Jan. 30, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Off to the best start in school history in 23 years, No. 21/21 California (16-5, 7-4, T3rd Pac-10) returns home to host UC Riverside (12-8, 6-1), who tops the Big West Conference, Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m., in search of the Golden Bears' 24th straight home non-conference win. The Golden Bears then visit No. 8/9 Stanford (18-3, 11-0, 1st Pac-10) Sunday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m.
The game against the Cardinal can be seen live on Fox Sports Net and is part of the Lexus Gauntlet Challenge. Mary Murphy (color) and Jim Watson (play-by-play) will handle the broadcast duties.
Only the 1983-84 Cal team had a better record at 17-4 through 21 games than this year's squad. In head coach Joanne Boyle's inaugural season, the Bears were 14-7 after 21 games and finished with an 18-12 mark and the school's first NCAA Tournament berth in 13 seasons. After last weekend's 84-64 road triumph over Arizona, Cal is guaranteed to post a winning record again in 2006-07, marking the first time since 1991-92 and 1992-93 that the Bears will have recorded consecutive winning records.
Cal has also equaled the 1991-92 Bears for the best Pac-10 start through 11 games (7-4). In 1991-92, Cal tied for third in the conference for its best Pac-10 finish and had its best Pac-10 mark (12-6). Sophomore posts Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton, both national player of the year candidates, lead Cal in scoring and rebounding. Walker, who is on the Wade Trophy watch list, tops the Bears in scoring (17.8 ppg, 3rd Pac-10) and in rebounding (8.7 rpg, 1st Pac-10). Hampton, a Naismith Trophy candidate, is second on the team in scoring (14.2 ppg, 10th Pac-10) and rebounding (6.8 rpg, 12th Pac-10).
After seeing sporadic minutes as a reserve during her first three seasons, senior Keanna Levy is one of three starting guards for the Bears. Levy has posted a career-high 17 points twice this season in wins over Arizona and averages 7.7 ppg.
Freshmen guards Lauren Greif and Natasha Vital complete Cal's starting unit. Greif, the team's top three-point shooter, has started all 21 games and is averaging 8.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg. Vital was elevated into the starting point guard role after Alexis Gray-Lawson tore her ACL against Kansas Dec. 10. The Bears are 8-4 without Gray-Lawson, and Vital has contributed 6.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 4.5 rpg during that stretch.
Freshman 6-5 forward/center Rama N'diaye has been a versatile player off the Bears' bench. N'diaye averages 5.9 ppg and 3.3 rpg. Junior forward Krista Foster (3.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg) also provides a lift as a reserve.