California Opens WNIT Thursday at Cal Poly
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/14/2011

March 14, 2011


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Thursday, March 17: California at Cal Poly, 7:05 p.m.
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The California Golden Bears (17-15, 7-11 Pac-10) have earned their sixth consecutive post-season appearance, earning an at-large bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), taking on the Cal Poly Mustangs (18-12, 12-4 Big West) in San Luis Obispo on Thursday, March 17 at 7 p.m..

The Bears enter the WNIT after advancing to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. The Bears, who have won three of their last five games, have not allowed an opponent to score 50 points in those three wins. The Bears have held opponents to under 50 points seven times this season, including those three games.

Sophomore center Talia Caldwell averaged 10.0 rebounds per game in her three tournament games. Caldwell had 14 offensive rebounds in the tournament, the most by any Pac-10 player. Caldwell scored 27 points in the tournament, giving her 494 career points, six shy of the 500.

Sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon led the Bears in scoring in the Pac-10 tournament, averaging 13.3 points per game.

Freshman guard Afure Jemerigbe scored 34 points in the Pac-10 tournament, averaging 11.3 points per game. She matched a career-high with 17 points against UCLA. It was the second time this season a Cal player scored a career-high against a top-10 ranked opponent. Senior guard Rachelle Federico scored a career-high 16 points a week before against Stanford.

Jemerigbe's 17 points helped the Cal bench put up 29 points against the Bruins. It was the most points scored by the bench since the Las Vegas Tournament when the bench scored a season-high 32 points against UT Arlington. Jemerigbe scored 17 points in the UT Arlington game as well.

Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre had five steals against ASU and four against Washington. Her nine steals in the tournament were the most by any Pac-10 player.

The Bears will open up the WNIT on St. Patrick's Day for the second year in a row. Last year, the Bears played their first game on March 17, earning a 74-69 overtime victory over UC Davis, another Big West school.

This year, the Bears will take on the Cal Poly Mustangs, who are making their first ever post-season appearance. The Mustangs, co-champions of the Big West Conference, fell to UC Davis in the Big West Conference Tournament Championship game. This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools. The two last played Dec. 4, 2002 when the Bears earned a 63-41 victory in Berkeley. The Bears lead the all-time series 3-0.

Cal in the WNIT This is Cal's second consecutive appearance in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) and second overall appearnace since the WNIT returned in 1998. The Bears made four appearances in the "old" WNIT (from 1969-1996). The Bears return to the tournament as the defending champions, going 6-0 in the tournament last season to win the title with a 73-61 victory over Miami.

Joanne Boyle has made the post season in all nine of her seasons as a head coach. She made two WNIT appearances with Richmond, making it to the quarterfinals in 2003 and the semifinals in 2004, and an NCAA tourney appearance in 2005. Boyle went to the NCAA's in her first four years at Cal (2006-09), leading the 2009 team to a Sweet-16 appearance.

Cal is 11-7 in WNIT games (6-0 since 1998). Boyle is 11-2 in WNIT games.

Scoring DeNesha Stallworth ended the regular season averaging 14.0 points per game, ranking her in the top-10 in the Pac-10. Stallworth has led the team in scoring 12 times this season and has 24 double-digit performances. She had scored in every game she has played in at Cal until she went scoreless in the regular-season finale at Stanford.

Layshia Clarendon is right behind her on the points list with 12.8 ppg, 24 double digit scoring efforts, and had led the team ten times. Clarendon led Cal in the Pac-10 Tournament, averaging 13.3 points per game.

Leading Scorers All nine Cal players have led the team in scoring at least once this season. The final holdout, Rachelle Federico, scored a team-high 16 points against Stanford in the regular-season finale.

Rebounding (Team) The Bears fell to third in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin, grabbing an average of 6.1 more rebounds per game than their opponents ranking them 24th in the nation. Cal has now outrebounded their opponents in 21 of its 32 games this season but has lost all ten of the games in which they have been outrebounded.

The Bears had a season-high 64 rebounds against Yale, setting a Cal team record for most rebounds in a single game. It was one of five games this season in which Cal had 50 or more rebounds in a game. It was also one of five time the Bears have outrebounded an opponent by 20 or more in a single game.

Rebounding (Individuals) Talia Caldwell is second in the conference in rebounding, averaging 8.4 rebounds per game. She is one of just three Pac-10 players to have a 20 or more rebound game this season (20, vs. Oregon, 2/24). It was the eighth time in program history that a Cal player had 20 or more rebounds in a game. Caldwell also had an 18 rebound game against Arizona (1/8).

Caldwell is averaging 4.1 offensive rebounds per game, tops in the Pac-10. She has nearly as many offensive rebounds (131) as defensive (137).

When neither Eliza Pierre or Layshia Clarendon picked up a rebound in the game at Washington earlier this season, it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive games in which they had at least one rebound (dating back to last season's WNIT run). The longest consecutive rebounding streaks belong to Talia Caldwell and DeNesha Stallworth who have had at least one rebound in every game they have played so far at Cal.

