March 13, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
California to Face Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament First Round
No. 8-seeded Golden Bears (23-8, 12-6 Pac-10) earn trip to Pittsburgh
for match-up with No. 9-seeded Notre Dame (19-11, 10-6, BIG EAST)
Sunday, March 18
12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT)
Radio: KALX (90.7 FM)
and linked on CalBears.com
Postseason Guide (PDF)
California earned its second consecutive and fifth bid overall to the NCAA Tournament and will face Notre Dame Sunday in Pittsburgh, Pa., at the Petersen Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
The Golden Bears are seeded eighth in the Dallas Regional, while the Fighting Irish are the ninth seed. Cal was one of four Pac-10 teams selected to this year's tournament, with Stanford, Arizona State and Washington being the others.
Joanne Boyle, the 2007 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, was born in Philadelphia and moved to Pittsburgh when she was 10 years old. She attended Gateway High School in Pittsburgh. Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour served as the deputy director of athletics at Notre Dame before assuming her current position.
The winner of Sunday's game will battle the winner of the contest between No. 1-seed North Carolina (30-3), the ACC Tournament champion, and No. 16-seed and SWAC Conference champion Prairie View A&M (19-13) Tuesday, March 20 in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. ET. The exact time will be determined after Sunday's game.
This week will be the first time Cal and Notre Dame will ever face each other in women's basketball. North Carolina owns a 2-1 series lead over Cal, and the Bears have never met Prairie View A&M.
Cal owns a 1-4 NCAA Tournament record and is in pursuit of its first NCAA Tournament victory since the Bears defeated Kansas, 62-47, in the opening round of the 1993 NCAAs. In 2006, 10th-seeded Cal lost to seventh-seeded St. John's, 78-68, in Cal's first NCAA appearance since 1993.
At 23-8, Cal is one win shy of tying the 1983-84 Bears (24-8) for the most wins in school history. This year's team has matched the 1983-84 squad for the program's best record through 31 games. This season, Cal has also reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1991-92 squad finished with a 20-9 mark.
Under the direction of Boyle, who is in her second season at Cal, the Bears have also posted consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1991-92 and 1992-93. In Boyle's inaugural campaign, the Bears recorded an 18-12 record.
Cal finished third in the Pac-10 this season at 12-6, tying the 1991-92 Bears for the best Pac-10 mark in school history. This year's squad also set a school record for the best Pac-10 showing, slightly bettering the 1991-92 team which tied for third place. Notre Dame tied for fifth in the Big East with a 10-6 mark.
With a 63-51 triumph over Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinal round, the Bears earned their first appearance in the semifinals of the conference tournament in the six-year history of the event. Third-seeded Cal fell to second-seeded Arizona State, 60-53, in the semis.
This season's biggest Cal win was a 72-57 triumph at No. 8 Stanford Feb. 4 at Maples Pavilion. The victory snapped the Cardinal's 17-game overall winning streak and 50-game home Pac-10 winning stretch. Additionally, the win halted Cal's 14-game losing streak to the Cardinal and gave the Bears' their first win over a top-10 program since they knocked off No. 9 Colorado State, 80-75, Dec. 21, 1998, at Kaiser Arena in Oakland, Calif. Cal ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 68.2 ppg and third in the conference in scoring defense at 60.0 ppg, which is on pace to break last year's school record of 60.4 ppg. The Bears are 15-0 when holding opponents under 60 points this season. Additionally, Cal is on track to set school records for field goal percentage defense (37.2%, 2nd Pac-10) and scoring margin (+8.2 ppg).
Sophomore center Devanei Hampton and sophomore forward Ashley Walker form one of the most dominant post combinations in the country this season. Hampton, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, averages 16.7 ppg and 8.0 rpg, while Walker contributes 17.2 ppg and a Pac-10-best 8.5 rpg. Both athletes were named first-team All-Pac-10. Hampton is a finalist for WBCA/Kodak All-America honors, and Walker is on the Wade Trophy watch list for national player of the year recognition. Walker led Cal with a then-career-high 21 points in last year's NCAA game against St. John's.
Nine games into the season, sophomore point guard Alexis Gray-Lawson suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the road win at Kansas. It's been a team effort for the Bears to make up for the absence of last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
Senior guard Keanna Levy and freshmen Natasha Vital and Lauren Greif entered the season with little collegiate experience but have stepped up big for the Bears. Vital, who is second in the Pac-10 in assists in conference games at 5.44 apg, was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, while Greif, who tops Cal with 47 three-pointers, received honorable mention. Levy, one of Cal's best perimeter defenders, saw limited action as a reserve for her first three years in Berkeley but has averaged 7.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg this season.
