Jan. 27, 2009
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Thursday, Jan. 29, 7:00 p.m.: UCLA at No. 7/5 Cal, Berkeley, Calif. (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: none)
Saturday, Jan. 31, 2:00 p.m.: USC at No. 7/5 Cal, Berkeley, Calif. (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: CSN California)
For the third time in Cal history, the California Golden Bears (16-2, 7-0 Pac-10) have started the conference play with a 7-0 record. The Bears will try to tie their best-ever conference start when they face UCLA (14-4, 5-2 Pac-10) on Thursday with the possibility of setting a new standard against USC (11-7, 5-2 Pac-10) on Saturday. Cal has twice begun its conference schedule winning eight in a row, a feat the Bears accomplished last season in the Pac-10 and previously in 1981-82 in the NorCal Conference. The Bears have never started conference play with nine straight wins. The Bears have only twice gone on an eight-game Pac-10 winning streak, the season-opening span in 2007-08 and another string of eight victories in 1986-87, their first season in the Pac-10. The Bears, entering the week as winners of their last eight games, are also trying to match the team-record 10-game win streaks of the 1981-82 and 1986-87 seasons.
The team's 16 wins this season are already more victories than the Bears posted in the entire season in 21 of the 35 seasons of Cal women's basketball.
In Cal's victory over Oregon State, the Bear defense allowed Oregon State to score 72 points, only the third time this season an opposing team has scored more than 60 points, and the first time the Bears have won a game in which the opponent put up more than five dozen. The Bears still remain 0-2 when their opponent scores more than 80 points. Even after allowing 72 points, the Bear's still are allowing just 53.1 points per game, on course to breaking the Pac-10 record Cal set last season of allowing just 54.3 points per game.
In the Oregon game, the Ducks scored just 10 points in the first half, the second time this season an opposing team set a new points-in-a-half record against Cal. Oregon's previous low was 11, which they scored against Baylor in 2007. Washington rewrote their fewest points in a half record when they scored nine against the Bears two weeks ago.
The Bears will take on the Southern California teams this week, hosting UCLA on Thursday night and USC on Saturday. The Bruins and the Women of Troy come into the week tied with Arizona State for third place in the Pac-10. The Bears have a full game lead over second-place Stanford and two games over the three third-place teams. Cal has won the last three times they have played UCLA and the last six times they faced USC.
LEADING THE PAC-10 Senior forward Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 20.7 ppg paces the conference and ranks her 14th among all DI players. Dawn Evans of James Madison leads the nation at 24.8 ppg. Arizona's Ify Ibekwe is the only other Pac-10 leader to be ranked in the top-100 this week, coming in at No. 97 with 15.7 ppg. Walker is second in the Pac-10 and 14th in the country in field goal shooting percentage (57.0 percent).
Junior guard Natasha Vital's 47.3 percent three-point shooting efficiency continues to lead the Pac-10. She has hit 26 treys in 55 attempts this season. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson has most recently been the Bear with the hot hand from three-point range. She is shooting 50.0 percent from long range in conference games this season (12-for-24) and has made 10 of her last 15 three-point shots.
DEFENSE Cal is holding opponents to an average of 52.1 points per game, which is tops in the Pac-10 and currently ranks No. 10 in the nation. Kansas State leads the nation with a 49.8 points-allowed average. Cal has kept opponents scores below 40 points twice this season, the first in the opener when they only allowed Albany to score 39 points, and again when Washington only managed 34. The 34 points by Washington tied the fewest points ever allowed by a Cal team in a Pac-10 game, the other 34-point performance coming from Oregon last season in Eugene. The nine points that Washington scored in the first half was the fewest points scored in a half in the history of their program and the 34 was the fewest they have scored in a Pac-10 game. Last season, Cal set the Pac-10 record by allowing just 54.3 point per game.
The Bears are 15-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points. They have held their opponents to 50 points or less in six of the last eight games.
The Bears are holding opponents to a 28.2 three-point efficiency (95-of-337), the best in the Pac-10. Oregon missed its first 10 three-point attempts against Cal last weekend. The Bears have held opponents to two or fewer made-threes in a game three times this season, including Washington State's 1-for-19 performance.
REBOUNDING LEADER Ashley Walker paces the team by averaging 8.0 rebounds per game, but junior guard Lauren Greif has also been consistently crashing the boards. Greif is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game against Pac-10 opponents. Greif is fifth in the conference in rebounding in Pac-10 games and Walker is fourth.
