California Closes Out Season with Three Home Games
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/21/2012

Feb. 21, 2012

Thursday, Feb. 23: Utah at California, 7 p.m.
Live Audio/Video Streaming:; Gametracker:
TV: none

Saturday, Feb. 25: Colorado at California, 2 p.m. (Pink Game)
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TV: none

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BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears (20-7, 11-4 Pac-12) finish off the regular season with three consecutive home games. They open the homestand on Thursday, Feb. 23 facing the Utah Utes (13-12, 6-8 Pac-12) at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears head into the weekend series with a two-game lead in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament with three games remaining. Stanford has already secured the top seed in the tournament. The Bears lead Arizona State by two games, USC by 2.5 and Oregon State by three. The top four teams in the tournament will receive first round byes.

The Bears are also playing to position themselves for the post season. Cal has moved up to No. 27 in the latest RPI rankings, one of the more-important items factored into the decision of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

The Bears try to continue to build momentum by hosting Utah and Colorado this week. Utah has won three games in a row, including an overtime win at Colorado last week.

In the first meeting of the year between the two, redshirt sophomore Gennifer Brandon scored 15 points with 15 rebounds. In the games against Utah and Colorado combined, Brandon scored 32 points with 23 rebounds. Junior guard Layshia Clarendon, who played every minute of both games on that road trip, scored 29 points with 13 rebounds, six assists, and six steals.

Cal leads the overall series with the Utes, 6-4, with Cal having won the last four meetings between the two including this season's 63-56 victory in Salt Lake. The Bears last meeting prior to becoming conference foes was a 64-54 victory in Berkeley in the second round of the 2010 WNIT.

The Bears are 11-2 at Haas Pavilion this season with their two losses coming by a combined three points, falling to No. 12 Ohio State, 77-75, and the most recent game at Haas, the 76-75 overtime loss to USC.

The Bears are averaging 75.9 points per game at Haas this season while opponents are only averaging 58.0 (a 17.9 ppg difference). The Bears also have 239 more rebounds at Haas this season than their opponents (+18.4 per game).

Who's Hot

* Layshia Clarendon scored 27 points at Oregon State, the highest single-game total by a Bear so far this season. The previous best was Brandon's 24 points against Ohio State. Clarendon followed that up with her second 20-point game of the season, scoring 22 at Oregon State. She was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week and the Muscle Milk California Golden Bear Student-Athlete of the Week.
* Talia Caldwell scored 19 points with 19 rebounds on the Oregon trip
* Afure Jemerigbe went 4-for-4 from the three-point line Saturday against Oregon State and made 5-of-6 on the Oregon trip.
* Eliza Pierre scored 10 points at Oregon State, her second-highest scoring game of the season. Pierre also had five steals in the trip. The last time she had five steals on a road trip: the Colorado/Utah trip.

Happy New Year After starting Pac-12 play 0-2 in the final week of December, the Bears are 12-2 since New Year's Day, with both losses coming in overtime by a combined four points. Cal has yet to lose a game in regulation in the 2012 calendar year.

The Big 2-0 The Bears secured their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. The Bears have only had ten 20-win seasons in the history of the program (including this year) and only two coaches had guided teams to 20 or more wins in a season. Gooch Foster did it four times (80-81, 81-82, 86-87, 91-92) and Joanne Boyle had four consecutive 20-win seasons from 2006-10 before Gottlieb joined that list.

Gottlieb now has two 20-win seasons on her resume. She was the first-ever coach at UCSB to guide her team to 20 wins in her first season, finishing with a 22-10 overall record. That team won both the Big West regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Pac-12 Player of the Week Layshia Clarendon was named the Bank of the West Pac-12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career after the Bears finished their season sweep of the Oregon schools. Clarendon sunk five threes en route to a season-high 27 points in the 83-71 win over Oregon. She was 10-for-18 from the floor, eight of those attempts coming from three-point range. She also grabbed four boards and handed out five assists. In the 75-68 win over Oregon State, Clarendon made key free throws down the stretch, holding off a late surge from the Beavers, and was 9-for-13 from the charity stripe for the game, tallying 22 points.

It was Clarendon's first-career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor and Cal's 38th all-time.

Clarendon is the second Cal player this season to earn the honor. Gennifer Brandon was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Dec. 19 after scoring 24 points with 24 rebounds against Ohio State.

Rebounding Queen The Battle for the Pac-12 rebounding lead is heating up. Redshirt sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon is averaging 10.4 rebounds per game and has moved up to second in the Pac-12 behind Nnemakdi Ogumike, who is averaging 10.7 rebounds per game. Brandon has the most overall rebounds (282) of any player in the conference. Nnemakdi has 256 over 24 games, giving her a higher average as she has played three fewer games than Brandon. In third place is Chiney Ogumike who also has 255 rebounds, which is 10.2 rpg over her 25 contests.

Brandon currently ranks 16th in the nation in rebounding.

