Cal Enters Pac-10 Tourney as No. 2 Seed
March 10, 2009
The California Golden Bears (24-5, 15-3 Pac-10) are the No. 2 seed in this week's Pac-10 Tournament, held this week at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Bears, who earned a first-round bye, will await the results of Thursday's match-up between No. 10 Washington (7-21, 3-15 Pac-10) and No. 7 Oregon (11-18, 4-14 Pac-10) to find out who they will be facing when they begin play in the quarterfinals Friday, March 13 at 1:15 p.m.
Cal ended the regular season in a second-place tie for the Pac-10 with Arizona State. The Bears earned the No. 2 seed over ASU thanks to their victory on Feb. 14 over Stanford to get the tiebreaker over Arizona State.
The Bears fell to No. 12 in this week's AP Poll and the USA Today/ ESPN Coaches' poll.
The Bears' have outscored Oregon this year, 149-92, and hold a 132-74 scoring advantage over Washington in their two games this season. The Bears held Oregon to just 10 first-half points when the two teams played in Eugene on Jan. 24 and kept Washington in single digits, allowing the Huskies nine first half points when the two plays at Haas on Jan. 11.
Cal has won the last six meetings against the Ducks and eight of the last nine games. The Bears have three straight victories over the Huskies, but they did fall in the 2007-08 season finale in Seattle, a game that cost the Bears the regular-season Pac-10 title.
The Bears come into the tournament 2-2 in their last four games with both of their victories decided by a combined five points.
Senior forward Devanei Hampton, who has been a key element to the Bears' Pac-10 tourney games the last four years, enters the tournament putting up her best numbers of the season. In her last 10 games, Hampton is averaging 11.9 points per game, scoring in double digits in eight of those 10 games. She posted a double-double against Arizona, scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds. She took 20 shots in last week's series against the Arizona schools, making 11 of her shots. Hampton was the only Bear to post solid numbers in the Arizona State loss, scoring 14 points, making six of her eight field-goal attempts.
Junior Natasha Vital scored 12 points with six assists against Arizona, with ten points and four assists coming during the Bear's second half push to win the game.
The Bears have never won a Pac-10 Championship, either in the regular season or in the tournament, but do have two conference championships, having finished first in the NorCal in 1980-81 and 1981-82.
DEJA VUThe Bears ended the regular season with a 24-5 regular season record, going 15-3 in the Pac-10, and finishing in second place in the conference standings to earn a No. 2 seed in the Pac-10 tourney. These are the exact same marks the Bears finished with in the record-setting 2007-08 season. The pair of 24 regular-season victories are the most in program history. Since joining the conference in 1986-87, the Bears have two second-place Pac-10 finishes, this season and last season, and twice have been the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Bears' 24 wins so far this season is second to only the 27 they finished with last year.
20-20-20 VISIONHead coach Joanne Boyle has led her teams to back-to-back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history. The Bears had back-to-back 20 win seasons on 1980-81 and 1981-82, but had never won 20 games three seasons in a row. This is just the eighth time in program history the team has finished with 20 or more wins. Including her time in Richmond, Boyle has now led teams to 20 or more victories in six of seven years as a head coach.
DEFENSEThe Bears are best known for their defense. They closed out the regular season holding opponents to just 53.7 points per game, making them No. 13 in the nation. They are on pace to set the Pac-10 record for lowest points allowed average, breaking the previous record of 54.3, which was set last season by Cal.
The Bears have twice held opponents to 10 or fewer points in a half, with Oregon scoring 10 in the first half of the game in Eugene on Jan. 24 and Washington scoring just nine first half points at Haas on Jan. 11.The Bears have five games this season where the opponent was held to 40 or fewer points.
The Bears are 20-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points.
THREE POINTERS The Bears have two of the most efficient three-point shooters in the Pac-10. Junior guard Natasha Vital is second in the conference, making 41.6 percent of her three-point attempts. Redshirt junior Alexis Gray-Lawson is third with a 40.4 percent three-point shooting percentage. Gray-Lawson made eight consecutive three-point attempts over a three game span in late February. She was perfect against Oregon and Oregon State and went 4-for-4 from long range in the first half of the USC game before snapping the streak in the second half.
