Jan. 4, 2011
Thursday, Jan. 6: Arizona State at California, 7:00 p.m.
TV: none; Radio: 960 AM KKGN; Gametracker: CalBears.com
Saturday, Jan. 8: Arizona at California, 2:00 p.m.
TV: none; Radio: 960 AM KKGN; Gametracker: CalBears.com
The California Golden Bears (8-4, 0-1 Pac-10) close out a three-game homestand by taking on the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-2, 2-0 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 6 and the Arizona Wildcats (11-2, 2-0 Pac-10) on Saturday, Jan. 8.
The Bears are looking for their first Pac-10 win of the season, coming off a 78-45 home loss to the Stanford Cardinal in the Conference opener.
There were a few bright spots in the Stanford game. Senior center Rama N'diaye, who has been hampered by intermittent swelling in her knee all season, played her strongest game of the year. N'diaye played 30 minutes, almost double her previous high this season. She also scored 10 points, tying sophomore center Talia Caldwell for tops on the team. It was her second double digit scoring outing of the season. She also pulled in a season-high 8 rebounds.
N'diaye's 10 points helped the bench put up strong numbers in the game. The non-starters accounted for 40 percent of the scoring for Cal. Also contributing was freshman guard Mikayla Lyles. Lyles scored five points in 16 minutes on the floor.
Caldwell had four offensive rebounds against the Cardinal. Caldwell is averaging 4.4 O-boards per game, tops in the Pac-10. Caldwell is second in overall rebounding, averaging 8.9 boards per game. She will face the Conference's top rebounder on Saturday. Arizona's Ify Ibekwe, who was the 2009-10 Conference rebounding champ, once again leads the Pac with a 10.3 rebound per game average.
The Bears will take on the Arizona schools this week. Cal is 5-3 in the last three years against Arizona State, including a 60-50 victory in last year's Pac-10 tournament that sent the Bears into the semifinals. Of those eight games, three have been decided in the final moments of the game, including last season's 63-61 loss at Haas.
Cal has a better record against Arizona, having won the last nine contests against the Wildcats. Cal's last loss to Arizona was a Jan. 20, 2006 80-76 game at Haas Pavilion. In the past, though, it was the Wildcats who dominated the series. Arizona had a 19-game win streak against Cal from 1996-2005 which was snapped with a 70-61 victory on Feb. 5, 2005 at Haas Pavilion.
THREES Cal has two players ranked in the top-10 in three-point shooting efficiency. Sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon is sixth, making 41.4 percent of her three point shots. Clarendon was shooting 50.0 percent from long range through the first nine games of the season. Freshman guard Lindsay Sherbert is ninth in the Pac-10 with a 36.2 percent efficiency. Sherbert hit her 17th three-pointer of the season against Stanford, tops on the team. Sherbert has mainly treated the home town crowd to her three-point shooting with 12 of those swishing through the rims at Haas Pavilion.
The opposition is shooting just 23.6 percent from three point range against the Bears, the 7th lowest mark in the country.
Crashing the Boards The Bears have outrebounded their opponents in nine of their 12 games this season. Despite being outrebounded by the Cardinal, the Bears are still averaging 9.1 more rebounds per game than their opponents, second-best mark among Pac-10 teams and ranked 21 among all NCAA Division I teams.
The Bear players have had 11 double-digit rebound performances this season. Stallworth leads the team with five. Both she and Talia Caldwell had double digit rebounds at Illinois (Stallworth 10, Caldwell 13).
Steals Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre nabbed seven more steals at the Las Vegas tournament (five against UT Arlington and a pair against Texas Tech). Pierre has had at least two steals in every game this season, including a career-high eight against New Mexico. Pierre is currently averaging 3.7 steals per game, which leads the Pac-10. More impressively, her average ranks third among all NCAA Division I players. Ashley Gale of LaSalle leads the nation at 3.8 per game.
Pierre ended last season with a team-best 71 steals (1.9 per game), just three shy of entering the Cal record book for single-season bests (74 ranks tenth). The single season steal record for Cal is 100 set by Eliza Sokolowska in 1994-95. Pierre currently has 44 steals. Clarendon is second on the team with 21 steals.
Efficiency When DeNesha Stallworth shoots the ball, she is making her shots, most of the time. In fact, Stallworth, helped by her 12-for-14 performance in the Colliers International Classic Championships game, is connecting on 53.5 percent of her tries from the field. The mark is seventh best in the Pac-10 and ranks No. 41 among all NCAA Division I players. Sophomore center Talia Caldwell actually has a better percentage, making 56.6 percent of her shots, but she does not have enough attempts to qualify for the national rankings. She has moved up to third in the Pac-10 rankings.
Double Digit Scoring StreaksSophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth snapped a streak of 13 consecutive games (four to close out last season, nine during this season) in which she scored in double digits. Stallworth, who is averaging a team-best 16.7 points per game, averaged 18.8 points per game over that streak. She only twice came close to breaking the streak (scoring 11 at Illinois State in the WNIT Tourney and this season with 10 points at New Mexico). Stallworth has begun a new streak, scoring 21 at Illinois.
Layshia Clarendon also had a streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures snapped in Vegas. Clarendon started the season putting up double digit points in each of her first eight games. Clarendon is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game.
Last season, the longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures was eight by Alexis Gray-Lawson. Stallworth had a seven game streak last season to start her Cal career.
Non-Conference The Bears ended the pre-Pac-10 schedule with an 8-3 record. The Bears have won at least eight games against non-conference regular-season opponents during the regular season in each of Joanne Boyle's years as head coach except last season when the squad went 6-5 to start the year. Boyle's Bears have gone 50-12 against non-Conference opponents during the regular season. This is the eighth consecutive season that Cal will finish the non-conference regular season portion of their schedule with a winning record.
200 wins Cal head coach Joanne Boyle comes into the game with a career record of 194-81 (.709), including a 127-52 (.705) mark at Cal. She needs six more victories to reach the 200th of her head coaching career. Boyle spent three seasons as the head coach for the Richmond Spiders (67-29) prior to her arrival in Berkeley.
Cal Coaches Corner Each Monday (beginning Dec. 13), head coach Joanne Boyle and one of the players will be featured weekly on the Cal Coaches Corner radio program. The show airs on KNEW Radio (910 AM) every Monday from 6-7 p.m. The program is broadcast live from the Paragon at the Claremont Hotel, Club and Spa in Berkeley, so fans are encouraged to come out and enjoy the show live. In addition to Coach Boyle and a women's basketball player, men's head coach Mike Montgomery will also be a weekly guest on the show, which is hosted by Todd McKim. The show allows fans to email questions for the coaches and players.