Oct. 20, 2008
BERKELEY - The California women's basketball team was selected as the No. 2 team in the nation in the Athlon Sports preseason poll and No. 8 according to Lindy's preseason top-25 poll. The No. 2 ranking is the highest the Golden Bears have received under fourth-year head coach Joanne Boyle and is likely the highest ranking in the history of the Cal program.
The Bears were ranked as high as No. 8 for several weeks last season. Cal set a school record for wins in a season with a 27-7 overall mark and earned its first NCAA Tournament victory since the 1993 season. The Bears finished with a school-record 15-3 mark in the Pac-10.
The Bears were also predicted by USA Today to advance to the 2009 NCAA Sweet 16. Cal's 2008 NCAA Tournament selection was a school record third consecutive playoff berth. This year's schedule for the Bears features six teams that competed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and three WNIT selections.
Led by first-team All-Pac-10 choices Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton, Cal returns all of its 2007-08 starters this season. Walker and Hampton were named to the 2008-09 preseason watch list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year award, as well as selected as preseason All-Americans by the Sporting News.
Overall, Cal returns nine letterwinners and welcomes freshmen Angelei Aguirre and Casey Morris. Aguirre, a 5-11 guard, averaged 20.9 ppg and 10.2 rebounds pre game during her senior season at White Plains HS in White Plains, N.Y. Morris is a 5-9 point and shooting guard hailing from Piedmont HS, and was nationally ranked No. 35 ranked by Blue Star Report and No. 51 by HoopGurlz.com
Cal has two home exhibitions - Chico State on Nov. 5 and Vanguard on Nov. 9 - before tipping off the 2008-09 season on Nov. 14 by hosting Albany.
2008-09 Athlon Preseason Top-25 Poll
4. Texas A&M
8. Arizona State
12. North Carolina
13. Ohio State
15. Old Dominion
17. Oklahoma State
19. Kansas State
20. Florida State
23. Michigan State
2008-09 Lindy's Preseason Top-25 Poll
6. North Carolina
11. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
17. Ohio State
20. Notre Dame
21. Arizona State
22. Florida State
2008-09 USA Today Preseason Sweet 16