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No. 12/9 California Faces No. 7 Baylor on Monday, Dec. 22 at Haas Pavilion
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  12/17/2008

Dec. 17, 2008

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BERKELEY - Monday, Dec. 22, 5:00 p.m.: No. 12/9 Cal vs No. 7/7 Baylor (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: none)

 

The California Golden Bears hung on to a spot in the top 10 in the national rankings in one of this week's national polls, while sliding just outside the top 10 in the other. After the loss to No. 5/6 Oklahoma, the Bears, fell out of the top 10 in the Associated Press poll, tumbling to No. 12, but managed to stay in the top 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, coming in at No. 9. The Bears spent two weeks (weeks 2-3) with a program-best No. 3 ranking, but fell to No. 9/7 after being handed their first loss of the season Sunday, Dec. 7 by No. 22 TCU, 82-73.

The Bears will take on their fourth ranked opponent of the season and have a chance to move back up in the polls when they face No. 7 Baylor on Monday, Dec. 22. Cal has six wins over ranked opponents since 2005-06 and an overall 6-17 mark over that same span. When facing top 10 teams, the Bears are just 2-10, with this season's victory over Rutgers and the 2006-07 victory over No. 8 Stanford accounting for those two W's. Over the last four seasons, Cal has gone 35-7 in its regular season nonconference games with only one loss, a 55-49 game against New Mexico in the preseason WNIT coming at the hands of a non-ranked opponent.

The game against Baylor has a special 5 p.m. tip time as the Cal men's basketball team will host Colgate at 8 p.m. in Haas Pavilion on the same day. Fans with tickets to the women's basketball game are invited to stay for the men's game that follows, with section 23 open for them for general admission seating.

Cal is coming off a long break, eight days without a game. Cal is 17-8 in the game after such a long extended break. Since 2005-06 when Coach Boyle took over the program, Cal is 1-2 in the game after December's break. Last season, Cal was in a very similar situation with its last game before the break being a heartbreaking loss to a ranked team, their 56-51 loss at No. 3 Rutgers. The Bears rebounded with a 74-41 victory at Kansas 11 days later. In the previous two seasons, Cal finished with a victory before finals week, then came back right before Christmas with an opening loss in Pac-10 play, falling in overtime at UCLA, 77-68, in 2006 and at Washington, 62-55, in 2005. The last time the Bears had a chance to shake off the rust at home was a 67-60 victory over Hampton in 2004.

SCORING In the San Jose State game, senior forward Ashley Walker scored nine straight points for the Bears in the span of 1:36. Walker went 4-for-5 in the first half and 7-for-11 overall. Walker's scoring binge continued through the first half of the Oklahoma game. She hit her 22nd point of the game on a free throw at the 3:05 mark, when Oklahoma as a team had 22 total points.

THE FIRST HALF The Cal Bears shot 64.0 percent in the first half of the Oklahoma game. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson hit her first four field-goal attempts to put up an early 13 points. The Bears made baskets on six of their first eight shots. Their 52 points they scored in the half was more than three of their opponents had scored in an entire game against the Bears this season.

THE SECOND HALF There were some bright spots to the Bears second half against Oklahoma. Junior guard Lauren Greif went 3-for-4 on three point shots in the period. She scored a team-high nine points in the second half. Greif scored a career high 18 points overall in the game, hitting 5-of-7 three-point attempts. Senior forward Devanei Hampton fought for all five of her rebounds against Oklahoma in the second half.

ASSISTS Alexis Gray-Lawson flirted with her second double-double of her career when she scored 16 points with nine assists against Oklahoma. Gray-Lawson had only twice had nine or more assists in a game in her career. She already has two this season. Gray-Lawson is averaging 4.7 assists per game, second best in the Pac-10. She continues to lead the Pac-10 in assist to turnover ratio with a 2.76, ranking her No. 11 among all NCAA I women's basketball players.

LEADING THE Pac-10 Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 22.9 ppg paces the conference and ranks her No. 6 among all DI players, moving her up three places from last week. Gabriela Marginean of Drexel leads the nation at 27.1 ppg. Walker is the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top 50 in scoring. Oregon's Micaela Cocks (16.3 ppg) and Oregon State's Talisa Rhea (16.2 ppg) crept into the top 100 this week, with both players ranking in the 90's.