CAL EARNS FIFTH NCAA TOURNAMENT BERTH
Cal earned its fifth invitation to the NCAA Tournament and second under second-year head coach Joanne Boyle, the 2006-07 Pac-10 Coach of the Year who grew up in Pittsburgh. The Bears own a 1-4 all-time NCAA playoff record, including a program-best second round showing in 1993. Cal also has advanced to the WNIT four times - 1979, 1981, 1984 and 1987, when the Bears finished second for their best result.
1990 Cal seed #11 NCAA First Round L, Long Beach State, 87-84 1992 Cal seed #5 NCAA First Round L, Santa Clara, 73-71 1993 Not Available NCAA First Round W, Kansas, 62-47 NCAA Second Round L, Vanderbilt, 82-63 2006 Cal seed #10 NCAA First Round L, St. John's, 78-682006 NCAA FLASHBACK
Tenth-seeded Cal returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years and held a 16-7 edge with 11:35 to play in the first half over No. 7-seed St. John's. The Red Storm went ahead 21-20 with 3:35 left before halftime and 32-27 at the break and never relinquished its lead. St. John's led 65-49 with 7:41 to play before Alexis Gray-Lawson tallied seven straight points to pull Cal within 72-66 with 1:20 left in the game. Ashley Walker led Cal with then-career highs of 21 points and six assists, and Gray-Lawson registered 17 points. Center Devanei Hampton fouled out after posting 16 points in only 13 minutes. Keanna Levy, who had seen limited action all season, came off the bench to spark the Bears with eight points, one rebound and one assist in a then-career high 29 minutes. Kia Wright and Greeba Barlow led the Red Storm with 26 and 21 points, respectively.
BOYLE MAKES FIFTH CONSECUTIVE POSTSEASON APPEARANCE
Cal head coach Joanne Boyle has taken a team to postseason play all five years she has been a collegiate head coach and eight of the nine seasons she was an assistant coach at Duke. The Bears have earned an NCAA Tournament berth each year she has been at Cal, marking only the second time in school history that the Bears garnered consecutive NCAA bids. During her first two seasons at the helm at Richmond, the Spiders advanced to the 2003 WNIT quarterfinals (21-11) and the 2004 WNIT semifinals (23-10). In 2005, Richmond lost to Florida State, 87-54, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (23-8) in the school's first NCAA trip in 14 years. The year before Boyle's arrival at Richmond, the Spiders tallied a 14-16 record. The year before her arrival at Cal, the Golden Bears were 11-18. With Boyle on Duke's staff, the Blue Devils achieved eight straight NCAA Tournament berths (1995-02), highlighted by appearances in the 1999 national championship game and the 2002 semifinals.
CAL OFF TO BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY
At 23-8 overall, Cal has equaled the 1983-84 Bears for the best record through 31 games in school history. In 1983-84, the team went on to set a school record for wins in a season at 24-8. Cal's 23 wins matches the 1980-81 and 1981-82 teams for wins. After posting an 18-12 overall record last season, the Bears have recorded consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1991-92 and 1992-93.
Best Win Totals in School History 1983-84 24-8 1981-82 23-10 1980-81 23-13 2006-07 23-8 1986-87 21-10 1991-92 20-9BEARS RECORD 1ST 20-WIN SEASON IN 15 YEARS, BOYLE'S FOURTH 20-WIN SEASON IN FIVE YEARS
With a 67-61 double-overtime win over Oregon State Feb. 17, Cal reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1991-92 team posted a 20-9 record. Cal has posted at least 20 wins six times in school history. The 1983-84 team set a school record with 24 wins (24-8). Cal head coach Joanne Boyle now has four 20-plus win seasons to her credit in five seasons as a head coach. She came to Cal after leading Richmond to three seasons with at least 20 wins, including best efforts of 23 wins in 2003-04 and 2004-05.
CAL MATCHES BEST PAC-10 RECORD IN SCHOOL HISTORY
The 2006-07 Bears' 12-6 Pac-10 record equals the 1991-92 team for the school-best Pac-10 mark. This year's Cal team grabbed sole possession of third in the Pac-10 to slightly surpass the 1991-92 Bears, who tied for third, for the previous-best Pac-10 showing in school history. Last year, Cal placed sixth in the Pac-10 at 10-8.