Gray-Lawson moved up to No. 2 on the Cal career three-point list, passing Liz Rizzo (1994-97, 135) and has a good chance to leave Cal after next season as the all-time career leader in that category.
ASSISTSAlexis Gray-Lawson earned her first career double-double of her career on Dec. 6 when she scored 12 points with 10 assists against Princeton. Gray-Lawson was the only Pac-10 player this season to log 10 assists in a game.Gray-Lawson is third in the Pac-10 this season in assist-to-turnover ratio. She closed out the regular season with 91 assists to 59 turnovers, ranking her in the top-60 players in the nation this season in that category.Vital moved into Cal's career assist top-10 list this season and should finish the year ranked No. 5 in the record book. She ended the regular season with 361 career assists.
2000, 1500, 1000, 500Cal's starting have the distinction of having one member score her 2000th career point (Walker, March 1), another her 1,500th career point (Hampton, March 1), one score her 1,000th career point (Gray-Lawson, Nov. 29) and two score their 500th career points (junior guard Natasha Vital, Nov. 11 and junior guard Lauren Grief, Nov. 27) all in the same season.
TWO MILESTONES, ONE HALFTwo games after Ashley Walker became Cal's career rebounding leader in the Oregon State game on Feb. 21, she reached another career milestone. Walker became just the second player in Cal history and the 11th Pac-10 player to score 2,000 career points. She reached the milestone when she made a layup with 18:17 remaining in the second half of the UCLA game. A little over 10 minutes later, senior forward Devanei Hampton reached a milestone of her own when she scored on a jumper at 7:40 to post her 1,500th career point. Hampton is the eighth player in Cal history and the 39th Pac-10 player to score 1,500 career points. Walker was also the only Pac-10 player to reach 1,000 career rebounds.
DEVDevanei Hampton is averaging 9.9 points and 6.9 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. She scored in double digits in nine of Cal's final 11 regular season games.
WALKER, IN THE REGULAR SEASON
** Led the Pac-10 in scoring from Dec. 1 through the end of the season
** Has 44 career double-doubles, including 10 in the 2008-09 regular season
** Scored in double-digits in all but four games this season
** Led the team in scoring 21 times this season and has been Cal's rebounding leader 19 times
** Hit 10 or more field goals in a game six times this season.
** Shot 50.0 percent or better in all but seven games this season.
** She had a career-best 54.1 field-goal percentage this season, fourth-best in the Pac-10 and ranking her No. 23 in the country.
** Amassed 35 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points 16 times and did so nine times in Pac-10 play.
** Was the Pac-10 nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game and shot 61.4 percent from the floor.
** Was the Pac-10 nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in January, in which she averaged 18.1 points per game with 7.4 rebounds per game.
** 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 out was in the 2007-08 Pac-10 finals against Stanford when she scored her first, and only, basket with 6:20 remaining in the game.
** Finished the regular season at No. 22 in the NCAA I stats ranking in points per game (19.1) and No. 91 in rebounds per game (8.4)
PAC-10 ALL-TIME SCORING: WALKER No. 11Walker is currently in 11th place on the Pac-10 all-time scoring list and should end her career with more than the 2,062 points required to be in the top-10. Walker became the 39th player to score 1,500 points as a member of the Pac-10 on Nov. 16 of this season and the 11th player to score 2,000.
PAC-10 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERS: NO. 6 Ashley WalkerWalker entered the season ranked No. 21 on the Pac-10 career rebounding list. She moved up to No. 6 on the career list, passing Ebony Hoffman of USC (2001-04, 1,003) and Amber Hall of Washington (1996-99, 1,003). The No. 5 ranked player on the list, Val Whiting of Stanford (1989-93), has 1,134 career rebounds.