TEAM LEADER Ashley Walker has led the team in scoring each of the last six games and the team in rebounding each of the last five. Walker has scored in double-digits in eight of the Bear's nine games this season. She has led the team in scoring in all but three games and the team in rebounding in all but three games. Lauren Greif is the only other Bear to lead the team in rebounding in a game this season.

CAREER HIGH Sophomore forward Kelsey Adrian scored a career-high 15 points against SJSU. She was the second starter this season to set a new career-high. Junior guard Natasha Vital scored a career-high 22 against South Florida. Ashley Walker matched her career high, 32, against Iowa.

FEDERICO Sophomore guard Rachelle Federico blasted her previous career high for minutes played with 21 quality minutes on the court against SJSU. Her previous career high was 11. She had four rebounds, four points, and two assists. Federico has hit a three-point shot in four of her last six games.

WALKER MOVES INTO THIRD PLACE Ashley 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 is just the seventh player in Cal history to score at lest 1,500 points. Walker`s 52 points last weekend moved her past Teresa Palmisano (1986-91, 1610 points) to take over fourth place on the all-time career list. She has since moved past Cynthia Cooke (1982-85, 1,641 points) and into third on the all-time points list with 1,673. She needs 93 points to pass Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and move into second place on the all-time scoring list.

WALKER No. 2 ALL-TIME REBOUNDER Ashley Walker's eight rebounds against Iowa moved her to second on the all-time Cal rebounding list, passing Kesha Martin (1989-93), who has 875, to make her the second leading rebounder in school history. Walker now has 912 career rebounds, needing 88 to become just the second player in Cal history to grab 1,000 boards, and is 117 rebounds shy of passing Colleen Galloway (1978-81) to become Cal's all-time leading rebounder.

27 20's Ashley Walker's 26 point performance against Oklahoma marked the 27th time she has scored 20 or more points in a game in her Cal career. Her 31 against TCU marked the fifth time she has scored more than 30. It was the 43th time that any Cal player has scored 30 or more points in a game. Walker has scored in double-digits all but one game this season (South Florida, 6 points) and has only failed to top the 20 point mark three times. Walker scored 17 points in the San Jose State game, but scored nearly a point per minute as she only saw 18 minutes of floor time in the game.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES Alexis Gray-Lawson became the second Bear this season to post her first career double-double when she scored 12 points with 10 assists against Princeton. Lauren Greif posted her first career double-double when she scored 15 points with 11 rebounds against South Florida in the Paradise Jam tournament a week earlier. Gray-Lawson's double-double was the first time since Dec. 10, 2005, when Sarah Pool scored 14 points with 11 assists that a Cal player had a double-double with points and assists. Her 10 assists was the first time a Cal player had double-digits in that category since Natasha Vital had 12 assists against Arizona on Feb. 16, 2008. Vital has three double-digit assist games in her career, but none have been partnered with a double-digit scoring effort.

ALL-TIME ASSIST 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 is now one assist shy of career assist number 300.

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 172 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 1,333 career points, 167 points shy of joining Walker at 1500 career points. Hampton is also 36 points shy of passing Kesha Martin (1989-93, 1,368 points) and moving into eighth place on the career scoring list.


BASKETBALL BY THE BAY TOURNAMENT

No. 9/7 California 76, San Jose State 40 In Cal's 76-40 victory over San Jose State, the Bears led from tip to buzzer to earn their second 30-point victory of the season. The final was the largest point differential in a Bears' victory since beating Washington State by 55 points last season (99-44, 12/30/07) and the largest margin of victory over a nonconference opponent since defeating Harvard 96-54 at their home tournament, the Contra Costa Times Classic, in 2006. The Bears, who were holding their opponents to an average of just 49.3 ppg before allowing 82 to TCU, brought their average back down to 52.3. It was the second time this season the Bears defense held an opponent to 40 or fewer points.

The Bears out-rebounded SJSU by 25, their biggest rebounding margin of the season. SJSU managed just two offensive boards in the game, both of those coming in the second half.

The Bears held San Jose State's leading scorer, Natalie White, to zero points in the game. White has averaged 12.8 points per game this season.

The Bears' starting lineup shot 45.0 percent from three-point range in the game, with sophomore guard Kelsey Adrian and Alexis Gray-Lawson going 5-for-8. Ashley Walker hit her third three of the season, the fourth of her career.