DEV Senior forward Devanei Hampton had her third double-digit scoring effort of the season when she netted 10 against Washington. She had her first double-digit rebounding effort with 10 boards in the Oregon State game. Since returning to the starting lineup, Hampton is averaging 7.1 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. She is still looking for her first double-double of the season. She flirted with the feat in the Arizona game when she had nine points and nine rebounds.
DEV AS A STARTER The Bears are 8-0 since Hampton has returned to the starting lineup.
LEXI In her last three games, Gray-Lawson is averaging 24.3 points per game and is shooting 58.1 percent from the field.
MORE NOTES ON WALKER
** Walker had just her third game this season when she has not scored in double digits when she scored five points against Stanford
** Walker has hit 10 or more field goals in a game four times this season.
** Walker has shot 50.0 percent or better in all but three games this season. She has a career-best 57.0 field-goal percentage this season, second-best in the Pac-10.
** Walker has 31 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points 12 times and has done so five times already in Pac-10 play.
** Walker has only missed three free throws in Pac-10 games this season, making 22-of-25 free throw attempts in Pac-10 games this season (88.0 percent).
** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game, shooting 61.4 percent from the floor.
** Walker has started every game since her freshman year and has scored in every game since her freshman year. The closest she ever came to being shut put was in the Pac-10 finals last season against Stanford when she scored her first, and only, basket with 6:20 remaining in the game.
** Walker's name was added for the ninth and tenth times in the Cal record book in cumulative career stat categories when she became No. 10 in career steals with 159 and No. 10 in games played with 114.
PAC-10 ALL-TIME SCORING: WALKER No. 16 Ashley Walker's name will also be written into the Pac-10 history books. Walker moved into the top-20 in career scoring in the Pac-10 in the Stanford game. Walker passed Noelle Quinn of UCLA (1990-92) to move into 16th place on the list in the Oregon game. She needs 46 points to pass another former UCLA player, Rehema Stephens (1990-92, 1,887 pts.), to move up to No. 15 on the list. Walker became the 39th player to score 1,500 points as a member of the Pac-10.
PAC-10 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERS: NO. 10 Ashley Walker Walker passed another milestone in the Washington State game. Not only did her 10 rebounds give her career double-double No. 38, it also moved her into the top-10 in the Pac-10's history in rebounding. Walker's 937 career rebounds inched her past Maylana Martin of UCLA (1997-00, 935) to rank tenth in career rebounds for Pac-10 women's basketball players. Walker entered the season ranked No. 21.
1,000 REBOUNDS There have been eight players in Pac-10 history to reach the 1,000 rebound mark. There has only been one player in Cal history, Colleen Galloway (1978-81, 1029), to have over 1,000 rebounds. Walker has 968 rebounds. She need 32 rebounds to reach the 1,000 mark and 62 to pass Galloway as Cal's all-time leading rebounder.
CAL'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST: NO. 2 Ashley Walker Ashley Walker moved past Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and into second place on the all-time scoring list in the Washington State game. Walker's spin move on a basket coming with precisely 15 minutes remaining in the game. Walker entered the season with 1,470 career points, 30 points shy of becoming just the seventh player in Cal history to score 1,500 points. She scored her 1500th career point in the first half of the Nevada game. Walker entered the season ranked seventh on the Cal all-time scoring leaders list.
COUNTDOWN TO 2,000 Ashley Walker needs 158 points to become the second player in the history of Cal and the 11th player in Pac-10 history to score 2,000 career points. Walker is averaging over 20 points a game. There are 11 regular season games remaining in addition to any Pac-10 and further post-season, giving Walker a legitimate shot at the milestone.
CAREER ASSISTS Natasha Vital moved into the top-10 in career assists with her four dishes against SJSU, passing Sherrise Smith (1996-99, 292) to officially enter the Bear record book. Vital tallied career assist No. 300 against Saint Mary's on a feed to Devanei Hampton in the paint with four minutes left in the first half. Vital moved up to ninth in the Washington game. She is 14 assists shy of eighth place in the record book.