BEARS BEAT OREGON, ADVANCE TO FIRST PAC-10 SEMIFINAL
Devanei Hampton posted 21 points and nine rebounds to lead No. 24 Cal to a 63-51 win over Oregon March 3 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Three other Bears also posted double-figure points, including Natasha Vital with 16 points, Ashley Walker with 12 points and Keanna Levy with 10 points to propel Cal to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the first time in school history. Walker topped Cal in rebounding with 10 to earn her Pac-10-leading 11th double-double. Cal led by one at the half at 27-26 and clung to a one-point lead at 39-38 following a jumper by Carolyn Ganes, who led the sixth-seeded Ducks with 19 points, with 11:32 to play in the game. Ignited by a steal and two free throws by Walker, Cal went on an 11-0 run to grab a 50-38 advantage with 5:33 remaining on the clock. Oregon couldn't get any closer than seven points the rest of the game, and the Bears led by as many as 13. Cal lost in the Pac-10 semis to No. 2-seeded Arizona State, 60-53, with Hampton leading the way with 21 points.
HAMPTON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR, BOYLE PAC-10 COACH OF THE YEAR
Sophomore center Devanei Hampton became the first Golden Bear to receive Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, while Joanne Boyle was chosen as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Boyle joined Gooch Foster (1991-92) and Caren Horstmeyer (2003-04) as Cal women's basketball coaches to win the award. Cal also garnered a collection of other postseason honors. Hampton and her dynamic sophomore post partner, Ashley Walker, both were named to the 10-member All-Pac-10 team, signifying only the second time in school history that the Bears have had two first-team All-Pac-10 honorees in one season. Guard Natasha Vital was picked to the five-player Pac-10 All-Freshman squad, while guard Lauren Greif earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman recognition.
HAMPTON, WALKER APPROACH 1,000-POINT, 500-REBOUND MILESTONES
Sophomores Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker are looking to join 17 other Cal players who have reached the 1,000-point career milestone. Hampton has 950 points in 59 games (16.1 ppg) and Walker has tallied 930 points in 61 games (15.2 ppg). Chris Sellin is 17th on Cal's career scoring chart with 1,008 points. Hampton and Walker both have an excellent chance of finishing their careers second all-time in scoring in school history. Colleen Galloway tops the list at 2,320 points. Additionally, Walker has 494 career rebounds, while Hampton is at 469. Sellin is 10th on the all-time list at 703, and Galloway is first at 1,029.
CAL EARNS HIGHEST-EVER RANKINGS BY AP, COACHES
Cal enters the NCAA Tournament receiving votes in the USA Today-ESPN coaches' and Associated Press polls. Earlier this season, the Bears earned a No. 15 ranking for its highest-ever ranking in the 31-year history of the AP poll. Three times they've been ranked as high as No. 16 in the coaches' poll, which is their highest-ever ranking in that poll. Prior to this season, the Bears' previous best AP ranking was No. 20 in the first poll of the 1982-83 season (Nov. 18, 1982), while their previous best coaches' poll ranking of No. 21 was established Jan. 28, 1992. Before this year, the last time Cal was listed in the AP and coaches' polls was in 1992-93.
AP USA Today-ESPN Preseason 21 21 Week 1 18 19 Week 2 16 17 Week 3 16 16 Week 4 16 17 Week 5 15 16 Week 6 15 16 Week 7 18 19 Week 8 21 21 Week 9 22 22 Week 10 21 22 Week 11 20 22 Week 12 21 21 Week 13 20 20 Week 14 22 22 Week 15 RV RV Week 16 25 24 Week 17 RV 25 Week 18 RV RVTWO HOME RECORDS SET, TWO OTHERS TIED
With a 12-3 record at Haas Pavilion, Cal equaled last year's facility record. A Cal women's basketball record 5,027 fans attended the Stanford game Jan. 6, breaking the previous Haas Pavilion record of 4,859, which was set Feb. 11, 2006, in the Cal-Stanford game. Harmon Gym - Cal's home before Haas Pavilion opened in 1999 - owned a women's basketball attendance record of 4,908, established in the Cal-Stanford game Feb. 28, 1997. The Bears averaged 1,656 fans through 15 home dates this season, which equaled last year's school record. Additionally, Cal's 96-54 victory over Harvard established a new Haas Pavilion Bears' women's scoring standard.