No. 9/7 California 75, No. 7/5 Oklahoma 86 The game was a tale of two halves with the Golden Bears dominating the first half and the Oklahoma Sooners owning the second half. Cal outscored the Sooners by 26 in the first half, only to be outscored by 37 in the second half in the biggest lead to ever be lost by a Cal team in a loss in program history.

Cal led by 17 points, 69-52, before Oklahoma (8-2) rallied by closing the game with a 34-6 run. Junior guard Nyeshia Stevenson hit back-to-back three-pointers and gave Oklahoma its first lead of the game with 3:43 to play. Stevenson finished with 21 points and senior center Courtney Paris had 18 points and 13 rebounds to extend her consecutive streak of double-doubles dating to her freshman season to 102 in Oklahoma's third straight victory since a loss to top-ranked Connecticut on Nov. 30.

Ashley Walker scored in the paint and from the perimeter, finishing with 26 points and eight rebounds in the shocking collapse by Cal (8-2). Alexis Gray-Lawson had 16 points and nine assists and Lauren Greif added a season-high 18 points for the Golden Bears, who dominated the first half of this highly anticipated showdown between the top-10 programs.

The Bears shot 64 percent and did everything right in the first half only to lose over the final 20 minutes by shooting 28 percent and committing 11 of their 18 turnovers.

Cal started the game strong, hitting 8 of its first 12 field-goal attempts. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson hit her first four field goal attempts, putting up 13 points early in the game. The Bears led 30-10 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. Ashley Walker scored her 22nd point of the game on a free throw with 3:05 left in the first half. At the time, the entire Oklahoma team had 22 points total. Walker had a pair of three pointers in her 22 points, her third and fourth of the season and just the fifth and sixth of her career. Cal led 52-26 at halftime. Their largest lead in the game was 26, which they held with 4:59 left in the first half.

The 2,636 people watching the game was the largest crowd to ever watch a women's collegiate basketball game at the venue.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT

 

SCOUTING No. 7/7 BAYLOR

The Cal Bears take on their second-straight Big 12 opponent when they host the Baylor Bears (9-1, 0-0 Big 12). Baylor began the season ranked No. 19 in the preseason polls but moved into the top-10 after defeating then-ranked No. 2 Stanford in its second game of the season. Baylor's only loss this year was in the championship game of the Paradise Jam's Ocean Division, falling by one point to Wisconsin. Baylor has been ranked in a school-record 96 straight AP polls dating back to week nine of the 2003-04 listing when it broke in at No. 24. Since 2000, Baylor has been ranked in the AP top 25 117 times.

In Coach Mulkey's nine seasons at Baylor, the Lady Bears are 100-7 (.935) in regular season, non-conference games. Five of the seven losses have come against ranked opponents: 2000-01 - 11-0; 2001-02 - 12-0; 2002-03 - 11-1, lost at Montana State (75-66); 2003-04 - 12-1, lost at No. 7 Penn State (74-63); 2004-05 - 10-1, lost to No, 3 LSU (71-70); 2005-06 - 10-1, lost at No. 4 LSU (88-57); 2006-07 - 13-1, lost to No. 12 Purdue (69-55) at Waco (Preseason WNIT); 2007-08 - 12-1, lost at No. 5 Stanford (87-563); 2008-09 - 9-1, lost to Wisconsin (59-58) at Paradise Jam, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Baylor leads the all-time series with Cal 2-1, having won the last two meetings between the teams. Baylor defeated Cal in Waco, Texas last season, 69-56. Cal held a 32-25 edge at the half, but Baylor came back to win on its home court. Ashley Walker led Cal with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

PROBABLE STARTERS

21 Kelli Griffin-So., G 5-8 5.7 ppg,3.0 ppg, 3.5 apg

15 Jhasmin Player-Sr. G 5-10 10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.5 apg

3 Jessica Morrow-Sr. G 6-0 9.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg

14 Rachel Allison-Sr. F 6-0 15.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg

11 Danielle Wilson-Jr. P 6-3 13.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg

TOP RESERVES

5 Melissa Jones-So. G 5-10 7.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg

55 Morghan Medlock-Jr. F 6-2 5.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg

24 Ashley Field-Fr. G 6-2 4.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg


Cal Bears Women's Basketball


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