California Opens Home Schedule Against Sac State
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/15/2011

Nov. 15, 2011

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Thursday, Nov. 17: Sacramento State at California, 7:05 p.m.
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Sunday, Nov. 20: Illinois at California, 2:05 p.m.
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BERKELEY- The California Golden Bears (0-1) and first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb play their first home games of the 2011-12 season, hosting the Sacramento State Hornets (0-2) on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., and the Illinois Fighting Illini (1-1) on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 17 is Youth Free Night. All kids 12th grade and below will receive free admission to the game. There will also be a post-game autograph session with the team.

The Bears and Hornets have not faced each other since 1993, when Cal won, 95-73 on the home court. Sac State has four victories over the Bears in the 1970's to own a 4-1 series advantage.

Over the past six years, the Bears have dominated California schools who are not members of the Pac-12. In 19 games since 2005-06, the Bears have only lost once to an out-of-conference team from the Golden State, the 68-66 stunning loss to San Jose State during the 2009-10 season. The Bears 18 victories over California schools include two wins in the NCAA Tournament (San Diego, 2008; Fresno State, 2009) and a WNIT overtime win (U.C. Davis, 2010).

Cal has also been dominant in regular-season non-conference games in recent history. In the last six seasons, Cal went 50-12 against non-conference teams in the regular season, with nine of those losses coming against teams ranked in the top-25. During that same stretch, the Cal has gone 31-5 at Haas against non-conference teams.

The Bears have won their home opener each of the last eight years. The last time Cal lost in the home opener was a 56-49 game against Rutgers.

Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb is looking for her first victory at the helm of the Bears. New Bear head coaches have now gone 2-7 in their debut games after Gottlieb just missed scoring a win at Rutgers, falling 73-70 in her debut. The only two coaches to win their first official games leading the Bears were Joanne Boyle in 2005 and Barb Iten in 1975.

Gottlieb did not face either Sacramento State or Illinois in her three seasons coaching at Santa Barbara.

Depth The Golden Bears, who had just nine healthy bodies on the squad in 2010-11, are carrying an active roster of 12 players this season. Not only are the Bears showing depth in numbers, the bench has propelled the team through both its exhibition victory and the season-opener at Rutgers. In the exhibition win over Vanguard, the non-starters accounted for 64 of the Bears 99 points (64.6 percent). In the Rutgers game, the bench contributed 41 of the 70 points (58.5 percent). Last year, the Cal bench, over the course of the season, was responsible for scoring 419 points, just 19.6 percent of Cal's total offensive output.

Debuts Three Golden Bears made their collegiate debuts against Rutgers. Freshman forward Reshanda Gray was the first to debut, subbing in two minutes into the game. Freshman point guard Brittany Boyd subbed in one minute later. Four minutes into the game, Gray had a steal that led to a Boyd lay-up, the first stats for the players. In her first six minutes on the court, Gray had that steal, a block, and scored six points. In her shift on the court, Boyd scored four points with a steal and an assist. Freshman forward Justine Hartman checked in later in the first half, making her appearance in the final five minutes of the first period, but immediately made her presence known with back-to-back lay-ups. The three freshmen combined to score 27 points in the game.

Picking Up Where She Left Off Last season, Afure Jemerigbe averaged 3.8 points per game in the regular season, but went on a post-season tear. Starting with the Pac-10 Tournament and going through Cal's WNIT run, Jemerigbe averaged 10.8 points per game. In Sunday's 2011-12 season opener at Rutgers, Jemerigbe scored 14 points with 6 rebounds.

Welcome Back, Gen Brandon Redshirt sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon showed no signs of rust when she took the court against Rutgers. Brandon sat out the entire 2010-11 season, trying to recover from a stress fracture in her shin. Her last appearance on the court was in the Bears WNIT victory over Miami. Brandon played 30 minutes against Rutgers, scoring 12 points with 15 rebounds, the sixth double double of her career.

Perfection Junior forward Talia Caldwell was perfect from the field against Rutgers, starting the season converting her first four field goal attempts. This was the sixth time in Caldwell's career she has been perfect from the field. Caldwell's best single-game performance was a 6-for-6 shooting game against San Jose State in her freshman year. Caldwell, as a freshman, had the second-best season in Cal program history when it comes to shooting percentage. She made 61.5 percent of her shots in her rookie campaign.

Three Pointers In each of the last five seasons, Cal has had a player enter the top-ten list in the program record book for made-threes. Last year, Lindsay Sherbert hit 49 treys, the seventh-highest single season total. Alexis Gray-Lawson has three seasons in the top-10 (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10) and Lauren Grief one (2006-07).

Scoring Streaks Talia Caldwell has scored at least one point in 50 consecutive games, going back to Feb. 12, 2010. Layshia Clarendon has scored at least two points in 35 consecutive games, a streak that encompasses every game of the 2010-11 season. Clarendon was held scoreless in the 2010 WNIT Final against Miami, the last time she did not score for the Bears. In all, Clarendon has only been held scoreless four times in her career. Caldwell has only twice gone without scoring. Caldwell has also had at least one rebound in every game of her Cal career.

Cal in the Polls The Bears have been picked to finish third in both the Preseason Pac-12 Coaches' Poll and the Preseason Pac-12 Media Poll. Cal also received votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll preseason polls. Last year, Cal was unranked all season, but received votes in the preseason poll and continued to receive votes through the first five weeks of the season. Cal was last ranked No. 22 in the week four poll of the 2009-10 season.

Past Honors The Bears have seven former McDonald's High School All-Americans [Gennifer Brandon (2009), Eliza Pierre (2009), Tierra Rogers (2009), Afure Jemerigbe (2010), Lindsay Sherbert (2010), Reshanda Gray (2011), Justine Hartman (2011)], four WBCA high school All-Americans [Layshia Clarendon (2009), Afure Jemerigbe (2010), Lindsay Sherbert (2010), Justine Hartman (2011)], and five players with National Team playing experience [Layshia Clarendon (2009, USA U-19), Avigiel Cohen (2006-09, Israel), Reshanda Gray (2010, USA U-18), Justine Hartman (2009, USA U-16), Afure Jemerigbe (2011, Nigeria)] on the current roster.

The Captains Talia Caldwell, Layshia Clarendon and Eliza Pierre will serve as Cal's captains this season.

Thanks For Being a Golden Bear Day The Sunday, Nov. 20 game against Illinois is the "Thanks For Being a Golden Bear" game. Any fan who brings a canned food item to the game will be able to purchase $3 general admission tickets. Fans will also be able to register to win gift cards for turkey's throughout the game. There will be Turkey Bowling at halftime where one lucky fan will win a $100 turkey gift card. There will also be a post-game autograph session with the team.

Season Tickets Still On Sale Season Tickets On-Sale Now! Support the Golden Bears by purchasing season tickets! Season packages start at just $50, and season ticket holders receive the following benefits throughout the season:
4 Free General Admission tickets to home game vs. Ohio State on December 17
4 Free General Admission tickets to home game vs. Stanford on March 4
Invitations to Season Ticket Holder Only events, and more!