Cal is 11-5 away from Haas Pavilion this season (8-4 road, 3-1 neutral), which is the most victories the Bears have posted away from their home arena since the 1983-84 season. That year, Cal went 11-8 away from Berkeley. Cal registered a 6-9 record away from Haas Pavilion in 2005-06.
BEARS END STANFORD'S 50-GAME HOME PAC-10 STREAK
Cal erased a 31-30 halftime deficit to claim a 72-57 triumph over then-No. 8/9 Stanford Feb. 4 at Maples Pavilion. The win ended the Cardinal's 50-game home Pac-10 winning streak and 17-game overall winning streak, was Stanford's only conference loss of 2006-07 and halted the Bears' 14-game losing streak to their Bay Area rival. Devanei Hampton led Cal with 22 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. Natasha Vital recorded a career-high 19 points and Lauren Greif chipped in 15 points. Stanford shot a school-record low field goal percentage (26.6).
BEARS PROVE THEY KNOW HOW TO SWEEP
During the Pac-10 season last year, Cal sometimes struggled to put back-to-back wins together. Only twice did they sweep a weekend series - in Los Angles over UCLA and USC and the last weekend of the season at home against Washington State and Washington with an NCAA berth on the line. This season, Cal swept the Washington series on the road for the first time in school history, the Oregon schools at home for the first time since 2000-01 and USC and UCLA at home for the second straight season. The Bears have also swept the season series with Arizona for the first time since 1991-92 and have swept the Washington State series for two consecutive seasons for the first time since 1985-86 and 1986-87. Cal also swept the Oregon State series for the second time in the last three seasons and added their second consecutive season sweep over USC before the Pac-10 Tournament. Cal hasn't lost consecutive games this season after twice losing back-to-back games in 2005-06.
TWO DEFENSIVE RECORDS LIKELY TO FALL IN 2006-07
Cal is on pace to set school records for scoring defense and field goal percentage defense for the second straight season. The Bears rank third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (60.0 ppg) and second in field goal percentage defense (37.2%), putting them on pace to break the school records of 60.4 ppg and 37.8%. The Bears own a 15-0 record when holding opponents under 60 points in 2006-07. Cal has surrendered 60.4 ppg without Alexis Gray-Lawson (tore ACL Dec. 10) and 58.1 ppg with her in the lineup this year. Washington State tallied a Cal opponent-season low of 45 points Feb. 10. Only 10 Cal opponents have reached the 40-percent plateau this season. Washington, which is one of four Cal opponents to shoot below 30 percent, shot a Bears' opponent-season low of 26.2 percent (16-61) Jan. 13.
Cal's Top 3 Defensive Seasons Year Average 1. 2006-07 60.0 ppg 2. 2005-06 60.4 ppg 3. 2001-02 63.2 ppgOFFENSE SURGING IN 2006-07, CAL EYES FG% RECORD
Cal ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring average (68.2 ppg), which is the Bears' best scoring average since the 1995-96 team posted 71.8 ppg. The Bears tallied 88 points, including 60 in the second half, vs. UCLA Feb. 24, which is the most they've recorded in a Pac-10 game since 1996-97 (W, 88-58 vs. ASU) and the sixth time this season the team has scored at least 80 points. Cal's best output came in a 96-54 triumph over Harvard, setting a new Haas Pavilion Bears' women's scoring mark. In the first nine games of the season with Alexis Gray-Lawson starting, Cal averaged 75.8 ppg. Over the last 22 outings, Cal is averaging 65.1 ppg. In six of Cal's last 11 games, the Bears have amassed at least 72 points and three times they tallied at least 84 points. In 2005-06 in head coach Joanne Boyle's first season at Cal, the Bears averaged 64.8 ppg (7th Pac-10). The Bears are third in the Pac-10 this season in scoring margin (+8.2, school record), second in field goal percentage (46.4%), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (30.6%) and sixth in free throw percentage (67.9%). Last season, Cal shot 43.6% (FG) 32.4% (3FG) and 62.6% (FT). The Bears look to break the school record for field goal percentage (46.8, 1991-92). Cal owns 15 double-digit wins this season.
