March 4, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. -
Saturday, March 8 #2 Cal vs. #7 Oregon HP Pavilion, San Jose 1:15 p.m. Radio: 90.7 FM (all Cal games) TV: Fox Sports Net for semifinals and finalA LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After assembling the best regular season in school history, No. 10/9 California competes at the Pac-10 Tournament, which runs Friday-Monday, March 7-10, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The Golden Bears (24-5, 15-3 Pac-10, 2nd place) are the No. 2 seed and have received a first-round bye for the third straight year. Cal will face No. 7-seed Oregon (14-16, 7-11, 7th) in the quarterfinals Saturday at 1:15 p.m. The Ducks eliminated No. 10-seed Washington State, 66-45, in the first game of the conference tournament on Friday.
Cal looks to rebound from the disappointment of not claiming at least a share of its first-ever Pac-10 title. The Bears were upset at Washington, 74-66, March 2, dropping Cal in to second place in the Pac-10. Despite the setback, Cal still recorded its best Pac-10 showing in school history, surpassing the 2006-07 (third) and 1991-92 (tied for third) teams.
With Cal's win at Washington State Feb. 29, the Bears matched the 1983-84 Bears (24-8) for the most wins in school history. Cal also has been ranked in the top 10 in both the Associated Press and USA Today-ESPN polls for 10 consecutive weeks. The Bears are currently ninth in the coaches poll and 10th in the AP poll.
Defense and rebounding have keyed Cal's success this season. The Bears are first in the Pac-10 and 10th in the nation in scoring defense (53.6 ppg), which is on pace to break Arizona State's conference record of 54.7 ppg set in 2004-05. The Bears are also first in the Pac-10 and fifth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (34.5%) and are tops in the conference and eighth in the country in rebounding margin (+8.4).
Cal looks to set a new school record for three-pointers made in a season this weekend. The Bears have drained 131 treys, with the program record being 135 in 1995-96. Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson has converted a career-high 52 threes this season and ranks third in the Pac-10 in three-point percentage this season at 40.6 percent and sixth in three-point field goals made/game at 1.79. The Oakland, Calif., product is third on the team in scoring this year at 11.9 ppg.
The dynamic junior post combination of Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton are a focal point of Cal's offense. Walker tops the Pac-10 in double-doubles for the second straight season with 12 and is first in the league in rebounding (9.5 rpg). The Modesto, Calif., native is second in the Pac-10 in scoring (15.6 ppg). Hampton, who missed nine games this season due to Nov. 9 knee surgery, is second on the team in both scoring (13.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg), but hasn't played in 75 percent of Cal's games to qualify for the conference leader board.
Sophomore guards Natasha Vital and Lauren Greif round out the starting lineup. Vital is fifth in the Pac-10 in assists (4.07 apg), while Greif is sixth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (37.8%).