Dec. 27, 2010
Tuesday, Dec. 28: California at Illinois, 7:00 p.m.
TV: none; Radio: 960 AM KKGN; Gametracker: CalBears.com
Live video of the game will be streamed as a paid service on the Big Ten Network.com.
The California Golden Bears (7-3) finish off their non-conference schedule by taking on the University of Illinois Fighting Illini (5-7) Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 5:00 p.m. (PT) in Champaign, Ill.
The Bears are trying to end the pre-Pac-10 schedule with an 8-3 record. The Bears have won at least eight games against non-conference regular-season opponents during the regular season in each of Joanne Boyle's years as head coach except last season when the squad went 6-5 to start the year. Coming into this game, Boyle's Bears are 49-12 against non-Conference opponents during the regular season. This is the eighth consecutive season that Cal will finish the non-conference regular season portion of their schedule with a winning record.
The Bears and Illini are playing each other for just the second time in program history. The last meeting between the two teams was Nov. 26, 1990 when the Bears won 67-54 at Assembly Hall. The only other meeting between the two was a 77-69 loss in Berkeley during the 1985-86 season.
Both of these teams were poised to play one another last season during the WNIT run. The Bears and Illini would have played in the Final Four of the WNIT Tournament in Champaign, however, the Illini were upset, 53-51, at home by the Illinois State Red Birds in the round of eight. Cal went on to defeat Illinois State, 71-45, in Normal, Ill. to advance to the WNIT Championship game.
Sophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth snapped a streak of 13 consecutive games (four to close out last season, nine during this season) in which she scored in double digits. Stallworth, who is averaging a team-best 16.3 points per game, averaged 18.8 points per game over that streak. She only twice came close to breaking the streak (scoring 11 at Illinois State in the WNIT Tourney and this season with 10 points at New Mexico).
Last season, the longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures was eight by Alexis Gray-Lawson. Stallworth had a seven game streak last season to start her Cal career.
Right now, the longest streak on the team is one game held by senior center Rama N'diaye and sophomore Layshia Clarendon. Clarendon also had a streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures snapped in Vegas. Clarendon started the season putting up double digit points in each of her first eight games. Clarendon is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game.
Home Sweet Home With the Bears' 82-56 victory over Long Beach State back on Dec. 11, Cal improved to 6-0 at home this season and has extended its Haas winning streak to nine games. By the time the Bears return home to play Stanford, they will have been without a Haas home game for a span of 21 days. Cal has played two neutral site games (at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Tournament against UT Arlington and Texas Tech) and a road game at Illinois. The Bears have also had breaks for finals and Christmas since last playing at Haas.
The home court has been very good to the Bears this season. The Bears are outscoring their opponents by 21.5 at home this season and are pulling in 18.3 more rebounds per game on the home court.
No player has been affected by the home court advantage than freshman guard Lindsay Sherbert. Sherbert has hit 11 of her 13 three-point field goals this season on her home rims and is averaging 10.0 points per game at Haas. Overall this season, Sherbert is averaging 7.4 points per game, the top mark among the three rookies on this year's Cal's squad.
Stallworth has also taken advantage of the home court advantage. Stallworth is averaging 20.0 points per game at home this season and 7.8 rebounds. She is averaging 16.3 points per game and 6.9 rebounds overall this season.
Crashing the Boards The Bears have outrebounded their opponents in eight of their ten games this season. The Bears are not just winning the battle of the boards by a rebound or two, but dominating the opposition. Cal comes into the week averaging 12.5 more rebounds per game than their opponents, ranking the Bears 7th in the nation in rebounding margin. The Bears have four games where the rebound differential was more than 10 and totally dominated the Yale contest, when the Bears outrebounded the Bulldogs, 64-34.
The Bear players have had nine double-digit rebound performances this season. Stallworth leads the team with four.
Steals Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre nabbed seven more steals at the Las Vegas tournament (five against UT Arlington and a pair against Texas Tech). Pierre has had at least two steals in every game this season, including a career-high eight against New Mexico. Pierre is currently averaging 4.1 steals per game, which leads the Pac-10. More impressively, her average has moved up to being ranked second among all NCAA Division I players. Pierre ended last season with a team-best 71 steals (1.9 per game), just three shy of entering the Cal record book for single-season bests (74 ranks tenth). The single season steal record for Cal is 100 set by Eliza Sokolowska in 1994-95.
Efficiency When DeNesha Stallworth shoots the ball, she is making her shots, most of the time. In fact, Stallworth, helped by her 12-for-14 performance in the Colliers International Classic Championships game, is connecting on 55.1 percent of her tries from the field. The mark is fifth best in the Pac-10 and ranks No. 10 among all NCAA Division I players. Sophomore center Talia Caldwell actually has a better percentage, making 57.1 percent of her shots, but she does not have enough attempts to qualify for the national rankings. She ranks just above Stallworth in the Pac-10 rankings, ranking fourth.
Layshia Clarendon leads the Pac-10 in three-point efficiency, making 46.1 percent of her long-range shots (12-for-26). Her 2-for-6 performance against Texas Tech and an 0-for-2 against Fullerton were the only times this season in which she has shot less than 50% from three point range in a game. Clarendon has made at least one three in eight of ten games this season.
200 wins Cal head coach Joanne Boyle comes into the game with a career record of 193-80 (.707), including a 126-51 (.711) mark at Cal. She needs seven more victories to reach the 200th of her head coaching career. Boyle spent three seasons as the head coach for the Richmond Spiders (67-29) prior to her arrival in Berkeley.
All-Tournament Honors Freshman guard Afure Jemerigbe was named to the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops All-Tournament team, the first all-tournament honor of her collegiate career. Jemerigbe had a career game with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and five steals (all Cal career highs) in the tourney opener against Texas Tech. Jemerigbe is the third Cal player this season to earn All-Tournament honors. Layshia Clarendon was named the MVP of the Colliers International Classic Tournament, scoring 35 points with 14 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals in the two games. DeNesha Stallworth earned all-tournament honors, scoring 44 points with 12 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.
Cal Coaches Corner Each Monday (beginning Dec. 13), head coach Joanne Boyle will also be featured weekly on the Cal Coaches Corner radio program. The show airs on KNEW Radio (910 AM) every Monday from 6-7 p.m. The program is broadcast live from the Paragon at the Claremont Hotel, Club and Spa in Berkeley. In addition to Coach Boyle, men's head coach Mike Montgomery will also be a weekly guest on the show. After the end of the football season, men's and women's basketball players will also be interviewed by host Todd McKim. The show allows fans to email questions for the coaches and players. Fans are also encouraged to go to the Paragon to watch the show live.
Battle of the Bay For the second consecutive season, Cal will open Pac-10 play taking on the Stanford Cardinal. This season, Cal will take on the Cardinal at Haas to start Conference competition, hosting them on Sunday, Jan. 2 at 12:30 p.m. Stanford leads the series 55-17. Since 2006-07, Cal has two victories over the Cardinal. The Bears won 72-57 on Feb. 04, 2007 at Stanford. The Bears won a 57-54 decision on Jan. 18, 2009 at Haas.
The Bears are 2-3 in their Pac-10 openers under Boyle. In the first home Pac-10 game of the season with Boyle as head coach, the Bears are 4-1, their only loss coming in 2007 against Arizona State.
The Battle of the Bay is the first Cal Kids Day of the season. All youth (12th grade and younger) can purchase general admission tickets for just $1. There will also be plenty of pregame activities for youth including bounce houses, poster making, and face painting. There will be a post-game autograph session featuring all of the Bears' players.
Tickets for the game are still available and can be obtained online through CalBears.com or by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-BEARS.