No. 19/20 California Hosts the Colliers International Classic
Dec. 1, 2009
Saturday, Dec. 5, 12:00 p.m. : No. 19/20 Cal vs. Colorado State Audio: CalBears.com
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2:30 p.m.: No. 7/10 Texas A&M vs Southern Illinois
Sunday, Dec. 6, 12:00 p.m. Colorado State vs S. Illinois or No. 7/10 Texas A&M
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2:30 p.m.: No. 19/20 Cal vs. No. 7/10 Texas A&M or S. Illinois
The No. 19/20 California Golden Bears (3-2) play in their second tournament of the season, hosting the annual Colliers International Classic Dec 5-6 at Haas Pavilion. This year, the tournament features an opening game Saturday afternoon between Cal and the Colorado State Rams (4-1) at 12:00 p.m. followed by No. 10 Texas A&M (3-0) taking on the Southern Illinois Salukis (0-4).
On Sunday, Colorado State will play at 12:00 p.m. and Cal will play the 2:30 p.m. game. If Cal wins on Saturday, the 2:30 game will be the Championship Game and will feature the winner of Saturday's second game. If Cal loses to CSU on Saturday, then Cal's Sunday game will be the consolation game and will feature the losing team from Saturday's other game. All-tournament honors will be announced following the 2:30 game, whether it is the championship or consolation game.
With Texas A&M cracking the top-10 in the AP poll for the first time this week, a position they have held for three weeks in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, Cal has an opportunity to face top-10 teams in back-to-back-to-back weeks having already played No. 9/8 Baylor and No. 3 Ohio State. It will most likely be Cal's last opportunity to earn a victory over a ranked team until Pac-10 play begins in January.
There are a couple of milestones for the Bears that could be reached this weekend. Head coach Joanne Boyle comes into the weekend tournament with 98 Golden Bear victories, two shy of becoming just the second Cal coach ever to win 100 games while coaching the blue and gold. Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson needs three threes to tie the career record for made three-point baskets and four to break the record. The record, currently held by Jennifer Self (1989-92) is 159. Gray-Lawson, who has made six so far this season, including three in the opener against Idaho State, has 156 in her Cal career.
Freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth has begun her career with five straight games of scoring double-digit points. Stallworth and Gray-Lawson are tied for the team scoring lead, each averaging 13.6 points per game. Senior forward Gennifer Brandon leads the Cal defense, averaging 8.8 boards per game. She has four blocks this season. Stallworth follows with three.
TEAM HIGHS Four different Bears have had the team high for rebounds in five games this season. Gennifer Brandon is the only Bear to twice pull in the team-high rebounds, including her 13 rebounds against Southern, the most by a Cal player in a single game so far this season. Brandon's 13 rebounds were the most by a Cal player in a regular-season game since Ashley Walker grabbed 17 in the Nov. 16, 2008 game against Nevada.
STEALS Guards Eliza Pierre and Natasha Vital have each had a game this season where they have logged six steals. Vital opened the season with a six-steal performance against Idaho State. Pierre logged six last weekend against Southern. The six steals was the most by a Bear in a single game since the 2005-06 season when Alexis Gray-Lawson grabbed six at Washington on Dec. 20, 2005. Pierre leads the team with 14 steals and entered the week ranked third in the Pac-10 averaging 2.8 steals per game.
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGES Freshman center Talia Caldwell begins the week ranked No. 2 in the Pac-10 in shooting percentage. Caldwell is connecting on 62.5 percent of her field goal attempts. Caldwell has shot 80.0 (8-for-10) in her last three games. Fellow freshman DeNesha Stallworth is also making 50 percent of he shots (24-for-48), but Stallworth's three-point accuracy is what is really impressive. Stallworth has hit four three-pointers this season in six attempts (66.7 percent).
THREES Alexis Gray-Lawson enters the tournament ranked No. 2 on the Cal career three-point list. She has 156 treys in her career, five behind Jennifer Self who made 159 from 1989-1992.
POINTS Alexis Gray-Lawson is currently ranked No. 10 on the Cal career scoring list with 1,408 points. She is 92 points shy of becoming the eighth player in Cal history to score 1,500 career points. Former teammates Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton each reached the 1,500 point mark last season. Walker became the first Cal player to score 1,500 points since 1992, eventually going on to pass the 2,000 career point mark later in the season.
ASSISTS Natasha Vital moved into fourth place on the Cal career assist list, logging four assists against Idaho State. Vital has 392 career assists, 12 fewer than Meme Fanner (1986-89, 404) who ranks third on the career list. Alexis Gray-Lawson is 16 assists away from moving into the career top-10 list. Vital and Gray-Lawson entered the week atop the Pac-10 list for steals among active players.
100 WINS Head Coach Joanne Boyle enters the week with a Cal career record of 98-35, two victories shy of her 100th Cal win. Gooch Foster, with 279 victories, is the only Cal coach in the history of the program with more than 100 victories.
TEAM USA CONNECTION Texas A&M sophomore guard Sydney Carter attended the trials for the 2009 USA Basketball Under-19 team in Colorado Springs as did Cal freshman Layshia Clarendon. Clarendon went on to compete at the FIBA Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, but Carter did not advance past the trials.
NCAA REGIONAL CONNECTION Texas A&M and Cal both played in the 2009 Trenton Regional. Both teams lost in the Sweet-16 of that Regional, with A&M falling to Arizona State and Cal falling to UConn.
