Pac-10 leading Golden Bears look to break records against USC on Saturday

Jan. 30, 2009


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Saturday, Jan. 31, 2:00 p.m.: USC at No. 7/5 Cal, Berkeley, Calif. (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: CSN California)

The California Golden Bears (17-2, 8-0 Pac-10) will try to open conference play with nine-straight wins for the first time in program history when they host the USC Trojans (11-8, 5-3 Pac-10) Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears have several program-bests on the line against USC. A victory over the Trojans would give the Bears their longest Pac-10 win streak and their best-ever start in conference play. The Bears also have the chance to tie their record for overall consecutive victories (10) with a win on Saturday.

The team's 17 wins this season are already more victories than the Bears posted in the entire season in 21 of the 35 seasons of Cal women's basketball. Their eight Pac-10 victories are already more than they posted in 13 of the 22 seasons they have been playing in the Pac-10. There are still 10 games remaining in the regular season.

Cal has led wire-to-wire in three Pac-10 games season, with Washington, Washington State, and Arizona never holding a lead against the Bears. UCLA had the largest lead of any Cal Pac-10 opponent against Cal this season. They were up by nine points, 11-2, before the Bears mounted their comeback. Cal led by as many as 18 points in the game, a 27-point swing. Only two other Pac-10 teams have held and lost substantial leads over Cal this season, but neither with that large of a swing. Stanford had an eight-point advantage before losing by three points. Arizona State led by seven before losing by one point.

The second half of the UCLA game belonged to senior forwards Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton. They two combined for 20 points, almost half the team's 42-point output, going a combined 9-for-11 (81.8 percent) from the field. Walker and Hampton had more than half of the Bears' 15 rebounds in the frame, with the two grabbing eight (six for Hampton and a pair for Walker).

The spotlight moment of the first half belonged to junior forward Rama N'diaye. N'diaye had missed the first 18 games of the season still recovering from surgery to repair the ACL and meniscus injuries she sustained in the Bears' first round NCAA tournament game against San Diego last season. N'diaye made her season debut when she subbed in with 13:12 remaining in the first half. She played just three minutes in just two short shifts, but managed two defensive in that time.

LEADING THE PAC-10Senior forward Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 20.5 ppg paces the conference and ranks her 15th among all DI players. Dawn Evans of James Madison leads the nation at 24.3 ppg. Arizona's Ify Ibekwe is the only other Pac-10 leader to be ranked in the top-100 this week, coming in at No. 100 with 15.6 ppg. Walker is third in the Pac-10 and 12th in the country in field goal shooting percentage (57.5 percent).

Junior guard Natasha Vital's 46.6 percent three-point shooting efficiency continues to lead the Pac-10. She has hit 27 treys in 58 attempts this season. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson had most recently been the Bear with the hot hand from three-point range. She came into the week shooting 50.0 percent from long range in conference games this season (12-for-24) and had made 10 of her last 15 three-point shots. She did not hit a field goal against UCLA, going 0-for-6 from three-point range and 0-for-8 from the field overall. Gray-Lawson did score seven points, making seven of her eight free throw attempts.

DEFENSECal is holding opponents to an average of 52.8 points per game, which is tops in the Pac-10 and currently ranks No. 7 in the nation. Kansas State leads the nation with a 49.3 points-allowed average. Cal has kept opponents scores below 40 points twice this season, the first in the opener when they only allowed Albany to score 39 points, and again when Washington only managed 34.

Both Washington and Oregon set new records for fewest points scored in a half when playing Cal this season. Cal held UW to just 9 first half points. Oregon scored just 10 in their first 20 minutes of play.

The Bears are 16-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points. They have held their opponents to 50 points or less in seven of the last nine games. Pac-10 opponents are averaging just 50.2 points against the Bears.

The Bears are holding opponents to a 28.0 three-point efficiency (97-of-346), the best in the Pac-10. Oregon missed its first 10 three-point attempts against Cal last weekend. The Bears have held opponents to two or fewer made-threes in a game four times this season, including Washington State's 1-for-19 performance and UCLA's 2-for-9 showing earlier this week.

DEVSenior forward Devanei Hampton had her first double-double of the season with 12 rebounds and 11 points against UCLA. In her last three games, Hampton is averaging 10.0 boards. With her 12 rebounds Thursday against UCLA, Hampton raised her rebounds-per-game average in Pac-10 games to 7.8, the best of any Bear and now tied for fourth for Pac-10 players in conference games.

DEV AS A STARTERThe Bears are 9-0 since Hampton has returned to the starting lineup. She is averaging 7.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game since returning to the starting lineup. The Bears are 9-0 since Hampton has returned to the starting lineup. She is averaging 7.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game since returning to the starting lineup. In Hampton's first nine games of the season, she averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds.