OVERTIME MADNESS IN 2006-07
Cal has played a school-record four overtime games this season, including a double-overtime win (67-61) at Oregon State. Prior to this season, the school record was three overtime games in 1987-88 (2-1, 4 OT periods). The Bears are 15-13 all-time in overtime contests (2-2 this year) in their program's history. Cal edged George Mason, 70-69, Dec. 19, 1997, in the school's last double-overtime game prior to this season.
CAL EXCELS ON THE GLASS THS SEASON
Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin this season at +5.6 (38.3-32.7), which is the second-best rebounding margin in school history. The 1979-80 Bears boasted a +6.3 rebounding margin (43.5-37.2). The Bears have held a rebounding advantage in 22-of-31 games this season and are 19-3 in those games. Cal has outrebounded opponents 12 times by at least 10 rebounds this season. Ashley Walker (8.5 rpg) and Devanei Hampton (8.0 rpg) rank first and third, respectively, in the Pac-10 in rebounding.
BEARS TOP PAC-10 IN FT ATTEMPTED PER GAME
After ranking last in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage last season at 62.6 percent, Cal has improved to 67.9 percent (6th Pac-10). Additionally, the Bears are first in the conference in free throws taken per game at 23.6, which is also an improvement over last season's 21.6 per game. Cal has taken 733 free throws this season, which surpasses last season's 649 attempts. Arizona State is second in the league this season at 21.9 attempts/game. The Bears make an average of 16.1 free throws per game (13.5 pg in 05-06). Ashley Walker, who leads Cal at 76.3 percent, averages a team-high 6.9 free throws attempted/contest. As a rookie, Walker averaged 4.2 trips to the line per game. She took 125 free throws last year and already has 215 to her credit this season (3rd in Cal history). She made 85 last year and already has converted 164 (3rd in Cal history). Devanei Hampton is second on the team at 6.5 free throws attempted/game this year. Walker and Hampton have taken 416 of Cal's 733 free throws (56.8 percent) this year. Cal's 733 free throws are the most the team has attempted in a season since 1990-91 (787).
Cal's FT Attempted Season Leaders 1. Trisha Stafford (91-92) 244 2. Jennifer Bennett (86-87) 224 3. Ashley Walker (06-07) 215 4. Teresa Palmisano 205 5. Devanei Hampton (06-07) 201HAMPTON SELECTED FINALIST FOR KODAK ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Devanei Hampton was named one of six finalists from Region 8 for the WBCA/Kodak All-America team March 8. Hampton is one of eight sophomores among the 52 finalists and the only one from Region 8. There is one freshman finalist, and the remaining 43 players are all juniors and seniors. She looks to join Milica Vukadinovic (1992-93) as the only Kodak All-Americans in school history. Hampton has garnered an assortment of other honors this season, including Pac-10 Player of the Year, her second first-team All-Pac-10 selection, Pac-10 all-tournament team, two Pac-10 Player of the Week accolades (Jan. 15, Feb. 26) and was the Pac-10's WBCA Player of the Month nominee for February. Additionally, the Oakland, Calif., product was on the Naismith Trophy preseason watch list and earned Street & Smith's preseason high honorable mention All-America recognition. Hampton is second on the team in scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) and averaged 18.9 ppg (2nd Pac-10) and 8.9 rpg (1st Pac-10) in Pac-10 games. She has topped the Bears in scoring in 10 of the last 11 games. Hampton has eight double-doubles this season (17 for her career), including in five of her last nine games. In the upset win over No. 8 Stanford, she notched 22 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. Hampton has recorded double-figure points 27 times this season and in 16 straight games. Eleven times she has registered at least 20 points in a game this season. Over the last 11 games, she is averaging 22.1 ppg and 10.3 rpg.
WALKER EARNS SPOT ON WADE TROPHY WATCH LIST
Ashley Walker, who has posted 11 double-doubles in 2006-07 (T1st in the Pac-10) and 19 for her career, was tabbed first-team All-Pac-10 after being on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team last year. Walker leads Cal in many categories and is ranked in the top 10 in seven statistical categories in the Pac-10 this season. For her efforts, she was added to the State Farm Wade Trophy watch list in January. The Modesto, Calif., product tops the Pac-10 in rebounding (8.5 rpg), is third in scoring (17.2 ppg), field goal percentage (53.6%) and offensive rebounds (2.97), is fourth in blocked shots (1.35 bpg), fifth in defensive boards (5.55 rpg) and ninth in minutes played (33.10 mpg). Walker is the only player in the conference to earn three Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (Nov. 20, Dec. 11 and Jan. 22) this season and is only the second Cal player to receive at least three Pac-10 Player of the Week honors in one season (Jennifer Bennett garnered four in 1986-87). Walker has tallied double-figure points 28 times this season (nine with at least 20 points, including a career-high 32 points vs. USC) and has led the Bears in scoring 14 times and in rebounding 17 times this year. Her assists are up this year (47 to 69 in 06-07). She dished off a career-high seven assists in the win over UCLA and recorded her 11th double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in Cal's Pac-10 quarterfinals victory over Oregon. During the non-conference season, Walker received the MVP awards at the Timeout for HIV/AIDS Classic and the Contra Costa Times Classic and was named to the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving all-tournament team.
