No. 13/9 California Hosts Pac-10 Home Opener
Jan. 6, 2009
Thursday, Jan. 8, 7:00 p.m.: Washington St. at Cal, Berkeley, Calif.
Sunday, Jan. 11, 12:30 p.m.: Washington at Cal, Berkeley, Calif.(Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: Sunday, FSN)
For the second straight season, the California Golden Bears have started the season with a 2-0 mark in Pac-10 play. The Bears earned a 56-46 victory at Arizona Jan. 2, followed by a 54-53 thriller at Arizona State Jan. 4 to put them atop the conference standings. Since joining the Pac-10, the Bears have only started 3-0 or better two times- last season when they won six straight to begin conference play and in 1991-92 when they began with a 4-0 record. Overall, the Bears have started conference play 3-0 or better eight times, with their best start coming in 1981-82 when they went 8-0 to begin their NorCal Conference play.
After the opening weekend, the Bears are now 22-24 overall in the opening weekend of Pac-10 play. They have opened their Pac-10 season facing the Arizona schools nine times with a 7-11 record in those games.
The Bears are 11-11 in their Pac-10 home openers. Last season, they played they opened Pac-10 play at Haas with a 66-40 victory over Washington. Cal has won two of their last three Pac-10 home openers. This year, the Washington State Cougars will get the nod to play in Cal's Pac-10 home opener. The Cougars have lost the last seven times they have faced Cal. Last year's home contest against Washington State saw a final score of 99-44, with five different Cal players scoring double-digit points. The game was also the largest margin of victory for a Cal team in a Pac-10 game (44 points) and set a record for most points scored by a Cal team playing at Haas Pavilion.
Sunday's opponent, the Washington Huskies, stunned the Bears last season with a 74-66 victory in Seattle to close out the 2007-08 regular season. The defeat dropped the Bears from a possible tie for first place in the Pac-10 to their second place finish.
In this week's AP and USA Today/ ESPN coaches polls, Cal remained at No. 13. and No. 9. for the third straight week. Cal has been listed in the top-10 in at least one of the two national polls in 20 of the last 21 rankings. After the loss to No. 5/6 Oklahoma, the Bears fell out of the top-10 in the Associated Press poll, tumbling to No. 12, but managed to stay in the top-10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, coming in at No. 9. The Bears spent two weeks (weeks 2-3) with a program-best No. 3 ranking, but fell to No. 9/7 after being handed their first loss of the season Sunday, Dec. 7 by No. 22 TCU, 82-73.
SHOOTINGCasey Morris hit six of her ten shots against Arizona, the third time this season that she has made five or more field goals in a game. Her 60.0 shooting percentage was the fourth time this season she has shot better than 60 percent from the field in a game. This performance followed her 83.3 percent shooting performance (5-for-6) against Saint Mary's. Ashley Walker, who made seven of her 11 field-goal attempts in the Saint Mary's game and went 11-for-18 against Arizona, leads the team with seven games with a field-goal percentage of 60.0 percent or above. Walker is fifth in the Pac-10 with a 57.5 overall field-goal percentage this season, the best numbers of her career. She has raised her career average to 52.4 percent after coming in this year hitting 51.5 percent of her shots. Walker currently ranks No. 18 among all Division I players in field goal percentage.
GAME HIGHSAshley Walker has led the Bears in 7 of the Bears' 13 games this season and in rebounding in 10 of 13 games. Casey Morris snapped Walker's streak of six straight games with the team-high points when Morris scored 20 points against Saint Mary's. Lauren Greif has led the team or tied for the team high in rebounding six times, including the last three games. Greif led the Bears against Arizona with her second double-digit rebound game of the season, pulling in 11 boards. Hampton was just behind her with nine. Greif also had a team-high four steals against the Wildcats.
LEADING THE Pac-10Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 21.5 ppg paces the conference and ranks her ninth among all DI players. Dawn Evans of James Madison leads the nation at 25.3 ppg. Walker is the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top-50 in scoring. Oregon's Micaela Cocks (16.2 ppg) is the only other Pac-10 in the top-100 at No. 80. Walker was among the nation's leaders in rebounding, ranking No. 77 with 8.8 rebounds per game in the last top-100 national rankings. She is fourth in the Pac-10 in that statistic with her current 8.3 rebounds per game. Junior guard Natasha Vital's impressive 50.0 percent three-point shooting efficiency has her leading the Pac-10. She has hit 17 treys in 37 attempts this season. Natasha Vital's 3-for-3 performance from three-point against Arizona State moved her back to the top of the Pac-10 leader board in three-point efficiency after briefly falling to second in the Pac-10. Vital has made 20 of her 40 three-point attempts this season and has four games in which she has hit three or more treys in a contest.