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** Walker had just her third game this season when she has not scored in double digits when she scored five points against Stanford

** Walker has hit 10 or more field goals in a game four times this season.

** Walker has shot 50.0 percent or better in all but three games this season. She has a career-best 57.5 field-goal percentage this season, third-best in the Pac-10 and ranking her No. 12 in the country.

** Walker has 31 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points 12 times and has done so five times already in Pac-10 play.

** Walker has only missed four free throws in Pac-10 games this season, making 23-of-27 free throw attempts in Pac-10 games this season (85.1 percent), ranking her third.

** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game, shooting 61.4 percent from the floor.

** Walker has started every game since her freshman year and has scored in every game since her freshman year. The closest she ever came to being shut put was in the Pac-10 finals last season against Stanford when she scored her first, and only, basket with 6:20 remaining in the game.

** Walker's name was added for the ninth and tenth times in the Cal record book in cumulative career stat categories when she became No. 10 in career steals with 159 and No. 10 in games played with 114.

PAC-10 ALL-TIME SCORING: WALKER No. 16Ashley Walker's name will also be written into the Pac-10 history books. Walker moved into the top-20 in career scoring in the Pac-10 in the Stanford game. Walker passed Noelle Quinn of UCLA (1990-92) to move into 16th place on the list in the Oregon game. She needs 29 points to pass another former UCLA player, Rehema Stephens (1990-92, 1,887 pts.), to move up to No. 15 on the list. Walker became the 39th player to score 1,500 points as a member of the Pac-10.

PAC-10 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERS: NO. 10 Ashley WalkerWalker passed another milestone in the Washington State game. Not only did her 10 rebounds give her career double-double No. 38, it also moved her into the top-10 in the Pac-10's history in rebounding. Walker's 937 career rebounds inched her past Maylana Martin of UCLA (1997-00, 935) to rank tenth in career rebounds for Pac-10 women's basketball players. Walker entered the season ranked No. 21.

1,000 REBOUNDSThere have been eight players in Pac-10 history to reach the 1,000 rebound mark. There has only been one player in Cal history, Colleen Galloway (1978-81, 1029), to have over 1,000 rebounds. Walker has 971 rebounds. She need 29 rebounds to reach the 1,000 mark and 59 to pass Galloway as Cal's all-time leading rebounder.

CAL'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST: NO. 2 Ashley WalkerAshley Walker moved past Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and into second place on the all-time scoring list in the Washington State game. Walker's spin move on a basket coming with precisely 15 minutes remaining in the game. 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.

COUNTDOWN TO 2,000Ashley Walker needs 141 points to become the second player in the history of Cal and the 11th player in Pac-10 history to score 2,000 career points. Walker is averaging over 20 points a game. There are 10 regular season games remaining in addition to any Pac-10 and further post-season, giving Walker a legitimate shot at the milestone.

CAREER ASSISTSNatasha 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 moved up to ninth in the Washington game. She is 12 assists shy of eighth place in the record book.

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 47 points to move into the top-10 on the career-scoring list.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,500Senior forward Devanei Hampton scored the 1400th point of her career Thursday night against UCLA. Hampton is 92 points shy of joining Walker in the 1500 point club.

SCOUTING USC (11-8, 5-3 Pac-10)No. 2 in the conference and 13th in the nation in scoring, the USC offense is averaging 75.3 points per game. That's due in large part to a wildly balanced offense in which four different Women of Troy are averaging in double digits and five rank in the Pac-10's top-30 in scoring. Camille LeNoir leads the way with 11.7 ppg, followed closely by 11.4 from Briana Gilbreath, 11.3 from Nadia Parker and 10.3 from Ashley Corral. Senior guard Brynn Cameron has hit double digits in four of six Pac-10 games this year and has nailed 19 threes in the past 10 games to now average 8.6 points per game. Now 18-of-19 (.947) from the free-throw line on the year, Cameron earned her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award on Jan. 5 after putting in 13 points in a Pac-10 opening win over Oregon and then dumping in four more 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 20 points in a win over Oregon State.

ALL-TIME SERIESThe Women of Troy lead the series 31-19, but Cal has won the last six meetings including a 60-55 overtime victory last February in Berkeley. Devanei Hampton, who scored 20 points with 15 rebounds in the game, hit two freethrows with 25.1 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. The game marked the first time in Cal history that the team had pulled off the season sweep of USC and UCLA.

PROBABLE STARTERSNo. 	Name 	Pos. 	Ht.	 ppg 	rpg 	apg 	spg1 	Camille LeNoir 	Guard 	5-6 	11.7 	2.2 	3.6 	1.411 	Brynn Cameron 	Guard 	5-10 	8.6 	2.2 	1.1 	1.315 	Briana Gilbreath 	Guard 	6-1 	11.4 	5.5 	1.8 	1.721 	Aarika Hughes 	Forward 	6-2 	5.2 	6.1 	1.8 	1.144 	Nadia Parker 	Center 	6-3 	11.3 	6.2 	0.5 	0.7
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