WALKER, HAMPTON CLIMBING CAL CAREER CHARTS
Despite only being sophomores, Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton have already landed on several categories in Cal's career record book. Here's a glance at where they rank.
Scoring Average 1.Colleen Galloway (1978-81) 18.4 2. Eliza Sokolowska (1995-96) 16.8 3. Devanei Hampton (2006-present)16.1 6. Ashley Walker (2006-present) 15.2LEVY HAS BREAKOUT SENIOR SEASON
Blocks 1. Charlotte Lusschen (1983-85) 198 5. Chris Sellin (1979-82) 98 6. Ashley Walker (2006-present) 93
Senior guard Keanna Levy, a 2003 Iowa Gatorade High School Player of the Year, has proven that perseverance pays off. After seeing limited action as a reserve her first three seasons, Levy has started 28 of the Bears' last 29 games (missed home game vs. Oregon State with a concussion). The Waterloo, Iowa, product is averaging career bests of 7.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg in 32.2 mpg on the court. She is second on the team in three-pointers made (27) and third in steals (35) and offensive boards (50). Levy registered a career-high 17 points in both Arizona wins for two of her 12 double-digit scoring games this year. She has posted at least 10 points in four of her last five outings. Against the Wildcats Dec. 30, she drained a career-best four three-pointers (4-4). In the Contra Costa Times Classic, she tallied a then-career high of 12 points, six assists and four steals against Harvard and added 12 points the next day vs. Arkansas State to earn a spot on the Contra Costa Times all-tournament team. Last season, Levy posted a total of 26 points in 100 minutes of action (9.1 mpg). The interdisciplinary studies major has 220 points in 967 minutes in 2006-07. As a sophomore, she saw action in 240 minutes (8.9 mpg), and as a freshman, she played in 176 minutes (7.3 mpg).
Levy Year-By-Comparison PPG RPG APG Mpg 03-04 2.0 1.2 0.3 7.3 04-05 1.5 1.1 0.5 8.9 05-06 2.4 1.4 0.4 9.1 06-07 7.3 4.0 1.6 32.2VITAL EMERGES AS FRESHMAN STANDOUT
Freshman Natasha Vital, a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection, came to Cal highly recruited out of Lincoln High School in Stockton, Calif., and has capitalized on her opportunities as Cal's starting point guard. Vital, 5-8, was ranked No. 55 nationally by Blue Star Index and earned her first collegiate start against UCLA Dec. 20. She has started the last 22 games overall due to sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson's (10.6 ppg, 3.1 apg) ACL injury. Vital averages 7.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 3.97 apg (5th Pac-10) and tops the Bears with 123 assists. Her assists average is the best by a Cal player since Sherrise Smith averaged 4.5 apg in 1998-99, while her assists total is the most by a Bear since Eliza Sokolowska had 186 in 1995-96. Over the last 22 games as a starter, Vital is averaging 8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 5.0 apg. Her 5.44 apg in Pac-10 games is second in the conference. Her assists total surpasses Gray-Lawson's team best of 80 last season. Vital posted double-doubles in Cal's wins over USC (15 points, career-high 10 assists) and UCLA (18 points, 10 rebounds). She has registered nine double-digit scoring games, including eight in her last 14 games. Vital is Cal's third most productive three-point shooter at 26.7 percent (16-of-60).
