Jan. 3, 2012
Thursday, Jan. 5: Oregon State at California, 7 p.m.
Live Audio/Video Streaming: CalBears.com; Gametracker: CalBears.com
Saturday, Jan. 7: Oregon at California, 2 p.m. Live Audio/Video Streaming: CalBears.com; Gametracker: CalBears.com
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears (9-5, 0-2 Pac-12) return home to Haas Pavilion, looking for their first Pac-12 victory of 2012 as they host the Oregon State Beavers (10-3, 1-1 Pac-12) on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. The Bears will close out the homestand when they take on the Oregon Ducks (9-5, 1-1 Pac-12) on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m.
The Bears come into the new year trying to forget the end of 2011 and the trip to Los Angeles. Two of the Bears players, however, actually played above their averages on the trip. Junior guard Layshia Clarendon averaged 11.5 points per game, which is better than her full-season average of 10.8 ppg. Clarendon hit more than half of Cal's three-pointers, going 3-for-6 from long range. Redshirt sophomore Gennifer Brandon had 24 points (12.0 ppg) and 23 rebounds (11.5 rpg) on the trip. Clarendon and Brandon combined for 47 points of 43.1 of Cal's total offense on the trip.
Freshman forward Reshanda Gray played solid defense, with 16 rebounds (8.0 per game, much higher than her season-average of 5.3 rpg) and two very emphatic blocked shots.
The Bears are looking to avoid starting conference play 0-3 for the second time since the 2003-04 season. Cal began the 2009-10 season 0-3 after falling at Stanford and at the LA schools to start the Pac-10 portion of their schedule. The Bears have not started conference play at 0-4 since they struggled to a 0-6 opening mark at the turn of the century (1999-00). Cal's first win of the millennium was in their seventh conference game, a 72-65 victory at Washington State (1/29/00).
The Bears will try to turn things around hosting a team they have had a great deal of success against in recent years. Cal has won ten straight match-ups against the Beavers and 14 of the last 15 meetings. OSU's last win came in 2005-06 in Berkeley (63-55). Though the Bears have tallied up the W's in the series, leading the Beavers all-time by a 33-28 mark, Oregon State has taken Cal to double overtime twice in the last five seasons. The Beavers are coming off a 61-54 double overtime loss to Washington in Corvallis last week.
Leading Scorer For the first time in her Cal career, junior guard Layshia Clarendon leads the Bears in scoring average. Clarendon overtook the team lead after the UCLA game, passing freshman forward Reshanda Gray, who has led the team in scoring most of the season. Clarendon has scored in double digits six of the last seven games, including scoring 11 points against USC. Clarendon was Cal's second leading scorer last season, but was quickly closing in on the team lead when the season came to an abrupt end during the WNIT Tournament. Clarendon had raised her season average to 13.2 ppg by the end of the season with DeNesha Stallworth's average falling to 13.3.
Leading Rebounder Brandon paces the Bears at 10.8 rebounds per game, moving up to 10th in the nation and remaining at second in the Pac-12. Brandon has logged double digit rebounds in four of her last five games.
Only one Cal player in the last 15 years has ended the season averaging nine or more rebounds per game, all-time rebounding leader Ashley Walker who accomplished the feat with 9.3 rpg in 2007-08. The last time that a player averaged more than 9.5 rebounds per game for an entire season was 1993-94 when Ingrid Dixon averaged a program-record 12.0 per game.
Brandon's offense has been heating up recently as well. Brandon has scored in double digits four of the last five games and raised her season average by 2.3 ppg from the beginning of December (6.3) to now (8.6).
Rebounding The Bears held steady at No. 2 in the country (and first in the Pac-12) in rebounding margin, averaging 17.5 more rebounds per game than their opponents. The Bears have outrebounded their opponent in every game this season. Maryland continues to lead the nation, averaging 20.2 more rebounds per game than its opponents.