SHOOTING SHIRTS AUCTIONDuring Cal's two home games of the season to raise money for the SEEDS - Sports & Education for Economic Development in Senegal -- Foundation, which a charity that benefits orphanages in Africa. The intent of the auction is to raise funds for orphanages in Africa like the ones the team visited last summer on its trip to the continent. Starting bids for the shirts were $100 with $10 bid increments allowed during the silent auction. The fundraiser earned more than $3,000 for the charity. Donations are still being accepted by the women's basketball office. Contact Angela Niles for more information.
WALKER NAMED WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP-20Walker made the first cut in determining the winner of the John R. Wooden Award, an award that has been presented since 1976 to the nation's best player. Walker was among the 30 preseason candidates for the award. She was named as one of the 20 midseason contenders on a list released on Jan. 29.
HS ALL-AMERICANSThe incoming Bears of 2009-10 dominated the two high school All-American teams that were announced in the past few weeks with five of their recruits named to at least one of the two high school All-American teams. Forward DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) had the honor of making both teams. Playing in the WBCA All-American game April 4 in St. Louis will be guard Layshia Clarendon (San Bernadino, Calif.) and Stallworth. Players selected for the McDonald's All-American game on April 1 in Miami include forward Gennifer Brandon (Sylmar, Calif.), guard Eliza Pierre (Pasadena, Calif.), guard Tierra Rogers (San Francisco, Calif.) and Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.). Both All-American games are a national stage for the top female basketball prospects in the nation. Brandon, Pierre, and Rogers all were named honorable mentions for the WBCA All-American team.
CAL IN THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT
Cal enters the Pac-10 tournament as the No. 2 seed for the second straight year. This is the fourth time the Bears have earned a first-round bye.
The Bears have only advanced past the quarterfinals twice in their history. Cal's most successful run through the tournament came last season. As the No. 2 seed, Cal took out No. 7 seed Oregon in the quarterfinals, 67-60, edged No. 3 seeded Arizona State, 65-61, in the semis, before falling, 56-35, to No. 1 seed Stanford in the finals.
Devanei Hampton is a two-time all-tournament team honoree, earning the honor each of the last two seasons. Hampton has come up huge for the Bears in the tournament the last three seasons. In six career Pac-10 tournament games, Hampton has scored 104 points (17.3 ppg) with 70 rebounds (11.6 rpg). Hampton holds the Bears' record for most points in a single Pac-10 tournament game (23 points, scored in the 2006 quarterfinal loss to UCLA) and rebounds (16 in last season's semifinal victory over Arizona State).
Oregon, a potential quarterfinal opponent for the Bears, has never defeated Cal in the Pac-10 tournament and has been bounced from the tournament three times by the Bears. The Bears have more victories over Oregon in the Pac-10 tournament than any other team. Cal has never faced Washington, their other potential quarterfinal opponent, in the Pac-10 tournament.
In potential semi-final matchups, Cal has never faced USC in the tournament. They are 2-1 against Arizona State. The Sun Devils won the 2007 semi-final match up between the two, 60-53, but fell to the Bears in last season's semifinal.
The Bears have faced Stanford four times in tournament history, more than any other team, but have yet to earn a victory over the Cardinal.
For the last six years, the Pac-10 Tournament has taken place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The Galen Center, on the edge of the USC campus and the home court to the Women of Troy basketball team, is just the third venue to host the tournament. The Galen Center opened in the fall of 2006. The Bears are a perfect 3-0 playing at the Galen Center.
The Bears open the tournament with a 1:15 p.m. tip on Friday, March 13. The Bears are 2-1 in the history of the program when playing on this superstitiously 'unlucky' day.
Cal's All-Time Pac-10 Tournament Records (vs Opponents) Cal vs. Arizona State 2-1 Cal vs. Arizona 0-0 Cal vs. Oregon 3-0 Cal vs. Oregon State 0-0 Cal vs. Stanford 0-4 Cal vs. UCLA 0-2 Cal vs. USC 0-0 Cal vs. Washington 0-0 Cal vs. Washington St. 1-0
Cal's Round-by-Round Records First Round Record 3-1 Quarterfinals Record 2-4 Semi Finals Record 1-1 Finals Record 0-1
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
Thu 8/22 | 6:30pm PTLive