GREIF EARNS PAC-10 ALL-FRESHMAN HONORABLE MENTION
Freshman guard Lauren Greif, an honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree, has been a consistent influence as a starter in all 31 games this season. Greif leads the Bears in minutes played per game (36.23 mpg, 5th Pac-10). Six times she has played every minute of a game this season and is one of four Cal starters who average over 30 mpg. Greif, a 5-10 product from Portland, Ore., is fourth on the team in scoring (8.1 ppg) and third in rebounding (5.5 rpg, 17th Pac-10, 1st among Cal guards). She paces the team in total steals (48), three-pointers made per game (1.52 pg, 6th Pac-10 47 total) and three-point percentage (35.1, 7th Pac-10). Greif has posted double-figure points 10 times this season and double-figure boards twice. She amassed a then-career-high 19 points to lead Cal to a home win over Oregon. In Cal's home win over UCLA, she set a new career high with 21 points and matched her career high of five steals. Greif, who led the state of Oregon in scoring as a senior at Lincoln High School at 22.9 ppg, was a finalist for the Oregon Prep Athlete of the Year Award that was announced Feb. 11.
Cal's 3FG Made Season Leaders 1. Jennifer Self (91-92)64 2. Jennifer Self (90-91)57 3. Liz Rizzo (96-97) 56 4. Paige Bowie (98-99) 52 5. Lauren Greif (06-07) 47N'DIAYE BRINGS VERSATILITY TO BEARS
At 6-5, freshman Rama N'diaye brings unbelievable versatility to the Bears off the bench. N'diaye, who is from Dakar, Senegal, but attended three years of high school in Japan, is capable of playing the three, four or five positions. She posted a career-high 11 points in the win at USC and added 10 points in the home triumph vs. Arizona. She matched her career high of 11 points vs. Stanford Jan. 6 and in the victory at Washington, giving her five double-digits scoring games this season. With N'diaye at the three, the Bears' front line is often 6-5 (N'diaye), 6-3 (Devanei Hampton) and 6-1 (Ashley Walker). N'diaye, who has started three of 31 games, is averaging 4.6 ppg and 2.9 rpg as one of Cal's two primary reserves. She posted her only double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) against then-No. 14 Vanderbilt.
FOSTER BRINGS HUSTLE OFF BENCH
Known as one of the hardest workers on the team, junior forward Krista Foster gives Cal a spark off the bench. Foster, who hails from Fair Oaks, Calif., averages 3.5 ppg and 1.6 rpg. She has played in all 31 games and has made two starts. Her best games were in five Cal wins - over Saint Mary's (11 points), Harvard (15 points), Washington State (10 points, five rebounds), at Washington (nine points) and vs. Belmont (nine points). She is third on Cal in three-point percentage (29.4) and is third in field goal percentage (51.9). After notching 10 points and five boards in 23 minutes in the home win over Washington State, Foster saw 21 minutes of playing time at Oregon, which are the most minutes she has seen in consecutive games since the first two games of the season.
CAL SURPASSES MEDIA, COACHES EXPECTATIONS IN PAC-10
Cal was voted to tie for fourth with Washington this year in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the Pac-10 preseason coaches' poll. The preseason Pac-10 media poll tabbed the Bears fourth. This marks the highest the Bears have been voted in the nine-year history of both polls. Prior to this season, the highest Cal had ever been picked in the Pac-10 preseason coaches' poll was eighth on three occasions, including last season. The highest Cal had ever been chosen in the Pac-10 media poll was eighth five times, most recently in 2005-06. The prognosticators were slightly off, as the Bears finished third (12-6). The 1991-92 Bears tied for third for the program's then-best Pac-10 showing. That year, Cal also logged its best Pac-10 mark at 12-6.
Cal has won 24 consecutive home non-conference games after finishing this season 6-0 at home out of league play.The Bears' last home non-conference setback was against Colorado, 66-47, Dec. 8, 2002.Cal won its third straight Contra Costa Times Classic in December.Cal, which commits 18.7 turnovers per game, has seen that average drop each of the last three seasons (21.2, 19.2).This year's five Cal Pac-10 Player of the Week selections (Walker 3, Hampton 2) equals the 1986-87 squad, which earned five Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (Jennifer Bennett four and Mia Kuusisto one).Cal, which has only nine healthy scholarship players, is 22-5 when holding opponents under 70 points this season.Alexis Gray-Lawson had surgery Jan. 10 to repair the ACL she tore Dec. 10 at Kansas on a layup in the second half.Cal added two walk-ons after the Christmas break - senior guard Julia Numair, who saw action in 18 games as a walk-on in 2003-04 (0.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg), and freshman guard Natalie Nurnberg, who also plays on the Bears' field hockey team.