ASSISTSAlexis Gray-Lawson is averaging 4.4 assists per game, third best in the Pac-10. Gray-Lawson's assist-to-turnover ratio dipped slightly after the Arizona State game, but she is still second in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 1.90. Gray-Lawson was ranked No. 5 among all NCAA Division I women's basketball players in last week's national stats rankings report in that category, but has fallen to No. 36 this week.
DEFENSECal continues to rank in the top-25 teams in scoring defense. The Bears have held opponents to under 50 points five times this season, including allowing just 46 points at Arizona. The Bears allow an average of just 53.8 points per game. They are second among Pac-10 teams in this category, trailing just Oregon State who has allowed just 53.5 per game, and come into the week ranked No. 23 among all NCAA Division I teams in fewest points allowed per game. Last season, the Bears held their Pac-10 opponents to under 50 points eight times, including limiting Washington State to 44 and 47 points. In five of the last six meetings between WSU and Cal, only once have the Cougars scored more than 50 points.
DEV BECOMING DEVThe Saint Mary's game was the first time in the 2008-09 season that Devanei Hampton was announced in the starting line-up for the Bears. Hampton played 23 minutes on the court against the Gaels, scoring a season-high 13 points with a season-high seven rebounds. Hampton missed the first games of the season recovering from off-season knee surgery. Hampton missed eight games to start the 2007-08 season coming back from knee surgery. When she finally came back last season, it took her five games before she posted her first double-digit scoring effort. This season, it took her just four games, with Hampton scoring 10 against Princeton. The 13 against Saint Mary's was her second double-digit effort of the season. Hampton averaged 15.3 points per game in her Cal career entering the 2008-09 season. Hampton averaged 35 minutes per game in the two Pac-10 games this season.
BOYLE NAMED WBCA RISING STARThe Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced its winners for the 2009 WBCA Superlatives, with California Golden Bears head coach Joanne Boyle earning the Rising Star award. Nominations for the WBCA Superlatives were submitted through an online survey form. The top vote-getters for each category were then voted on through a balloting process, with the top vote-getter for each category being named the winner.The complete list of superlatives:Most Inspirational: Kay Yow (N.C. State)Most Likely to get a Technical Foul: Geno Auriemma (Connecticut)Best Pep Band: TennesseeRising Star: Joanne Boyle (California, Berkley)Best Coaching Combo: Geno Auriemma/Chris Dailey (Connecticut)Most Entertaining on the Sideline: Geno Auriemma (Connecticut)Most Intense on the Court but Laidback off the Court: Pat Summitt (Tennessee)Best Tradition: TennesseeBest WBCA Pink Zone Event: N.C. StateBest Away Locker Room: Arizona State
SKIP THE LINESFans planning on coming to the game Sunday, Jan. 18 against Stanford are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. Lines for day-of-game ticket purchases are expected to be very long. To avoid the hassle, tickets can be purchased online at CalBears.com, over the phone at (800) GO-BEARS, or in person at the Cal Athletic Ticket Office, located at 2223 Fulton Street on the first floor, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All youth 12th grade and under can purchase special $1 tickets for the game.
WALKER 18 POINTS SHY OF SECONDAshley Walker needs 18 points to pass Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and move into second place on the all-time scoring list. 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. She scored her 1500th career point in the first half of the Nevada game. Walker entered the season ranked seventh on the Cal all-time scoring leaders list. She has since moved past Cynthia Cooke (1982-85, 1,641 points) and into third on the all-time points list with 1,740.
WALKER No. 2 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERAshley Walker's eight rebounds against Iowa moved her to second on the all-time Cal rebounding list, passing Kesha Martin (1989-93), who has 875, to make her the second leading rebounder in school history. Walker now has 921 career rebounds, needing 79 to become just the second player in Cal history to grab 1,000 boards, and is 108 rebounds shy of passing Colleen Galloway (1978-81) to become Cal's all-time leading rebounder.
CAREER ASSISTSJunior guard Natasha Vital moved into the top-10 in career assists with her four dishes against SJSU, passing Sherrise Smith (1996-99, 292) to officially enter the Bear record book. Vital tallied career assist No. 300 against Saint Mary's on a feed to Devanei Hampton in the paint with four minutes left in the first half. Vital needs 8 assists to move into ninth place on the career assists list.