GRAY-LAWSON'S 1000 POINT MEMBERSHIP Alexis Gray-Lawson became the 20th member of Cal's 1,000 point club on Nov. 29 in the third game of the Paradise Jam Tournament against Iowa, with 1:26 left in the first half on a runner through the lane. Gray-Lawson needs 54 points to move into the top-10 on the career-scoring list.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,500 Senior forward Devanei Hampton comes into the game with 1,397 career points, which is 103 points shy of joining Walker at 1500 career points. Hampton moved past Kesha Martin (1989-93, 1,368 points) into eighth place on the career scoring list.
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SCOUTING UCLA (14-4, 5-2 Pac-10) With a 14-4 record, UCLA has posted its best start to a season since the 1998-99 squad began the year 17-4. That team went on to finish with a 26-8 record after advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight. The Bruins won as many as nine pre-season nonconference games for the first time since 1986-87, the first year for Pac-10 Conference women's basketball. The best previous total during that stretch was eight wins in 1998-99. In the latest NCAA rankings (Jan. 25), the Bruins are fourth in rebound margin (+11.9). UCLA is also 17th in steals (11.5 average) and 35th in scoring average (71.4). Sophomore Doreena Campbell ranks 38th nationally in free throw percentage, shooting 84.5 percent for the year. In 18 games, the Bruins have had seven different scoring leaders. Sharing the honors of high scorer have been Moniquee Alexander (12 v. Fullerton), Doreena Campbell (20 v. Washington, 15 v. WSU,17 at Arizona, 13 at Arizona State, 20 v. USC, 12 v. Oregon, 16 at Rice, 18 v. San Diego, 25 at Maryland), Nina Earl (15 v. Oregon State, 12 v. Kansas, tied with Nzekwe; 12 at Cal Poly), Chinyere Ibekwe (15 v. Pepperdine), Darxia Morris (10 v. Nevada), Christina Nzekwe (12 v. Kansas, tied with Earl; 13 v. CSUB, tied with Campbell), Erica Tukiainen (16 v. Texas Tech, 16 v. CSUN). The Bruins have had four games in which all active players have scored.
All-Time Series vs UCLA UCLA leads the all-time series 39-13 with Cal winning the last three meetings including a dramatic 73-70 overtime victory at Pauley Pavilion last season.
STARTERS IN LAST GAME Ht. Yr. GP/GS PPG RPG 4 F Christina Nzekwe 6-4, So. 16/12 7.0 5.1 11 G/F Atonye Nyingifa 5-11 Fr. 17/2 4.9 3.4 2 G Tierra Henderson 5-10 Sr. 12/10 7.3 4.7 21 G Doreena Campbell 5-10 So. 18/18 13.0 4.4 13 G Erica Tukiainen 6-0 Jr. 18/17 7.2 3.4
SCOUTING USC (11-7, 5-2 Pac-10) No. 2 in the conference and 13th in the nation in scoring, the USC offense is averaging 75.3 points per game. That's due in large part to a wildly balanced offense in which four different Women of Troy are averaging in double digits and five rank in the Pac-10's top-30 in scoring. Camille LeNoir leads the way with 11.7 ppg, followed closely by 11.4 from Briana Gilbreath, 11.3 from Nadia Parker and 10.3 from Ashley Corral. Senior guard Brynn Cameron has hit double digits in four of six Pac-10 games this year and has nailed 19 threes in the past 10 games to now average 8.6 points per game. Now 18-of-19 (.947) from the free-throw line on the year, Cameron earned her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award on Jan. 5 after putting in 13 points in a Pac-10 opening win over Oregon and then dumping in four more 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 20 points in a win over Oregon State.
All-Time Series vs USC The Women of Troy lead the series 31-19, but Cal has won the last six meetings including a 60-55 overtime victory last February in Berkeley. Devanei Hampton, who scored 20 points with 15 rebounds in the game, hit two free throws with 25.1 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. The game marked the first time in Cal history that the team had pulled off the season sweep of USC and UCLA.
PROBABLE STARTERS No. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg 1 Camille LeNoir Guard 5-6 11.7 2.2 3.6 1.4 11 Brynn Cameron Guard 5-10 8.6 2.2 1.1 1.3 15 Briana Gilbreath Guard 6-1 11.4 5.5 1.8 1.7 21 Aarika Hughes Forward 6-2 5.2 6.1 1.8 1.1 44 Nadia Parker Center 6-3 11.3 6.2 0.5 0.7