Steals Eliza Pierre is currently averaging 2.8 steals per game, which leads the Pac-10. Her average ranks 28th among all NCAA Division I players. She has ranked as high as second in the NCAA this season in this stat.

Pierre began the season with a streak of 13 consecutive games in which she had at least one steal. She had a season-high 8 steals at New Mexico (second highest single game total by a Pac-10 player this season) and a seven-steal performance at UCLA.

Pierre currently has 89 steals, which ranks her tied for fourth on Cal's all-time list for steals in a single season. She had 71 steals last season (in 37 games). The single-season record is 100 steals by Eliza Sokolowska in 1994-95.

Three Pointers Lindsay Sherbert leads the Bears with 45 made three-pointers, tied for tenth on the Cal single-season top-10 list for made-threes.

Sherbert had 13 games this season in which she hit more than one three-point shot. Her best performance was draining six (in eight attempts) against Arizona (1/8). Her six makes tied for the second most in a game by a Pac-10 player this season.

Layshia Clarendon has 26 made-threes this season. She netted 27 last season (in 37 games).

Mikayla Lyles has made 29 baskets this season, 23 of them are threes.

Opponent Threes The Bears are still among the nation's best in three-point defense. Opponents are only making 27.8 percent of the long range shots they are attempting against the Cal defense. This leads the Pac-10 and is ranked No. 25among all NCAA Division I teams.

Fouls Cal committed just 16 fouls combined in their final two home games against the Oregons, including committing a season-low five fouls against Oregon where the Ducks never went to the line. The Bears have seven games this season when they have been whistled for 10 or fewer fouls and are averaging 14.1 fouls per game, the 20th fewest fouls per game in the nation.

Turnovers In Cal's home games against the Oregon schools, the Bears had 19 turnovers. Against Oregon, the Bears only turned the ball over eight times, a season low, the first time this season the team tallied single-digit turnovers. Their previous low was 10 against Rutgers and 10 against Oregon when the two teams met in Eugene. Five players, including sophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth who played a team-high 30 minutes in the game, did not have a turnover.

The Bears have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in six of their last eight games.

All-Pac-10 Team Sophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth was named to the All-Pac-10 team in honors announced by the conference. Stallworth was an honorbale mention as a freshman last season and a member of the All-Freshman team. Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre was named to the All-Defensive Team, the second time she has earned the honor. Guard Lindsay Sherbert earned a spot on the All-Freshman team, the second year in a row Cal had a player earn All-Freshman honors.

Sophomore center Talia Caldwell and sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon were honorable mentions for All-Pac-10 honors.

The All-Pac-10 Team are the official conference honors, as voted by the Pac-10 coaches. There is a 15-member All-Pac-10 team, a five-member All-Defensive Team, and a five-member All-Freshman team with each of the three honors also listing honorable mentions.

Pac-10 Media All-Pac-10 Team Sophomore forwards DeNesha Stallworth and Talia Caldwell were named to the Pac-10 Media All-Pac-10 Team in honors announced by the conference. Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre was named to the Pac-10 Media

All-Defensive Team A panel of Pac-10 women's basketball media members who cover the league voted for a 15-member All-Pac-10 team, a five member All-Defensive Team, and a five-member All-Freshman team.

Carol Eckman Award California head coach Joanne Boyle is the winner of the 2011 Carol Eckman Award, as announced by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The Carol Eckman Award is presented annually to an active WBCA coach who exemplifies Eckman's spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose. The award is named in honor of the late Carol Eckman, the former West Chester State College coach who is considered the "Mother of the Women's Collegiate Basketball Championship." Eckman organized the first women's basketball championship at West Chester in 1969 and continued to garner recognition and support for the women's game until her death from cancer in 1985.

Gatorade Player of the Year Cal recruit Erika Johnson has been named the Gatroade Washington Girls Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-1 senior guard and forward from Holy Names Academy led the Cougars to a 29-0 record and the Class 3A state championship this past season. A two-time returning Class 3A First Team All-State selection as named by The Associated Press, Johnson averaged 16.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 4.0 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. She shot 54 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range. Also a Seattle Times All-Area honoree, Johnson produced 13 rebounds, 10 assists and six points in the 57-48, state title-clinching victory against Prairie, earning All-Tournament Team recognition. Her 71 rebounds in the state tournament set the state's single-season postseason record.

High School All-American Cal recruit Reshanda Gray has been named a McDonald's All-American. This is the third straight year that a Joanne Boyle recruit has earned a trip to the McDonalds game. Gray, a 6-3 forward from Washington Prep in Los Angeles, will play for the West team. The game will be played on March 30, 6:30 p.m. (Central) at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., and broadcast live on ESPNU.

Last season, both Afure Jemerigbe and Lindsay Sherbert earned McDonald's All-American honors. In 2009, Tierra Rogers, Gennifer Brandon, Eliza Pierre, and DeNesha Stallworth were named McDonalds All-Americans.