OHIO STATE vs. CAL (DEJA VU) For the third straight week, the Ohio State Buckeyes have the possibility of taking on the California Golden Bears in a tournament game. Two weeks ago, the Cal men's basketball team faced Ohio State in the consolation game of the 2k Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs Cancer, played in Madison Square Garden. Last week, the Cal women earned the right to play OSU in the championship of the Buckeye Classic. This coming weekend, Cal volleyball looks to advance to a second-round matchup with the Buckeyes in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. The Cal volleyballers are playing at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio, the same venue that women's basketball played in last week. Ohio State holds a 2-0 advantage in these recent contests.
NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS Since 2005-06, Cal has gone 39-9 in regular season games while playing non-Pac-10 opponents. Cal went 9-2 last year in the regular season against non-conference foes, with their two losses coming at the hands of No. 5 Oklahoma and TCU, which was at the time ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. The 2008-09 season saw one of the biggest non-conference wins in the history of the program when the Bears knocked off the then-ranked No. 2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 66-52 in front of 4,458 fans. Cal is 3-2 this season against non-conference opponents with their only losses coming at the hands of No. 9/8 Baylor and No. 3 Ohio State.
LIVE STREAMING AUDIO The California Golden Bear's Women's Basketball team will be streaming live action for their entire 2009-10 season as part of the Cal ISP Sports Network online through CalBears.com. The Cal ISP Sports Network will be providing the audio broadcasts for all games will be available free on the internet for fans to listen via the CalBears.com website. Bay Area broadcasting veteran Dave Lewis has been hired to call the play-by-play for the game broadcasts. U.C. Berkeley's student radio station, KALX-FM, which has carried women's basketball games for the past 27 years, will continue to broadcast most home games and select road games this season.
BACK-TO-BACK TOP-10 CLASSES According to the Blue Star Basketball report, Cal has the distinction of being the only team to sign back-to-back top-ten ranked recruiting classes. The incoming freshmen of 2009-10 were ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country by at least one major recruiting site. This year's class of 2010-11 was a consensus top-10 class, ranking No. 7 by Blue Star and No. 9 by ESPN Hoop Gurlz. Afure Jemerigbe, a 6-0 guard who plays at Saint Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., is ranked No. 15 overall and is the No. 2 shooting guard by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and the No. 15 overall recruit by Blue Star. Lindsay Sherbert, a 6-1 guard from Temecula, Calif. at Great Oak High School is ranked No. 29 overall and at No. 6 at her position by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and at No. 10 overall by Blue Star. Guard Mikayla Lyles, a 5-8 Bay Area guard who plays at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., rounds out the class.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Round One vs Colorado State The known opponent in the tournament for the Bears will be the Colorado State Rams (4-1). The Rams won their home tournament, the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational last weekend. They travel to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Idaho Vandals on Tuesday night prior to their trip to the Bay Area.
The Rams, who finished the 2008-09 season with a 10-21, are picked to finish eighth (of nine teams) in the Preseason Mountain West poll. CSU is led by sophomore guard Kim Mestdagh. Mestdagh is shooting 46.7 percent from beyond the arc this season, already connecting on 21 three-point baskets. As a team, the Rams are averaging 7.4 made-threes per game and shooting 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Colorado State won the last meeting between these two teams, 66-57, played Nov. 27, 2000 in Fort Collins. Cal is a perfect 3-0 at home against CSU and holds a 3-2 overall advantage over the Rams.
Round Two vs No. 10 Texas A&M or Southern Illinois There is a possibility that Cal will face its third Top-25 opponent of the season in the Sunday finale. Texas A&M has been racing up the polls this season. A&M entered the top-25 in the AP poll after stunning Duke, 95-77. They moved into the top-ten in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll that same week. The Aggies advanced to the Sweet 16 last season, playing in the Trenton Regional alongside Cal. The Aggies were upset by Arizona State, 84-69, in the Sweet 16. A&M would also be the second Big 12 team that Cal has faced this season after playing Baylor in their third game of the season.
Coming off back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 and Big 12 postseason championship game appearances, the Aggies were predicted to finish fourth in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll and received one first-place vote with 87 points behind preseason favorite Baylor (109) and second-place vote-getters Kansas (106) and Texas (106). The Aggies return 10 letterwinners from last year's 27-8 squad including 2009 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention Tanisha Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) along with one of the top 10 recruiting classes in the nation that boasts preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and 2009 National JUCO Player of the Year Danielle Adams (Kansas City, Mo.), a junior transfer from Jefferson College.
This would be only the second time these two teams have ever faced each other with Cal winning 84-55 in Berkeley Jan 4, 1981.
Cal's other potential opponent in the finale, the Southern Illinois Salukis (0-4), are a Mid-American Conference (MAC) team out of Carbondale, Illinois. They come into the tournament seeking their first win of the season after dropping their first four contests of the year. They have already faced top-notch competition this season, falling to then-ranked No. 18/22 Vanderbilt, 90-64. Nov. 18 in Carbondale.
The 2008-09 team finished with a 9-19 record and a 1-11 road mark. The Salukis, with a new head coach this season, are picked to finish tenth out of ten teams in the Missouri Valley Conference. Southern Illinois returns five letterwinners and one starter from the 2008-09 squad while welcoming nine newcomers including two fresh faces to the senior class including former Saluki softball player Katie Wagner and Division II All-American Stephany Neptune. SIU also adds two junior college transfers and four freshmen. Nicole Howe will make her first appearance as a Saluki this season after sitting out the 2008-09 season with a knee injury.
This would be the first ever meeting between the Bears and Salukis.