The Bears have outrebounded their opponents by double digits in ten games this season, including all of their victories and have four games with a 20-or-more rebound differential including besting CSU Bakersfield by 36 (60-24).
The Bears have three games this season where they have pulled in 60 or more rebounds as a team, including 61 last week against Santa Clara. The Bears had one game last season with more than 60 rebounds, the 64-board performance against Yale, which set the Haas Pavilion record, and tied the program record, for most rebounds in a game.
Low Down on Down Low The Bears have scored at least 40 points in the paint in four of their last five games. Only one game this season, the opener at Rutgers, have the Bears been outscored in the paint. The Bears scored all 24 points in the first half against UCLA in the paint and only hit three jumpers outside the paint in the entire game.
Bench Scoring The Cal bench has scored 427 points this season, which is already more than last year's season-long total (419 points). The non-starters are contributing a average of 30.5 ppg this season with Cal's opponent's non-starters averaging 11.2 points per game. Against Dartmouth, Cal's non-starters scored 39 points in a game in which the Big Green scored a total of 39 points.
Leading Scorers The Bears have had eight different players lead the team in scoring in a game this season. Last season, the Bears had nine different players lead the team in scoring in at least one game, with every one of their active players pacing the squad at least once.
Taking Shots The Bears have taken at least 70 shots in three of their last five games, including both of their Pac-12 contests (74 at UCLA, 71 at USC). The Bears rattled off a season-high 79 shots against Santa Clara. Cal only had three games all of last season when they took 70 or more shots, one of which was the road contest at USC. The Bears took 80 shots in their 2011 home game against Oregon, which tied for most field goal attempts in a game in the last decade.
December Despite the less-than-ideal ending to the month, Cal had their most successful December in the last few years. The Bears won five games in the month for the first time since 2007-08. They outscored opponents by an average of 11.6 points per game and had 19.5 more rebounds per game. Layshia Clarendon (10.4), Gennifer Brandon (10.4) and Reshanda Gray (10.0) all had scoring averages in double figures. Freshman point guard Brittany Boyd boasted a 1.46 assist-to-turnover ratio (41 assists, 28 turnovers). Junior point guard Eliza Pierre's was even more impressive at 1.84 (24 assists, 13 turnovers). Junior center Talia Caldwell averaged 8.0 points and 7.1 rebounds and only committed 10 fouls in the eight games.
Top-10 in Steals Eliza Pierre is three steals away from entering the Cal top-10 in career steals. Pierre comes into the game with 175 steals in her career. Ashley Walker is in tenth place in Cal history with 178 career steals. Pierre's former teammate, Alexis Gray-Lawson is in ninth place with 190 career steals.
Pierre will be the first of the current Bear roster to crack a career top-10 list.
Cal Kids Days This Saturday's game against Oregon is the first Cal Kids Day of the season. 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. There will also be Women's Basketball Puzzles given away to youth 12th grade and under attending the game (while supplies last). The players will also be available for a post game autograph session.
The next Cal Kids Day will be Sunday, Jan. 22 for the 3:330 p.m. game against Washington State. Women's Basketball T-Shirt Replica Jerseys will be given to youth in attendance (while supplies last).
We Assist, You Assist California women's basketball has announced that Team Up For Youth and the Coaching Corps program will be the focus of this season's We Assist, You Assist campaign. Fans are encouraged to pledge money, from pennies to dollars, for each assist tallied by the Bears this season. Coaching Corps is a program that pairs trained volunteer coaches with kids in low-income communities so that all children have the powerful experiences of playing and learning, winning and losing, and through it all, discovering their best selves. Dedicated college students serve as volunteer coaches and role models for kids in after school programs in under served communities. Coaching Corps harnesses the energy and passion of young adults to help kids in low-income communities. The goal is to help kids do better in school, have higher self-esteem, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and create a healthy and active lifestyle that lasts their entire lives.
Donation forms can be downloaded from CalBears.com or picked up at any Bears home game this season.