GRAY-LAWSON'S 1000 POINT MEMBERSHIPAlexis Gray-Lawson became the 20th member of Cal's 1,000 point club on Nov. 29 in the third game of the Paradise Jam Tournament against Iowa, with 1:26 left in the first half on a runner through the lane. Gray-Lawson needs 140 points to move into the top-10 on the career-scoring list.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,500Senior forward Devanei Hampton comes into the game with 1,353 career points, which is 147 points shy of joining Walker at 1500 career points. Hampton is also 14 points shy of passing Kesha Martin (1989-93, 1,368 points) and moving into eighth place on the career scoring list.
THIS WEEK'S PAC-10 OPPONENTS
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE (7-5, 0-1 Pac-10)The Washington State Cougars dropped their Pac-10 opener to Washington, 71-58, falling to 7-5 on the season. WSU's seven nonconference wins this season were the most by a Cougar squad since recording nine wins in nonconference during the 1995-96 season.The Cougars have started the same five players in each of the last seven games, and each starter is currently averaging double figures in scoring. Freshman guard Jazmine Perkins leads the team and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 Conference with 14.9 points per game, while freshman guard April Cook ranks seventh in the Pac-10 with 13.9 ppg. Senior guard Katie Appleton (11.3), freshman forward Rosie Tarnowski (10.2) and senior forward Heather Molzen (10.0) are also scoring 10-plus per game.The Cougars have lost the last seven times they have faced Cal. Last year's home contest against Washington State saw a final score of 99-44, with five different Cal players scoring double-digit points. The game was also the largest margin of victory for a Cal team in a Pac-10 game (44 points) and set a record for most points scored by a Cal team playing at Haas Pavilion. Cal leads the all-time series 31-19.
Washington State's Probable Starters (2008-09 per-game averages) No. Name Ht. Yr. Hometown PPG RPGG 1 April Cook 5-8 Fr. Carson, CA 13.9 2.9G 11 Jazmine Perkins 5-10 Fr. Berkeley, CA 14.9 5.2G 13 Katie Appleton 5-8 Sr. Big Bear Lake, CA 11.3 5.1F 21 Rosie Tarnowski 6-1 Fr. Philadelphia, PA 10.2 6.5C 31 Heather Molzen 6-3 Sr. Lakeside, CA 10.0 7.0
SCOUTING WASHINGTON (5-6, 1-0 Pac-10)The Washington Huskies won their Pac-10 opener against Washington State, 71-58, extending their winning streak over the Cougars to 27 games. Junior forward/center Laura McLellan leads the squad with 11.6 points per game and a 50.5 field-goal shooting percentage. She is also pulling down 4.2 rebounds per game. McLellan has seven double-figure scoring games including a career-high 22-point scoring effort against Northern Colorado. Junior guard/forward Sami Whitcomb is averaging 10.4 points and has a team-high 23 steals. Freshman guard/forward Kristi Kingma, who is coming off a career-high matching 14-point scoring effort against Kansas State, is UW's third leading scorer with 9.0 ppg and is second in steals (18).The Huskies are in the midst of a tough stretch in their schedule. Beginning Dec. 18 versus No. 1 UConn, Washington has or will face five teams either ranked or receiving votes in a seven-game span. In addition to UConn, UW then faced Florida State (which received votes) on Dec. 19 and #22/18 Kansas State on Dec. 30. Following UW's game with WSU on Saturday, the Huskies hit the road again to face a pair of ranked Pac-10 foes in #11/8 Stanford (Jan. 8) and #13/9 California (Jan. 11). UW is 0-2 against ranked teams this year (UConn, Kansas State), but defeated the Seminoles, 62-60, in the Caribbean Classic.This year's squad returns seven players and one starter from last year's team that finished the season with a 13-18 record and placed sixth in the Pac-10 with an 8-10 league mark. Welcomed to the fold are eight newcomers including five freshmen, two junior college transfers.The Washington Huskies stunned the Bears last season with a 74-66 victory in Seattle to close out the 2007-08 regular season. The defeat dropped the Bears from a possible tie for first place in the Pac-10 to their second place finish. Washington leads the all-time series 40-11.
Washington's Probable Starters (2008-09 per-game averages) No. Name Ht. Yr. Hometown PPG RPGG 21 Christina Rozier 5-8 Jr. Miami, FL 4.3 1.7G 10 Kristi Kingma 5-10 Fr. Mill Creek, WA 9.0 3.4G 32 Sami Whitcomb 5-10 Jr. Ventura, CA 10.4 3.9F 30 Lydia Young 5-11 Jr. Detroit, MI 4.0 4.8C 0 Laura McLellan 6-2 Jr. Campbell, CA 11.6 4.2