Dec. 16, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Riding a four-game winning streak, California (8-2) begins the Pac-10 season at Washington (7-2) Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in Seattle, Wash., and then travels to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State (6-2) Thursday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m.
The last time Cal won a Pac-10 season opener was in 2003 when the Bears triumphed, 61-57, over Oregon Dec. 27 in Berkeley.
At 8-2, Cal has equaled the 2003-04 season for its best start in the last 11 years. The 1992-93 Bears opened the year with a 9-1 record and posted the program's last winning mark (19-10).
With a 94-48 triumph over South Carolina State in its last game, Cal extended its home non-conference winning streak to 18 games and set a new Bears' Haas Pavilion scoring record. The Bears are also receiving one vote in the Associated Press poll.
Cal's top four scorers are all local freshmen, with forward/center Ashley Walker (Modesto) leading the way at 13.6 ppg. Forward/center Devanei Hampton (Oakland) is second on the team at 13.3 ppg after averaging 16.4 ppg over the last five outings. Guard Alexis Gray-Lawson (Oakland) is third at 11.7 ppg, and guard Jené Morris (San Francisco), who has seen limited action over the last two games due to a back injury, is fourth at 9.1 ppg. Morris is listed as day-to-day.
Redshirt junior Sarah Pool, the Pac-10 Player of the Week, has stepped up her production with Morris injured. In the wins over San Jose State and South Carolina State, Pool averaged 18.0 ppg, 9.5 apg, 6.0 rpg and 2.5 spg. The Central Point, Ore., native leads the conference in assists at 5.30 per game.
Forward Reneé Wright, Cal's only senior, paces the team in rebounding at 7.9 rpg (fifth Pac-10). This year, rebounding is one of the Bears' strengths after ranking last in the Pac-10 in that category a year ago. Cal is seventh this year at 40.0 rpg after pulling down only 34.9 rpg in 2004-05.
After averaging 86.0 ppg over the last two games, Cal's scoring average has climbed to 67.1 ppg (seventh in the Pac-10). However, the Bears are third in the conference in scoring defense at 52.7 ppg. Defending national champion Baylor (Lady Bears won 75-58) is the only opponent who has rung up more than 58 points against Cal this season.