Raining Threes The Bears made 15 three-pointers on the Oregon trip. The Bears had 16 made-threes in the five games leading up to that trip. Cal had a season-high 10 three-pointers at Oregon, surpassing the eight they hit at Saint Mary's. Cal had the best three-point-shooting game of the season against Oregon State, making five on eight attempts (62.5 percent), which also eclipsed the shooting at the Saint Mary's game (8-for-15, 53.3 percent).

Free Throws The Bears made a season-high 24 free throws at Oregon State. Cal shot 72.7 percent from the line (24-for-33), tied for their fourth-best free throw shooting performance of the season. Brittany Boyd, in her last four games, has made 14-of-16 free throw attempts. Eliza Pierre went 2-for-2 against both Oregon and Oregon State.

Rebounding Margin The Bears remain second in the nation, averaging 14.4 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Liberty is back into the national lead with a 15.4 per game average.

The Bears have outrebounded their opponents by double digits in 18 games this season and have six games with a 20-or-more rebound differential including besting CSU Bakersfield by 36 (60-24) and the 63-26 (37) differential against Oregon in the first meeting of the season.

The Bears outrebounded their opponents in every game this season except the Stanford game. Last season, Cal had 23 games in which they outrebounded their opponents and finished the year averaging 5.6 more rebounds per game.

Career Points Layshia Clarendon became the 22nd member of the California Golden Bear 1,000 Point Club on her first field goal attempt of the game at Stanford. Clarendon hit a jumper 20 seconds into the game to give her 1,001 career points. By the end of the contest, she had scored 17 points to give her 1,016 in her career, and move her up to No. 21 on the career scoring list. With her 27 points at Oregon, Clarendon moved up two places on the list and now ranks 15th with 1,118 points.

She needs 19 points to move into sole possession of 14th place by passing Leigh Gregory (1,136 points, 2002-05).

Clarendon's achievement will be recognized in a short ceremony prior to Thursday night's game against Utah.

Racking Up Points The Bears have moved up to third in the Pac-12 in scoring, averaging 71.3 points per game, trailing only the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks, which ranks them No. 35 among all 336 NCAA Division I teams. Last season, the Bears averaged 62.9 points per game. The last time the Bears averaged more than 70 points per game in a season was the 1995-96 campaign, a year in which opponents averaged 81.3 ppg. The Bears, who have scored at least 70 points in five of their last seven games, scored just 68 points at Colorado and 63 at Utah earlier this season.

Play 4Kay Cal's home game on Saturday, Feb. 25 against Colorado will be the annual "Pink Game". All fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. If you don't have pink, be one of the first 2,000 fans to come to the game and you will receive a free pink t-shirt, courtesy of Bank of the West.

Anyone who does already own pink, wears it, and shows it to the ticket office can purchase a $3 general admission ticket for the game.

The Bears have played in three "Pink Games" on the road so far this season, going 3-0 with wins over Arizona State, Oregon, and Oregon State.

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. Kay Yow, the fund's namesake, was the head coach of the NC State Wolfpack women's basketball team from 1975 to 2009. A member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, she had more than 700 career wins. She also coached the U.S. women's basketball team to an Olympic gold medal in 1988 despite having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She passed away on January 24, 2009, after facing her third bout with the disease.

Shooting Shirt Auction On Saturday, Feb. 25, the team will be holding their annual Shooting Shirt Auction as part of the "Pink Game". The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The players will be wearing personally designed shooting shirts in pregame warm-ups. Fans will then be able to bid on the shirts in an auction held during the game. Winning bidders will be presented with their shirts after the game. This will be the fourth year that the team has held a shooting shirt auction, but the first time it has been held in conjunction with the "Pink Game".

Opening bids for the shirts are just $25. The auction will go through the end of halftime. After the game, the players will present winning bidders with their new shirts down on the court.

Cal Kids Day This Saturday's game against Colorado is another Cal Kids Day. All kids 12th grade and under can purchase $1 general admission tickets for all Pac-12 weekend home games this season. Fans are encouraged to come early for the pre-game FunZone on the plaza that includes inflatables, poster making, and face painting. The fun zone will be open from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m.

Growth posters, featuring a life-size picture of junior center Talia Caldwell, will be given to the first 500 youth in attendance.

The Bears' final game of the regular season, the Battle of the Bay against the Stanford Cardinal, on Sunday, March 4 will also be a Cal Kids Day with $1 youth general admission and the pregame FunZone. The game tips at 6 p.m. and will air nationally on Fox Sports Net and locally on CSN Bay Area.

Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament The Pac-12 Tournament will in some ways have a similar structure to last years' tourney. The first round games will be played at the Galen Center on March 7-8 with the semifinals and finals being played at the Staples Center on March 9-10. The games at Galen will be streamed live on YouTube. The games at Staples will be aired on FSN/CSN Bay Area. The difference is that with a 12-team conference, instead of the top-two seeds getting byes to the semifinals, this season the top four seeds will get a first-round bye, automatically advancing to the quarterfinals (March 8 at Galen). Ticket packages are available now on