Sept. 18, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - Athlon Sports has selected California No. 8 in its preseason women's college basketball poll. This is the highest ranking the Golden Bears have received under third-year head coach Joanne Boyle and is likely the highest ranking in the history of the Cal program.
Prior to the 2006-07 season, Cal earned a No. 19 preseason ranking by Athlon.
Last season, Cal was ranked for the majority of the season by both the Associated Press and the USA Today-ESPN coaches' polls. The Bears were ranked as high as No. 15 by the Associated Press and No. 16 by the coaches, which established program bests in both polls.
Boyle, the 2006-07 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, directed Cal to a 23-9 overall record last season, to third place in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark and to its second straight NCAA Tournament selection. The Bears were one win away from matching the 1983-84 team for the most wins in school history. Cal also posted its best-ever Pac-10 finish and equaled the 1991-92 Bears for the program's best Pac-10 record.
This year's Cal team is led by a trio of juniors - forward/center Devanei Hampton, forward/center Ashley Walker and guard Alexis Gray-Lawson. Hampton was chosen the Pac-10 Player of the Year last season after leading the Pac-10 in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and ranking second in scoring (18.9 ppg) in conference games. Walker, who led Cal in scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg), joined Hampton as first-team All-Pac-10 honorees. Gray-Lawson, the 2005-06 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, tore her ACL nine games into last season.
Overall, Cal returns eight letterwinners and welcomes freshmen Kelsey Adrian and Rachelle Federico. Adrian, a guard/forward, plays for the Canadian national team, and Federico, a guard, garnered All-America recognition in high school.
Cal opens the 2007-08 season at Fresno State Nov. 10 and entertains New Mexico Nov. 18 in its home opener.
Athlon Sports Preseason Top 25 Teams 1. Connecticut 2. LSU 3. Tennessee 4. Rutgers 5. Maryland 6. Georgia 7. Stanford 8. California 9. Texas A&M 10. North Carolina 11. Duke 12. Arizona State 13. Baylor 14. West Virginia 15. Oklahoma 16. Texas 17. DePaul 18. Ohio State 19. Auburn 20. Wisconsin 21. Pittsburgh 22. Florida State 23. Michigan State 24. George Washington 25. Louisville