by Blue Star Report and No. 51 by Morris, in her first official game as a Golden Bear, scored six points (3-5 shooting) with two assists, four steals, and two blocks in 23 minutes of playing time. Aguirre got a brief four minute stint in the game when she had one steal.


CAL LANDS NO. 1 RATED RECRUITING CLASS Seven highly-ranked student-athletes, all of whom are ranked in the top 50 by at least one scouting service, have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball at California beginning with the 2009-10 season. The combination of the seven incoming players has given Cal the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Blue Star Basketball Report. Cal's recruiting class is ranked No. 2 by All-Star Girls Report and the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, with ESPN HoopGurlz ranking the class at No. 3. Included in the Bears freshman class of 2009-10 are two Bay Area standouts, Sacred Heart Cathedral High's Tierra Rogers and Pinole Valley High's DeNesha Stallworth, who will be joining four Southern California prep stars, Talia Caldwell of Marlborough High in Los Angeles, Layshia Clarendon of Cajon High in San Bernadino, Eliza Pierre of John Muir High in Pasadena, and Gennifer Brandon of Chatsworth High in Sylmar, and one Oregon product, Brenna Heater of Ashland High in Ashland. Of the seven Bear recruits, five are rated in the top ten at their position (as ranked by ESPN HoopGurlz) and all are in the top 15.


TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE Cal faces a tough schedule in 2008-09, with six 2008 NCAA Tournament participants and three 2008 WNIT selections on the docket. Four of the NCAA teams and all of the WNIT foes will battle the Bears during non-conference play. After a pair of opening-weekend home games, Rutgers, a 2008 NCAA Elite team, comes to Haas on Nov. 21. Cal then travels to the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, for Thanksgiving weekend to battle three perennial basketball powers. The Bears open the tournament against South Florida Nov. 27, then face Texas Tech Nov. 28 and conclude the event vs.. 2008 NCAA qualifier Iowa Nov. 29. South Florida and Texas Tech both competed in the 2008 WNIT. Cal then returns home to host the Contra Costa Times Classic, which the Bears have won the last four years, Dec. 6-7. This year's tournament features TCU (a 2008 WNIT quarterfinalist), Princeton and Saint Louis. The Bears will face Big 12 power Oklahoma, a 2008 NCAA Tournament participant, at the Basketball by the Bay Tournament in San Jose. The non-conference schedule concludes at home against Baylor, the 2005 national champion and a 2008 NCAA team, Dec. 22 and Saint Mary's Dec. 29.


CAL TO HOST 2009 NCAA REGIONAL, 2010 FIRST & SECOND ROUNDS Cal as been selected as a regional host for the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and as a first- and second-round host for the 2010 event. Competition will take place at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley in 2009 and 2010, marking the first time the venue has been chosen for the NCAA women's or men's basketball tournament. Haas Pavilion opened in the fall of 1999. In 1992, Harmon Gym - the Bears' previous home before Haas Pavilion - was the site of an NCAA first-round women's match-up between Cal and Santa Clara. Cal was the host of the 1998 NCAA women's regional at the Oakland Arena.




SCOUTING NEVADA (18-12, 9-7 Western Athletic Conference 2007-08) The Nevada Wolfpack is picked to finish fourth in the WAC in the preseason coaches' poll. Senior point guard Dellena Criner (16.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg) was selected as the Preseason WAC Player of the Year in the Coaches Poll and was also named to the first team. Senior guard Brandi Jones (8.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg) was named to the second team in the Coaches Poll. Criner was also named to the first team in the Media Poll. The Wolfpack return four starters from the 2007-08 squad. In addition to Criner and Fitzgerald, they also return senior forward Cherlanda Franklin (7.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and junior guard Marianne Lombardi (3.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg).


2008-09 EXHIBITION The Wolfpack played one exhibition game, defeating Sonoma State 69-51. Criner led Nevada with 11 points while Brandi Jones and Shavon Moore each recorded 10. Jones and Moore each added a team-high seven rebounds.


2008-09 WOLFPACK OPENER Nevada cruised to an easy 64-49 victory in their season opener when they hosted Eastern Washington on Friday night at the Lawlor Events Center. Dellena Criner scored a game-high 20 points, including hitting all seven of her freethrow attempts. Shavon Moore posted a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds.


HEAD COACH JANE ALBRIGHT The Pack will be under the direction of first-year head coach Jane Albright who brings over 24 years of Division I coaching experience to Nevada. She has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances with her teams at Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. In addition, Albright is ranked 39th in career wins (397) on the NCAA active coaches career wins list. This is her first time coaching against Cal.


THE SERIES Cal has won the last four meetings between the two teams and holds a 7-3 record all time against Nevada. The two teams last played each other Dec. 19, 2003, in Berkeley when Cal defeated Nevada, 62-51. Cal twice built a 20-point lead in the first half and led 33-21 at halftime. The Wolfpack cut the lead down to eight in the second half, but ran out of time to finalize their comeback.

Probable Starters (2007-08 stats)  

No           Pos         Name                                     Ht            Yr            PPG        RPG

25           F              Cherlanda Franklin             5-10        Sr.           7.0          5.2

33           F              Shavon Moore                      6-1          So.          7.9          4.1

1              G             Brandi Jones                        5-10        Sr.           8.9          5.0

10           G             Johnna Ward                        5-10        So.          6.7          0.9

22           G             Delanna Criner                    5-7          Sr.           16.1        3.5

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