Jan. 31, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
California (14-7, 6-5, 6th) opens a three-game homestand against Oregon State (9-9, 3-7, 8th) Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears then face Oregon (13-7, 4-6, 7th) Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. and No. 15 Stanford, the Pac-10 leader at 14-5, 9-2, Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Five of Cal's final regular season games will be played at home.
The Golden Bears are coming off a split in Los Angeles and are receiving a season-high 11 votes in the AP poll. Cal held off No. 23 USC, 72-67, Jan. 27 for its first sweep of the Women of Troy since 1989-90 and only the third time in school history. The victory also marked the Bears' second over a ranked team in nine days. Cal almost secured its first-ever season sweep of both USC and UCLA but lost to the Bruins, 90-87, in overtime.
Over the last six games, Cal's offense has been surging, as the Bears are averaging 74.5 ppg during that stretch and now rank seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring at 66.9 ppg. Meanwhile, the Bears, who once owned the No. 1 defense in the conference have dropped to fourth (60.5 ppg) after surrendering 73.0 ppg during the last six contests.
Center Devanei Hampton continues to lead the team in scoring at 16.1 ppg (seventh Pac-10), and guard Alexis Gray-Lawson, her former Oakland Tech teammate, is second at 15.2 ppg. Freshman forward/center Ashley Walker is third at 13.1 ppg and paces the Bears in rebounding at 8.0 rpg after posting a Pac-10 best seven double-doubles in her last eight games. Freshman guard Jené Morris is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.8 ppg after contributing 17 points at USC and 14 at UCLA.
Walker continues to pace the conference in blocked shots per game at 1.71 bpg, and Morris is second in steals at 2.63 per game.
Forward Reneé Wright, the Bears' only senior, joins the aforementioned freshmen in the starting lineup. Wright, who had a team-high 13 boards at UCLA, averaged 7.1 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
First-year head coach Joanne Boyle, who led Richmond to three straight 20-plus win seasons before coming to Berkeley, has been utilizing a seven-person rotation as of late, with the starters logging heavy minutes.
Sophomore forward Krista Foster and redshirt junior guard Sarah Pool both sparked the Bears in the USC win. Foster contributed six points, two rebounds and a steal, while Pool provided an assist and two rebounds and great ballhandling in 21 minutes.
Free throw shooting is a point of emphasis for the Bears, who rank last in the conference at 61.4 percent. Poor free throw shooting was a key factor in recent losses to Arizona and UCLA. Cal shot 65.9 percent in non-conference games from the charity stripe.