Nov. 30, 2010
Saturday, Dec. 4: California at No. 8 Texas A&M, 11:00 a.m. CT TV: Fox Sports Net/Comcast Bay Area; Radio: 960 AM KKGN
The California Golden Bears (5-1) head to College Station, Texas seeking their first road win of the 2010-11 season as they take on the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies (5-0). This is also the first time Cal will be facing a ranked opponent this season. The game will be the national game on Fox Sports Net, carried locally in the Bay Area on Comcast Bay Area tipping off at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. Brenda VanLengen and Debbie Antonelli will be calling the game for Fox.
The Bears are coming off a 3-0 week where they won their games by a 22.6 average margin of victory. The Bears dominated the boards, outrebounding Yale by 30, Fullerton by 20, and Portland State by 21.
The Bears have been impressive on the offensive end, making nearly 50 percent of their shots (87-180, 48.3 percent) during that three-game span. The Bears shot 61.5 percent in the second half of the Yale game, scoring 40 points in the final 20 minutes. Cal made 10 of their first 13 shots to start the game against Portland State.
Sophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth made 27 baskets in 40 attempts (67.5 percent) last week. She began the game against Portland State by going 6-for-6. She scored 20 first-half points, finishing the game with 25 and eventually connecting on 12 of 14 from the field.
Even with Stallworth's dominant performance in the Colliers International Classic championship game, the MVP trophy went to sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon. Clarendon, who has become the primary point guard, scored 35 points in the two-game tournament with 11 assists, including seven dishes in the Portland State game, with 14 rebounds.
Sophomore center Talia Caldwell, who has started the last three games, had back-to-back games putting up career high points, scoring 17 against both Yale and Fullerton. Caldwell also posted a career-high 16 rebounds against Yale.
Freshman guard Lindsay Sherbert had her second double-digit rebounding game of the season, pulling in 10 boards against Portland State. Sherbert combined the 10 rebounds with 15 points for the first double double of her Cal career.
Win Streak The Bears snapped an eight game win streak with the loss at New Mexico. Cal had started the season 2-0, adding to the six games they won to bring in the WNIT title in the 2009-10 postseason. The longest win streak in Cal history was a 12-gamer during the 2008-09 season (12/29/08-- 2/12/09). Cal has won their last eight home games. They are looking for their first road win of the season, having dropped their only game so far away from Haas to New Mexico, 63-54, in double overtime.
Double Doubles DeNesha Stallworth had four double doubles in the first four games of the season. It was the first time in her Cal career she has posted double doubles in back-to-back games let alone four in a row. Stallworth's streak was halted against Fullerton when she only had 8 rebounds to go with 19 points. The last time a Cal player had a double double in four straight games was Devanei Hampton in the 2007-08 season (2/9, 2/14/ 2/16, 2/23). Hampton twice had strings of four consecutive double doubles but never had five in a row. Ashley Walker, in her freshman season of 2005-06, had six consecutive games with double doubles (1/1, 1/5, 1/7, 1/14, 1/19, 1/22). Neither player's streak began a season. Talia Caldwell had her first double double of the season against Yale where she had a career-high 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Lindsay Sherbert had the first double double of her collegiate career against Portland State, bringing in 10 rebounds with 15 points scored.
Long Range The Bears hit 11 three-pointers in the Saint Mary's game. It was the most three-pointers made by a Cal team in a game since the Bears connected for 12 on Dec. 9, 2009 against San Jose State. Cal only had two games last season, the San Jose State game and a home contest against Arizona, in which they reached double-digits in made-threes. The Bears shot 50.0 percent from long range against Portland State, going 5-for-10. Lindsay Sherbert and Mikayla Lyles each had two makes in the game. This followed the team's 1-for-10 performance against Cal State Fullerton. Layshia Clarendon is shooting .500 from three point range, making six of her 12 attempts this season.
Defense Opponents are shooting just 31.5 percent against the Bears this season, the lowest opponent field goal percentage among Pac-10 teams. Cal also leads the Pac-10 in three-point defense with opponents making just 21.3 percent of their long range shots. Cal is also leading the Pac-10 in rebounding margin, averaging 12.8 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Cal has only been outrebounded once (at New Mexico) this season. They had a +30 rebounding margin against Yale. The Bears pulled in 64 rebounds in that game.
Steals Eliza Pierre had eight steals against New Mexico and six against Portland State. Pierre already has 27 steals this season and is averaging 4.5 steals per game. Last year, Pierre amassed 71 steals, averaging 1.9 per game.
Assists The Bears dished 21 assists against Saint Mary's and again against Portland State, the most by the team since the Dec. 6, 2008 game against Princeton in which the Bears had 23. Cal's single-game season-high last year was 20 in the WNIT opener against Davis.
Career Highs Eliza Pierre rewrote her personal record book against New Mexico. She logged a new career high in points (12), steals (8), and minutes (43). She had a career-high 10 rebounds in the Saint Mary's game. Layshia Clarendon, who had a career-high 9 assists against Saint Mary's, was another of several players to have a career-high minutes (45) in the double OT contest. Talia Caldwell set new personal standards for points (17) and rebounds (16) against Yale.
Polls Cal is back in the top-25 discussion. In the ESPN/ USA Today Coaches poll, Cal has ranked as high as the equivalent of 29th (week 1). In the AP poll, the Bears got even closer, ranking just two slots off the poll at the equivalent of 27th in Week 1. Cal received votes in both preseason polls, ranking the equivalent of 31st in the AP and 37th in the Coaches. Cal was last officially ranked in the Week 4 polls last season, coming in at 22 in both polls.
Injury Updates Senior Rama N'diaye is back after sitting out all of the 2009-10 season after having surgery on the meniscus in her knee. N'diaye also missed a large portion of the 2008-09 season after suffering an ACL injury. N'diaye sat out the Yale game with an illness. She then missed both games of the Colliers Tournament with inflammation in her knee. Her status is day-to-day. Freshman Avigiel Cohen will be out for the season after undergoing a second ACL surgery in late September. Sophomore Gennifer Brandon has been nursing a stress reaction in her shin all summer. She has been increasing her activity levels and hopes to be back on the court in game action soon, but no definite return date has been determined.
Texas A&M This is Cal's first-ever trip to College Station. The two teams have faced one another twice, both times in Berkeley. Cal won the first-ever meeting between the two teams, 84-55 January 4, 1982. The Bears lost a close game last season in the championship of the Colliers International Classic, falling 68-61. This game will be the first time this season that call will be taking on a ranked team. The last time Cal won against a ranked team was the Bears' 99-73 victory over No. 24/22 Virginia in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament (3/23/09). Their last victory over a top-10 ranked team was earlier that season when the Bears upended No. 9/7 Stanford, 57-54, at Haas Pavilion (1/18/09). Cal was 0-6 last season against ranked teams with three of those losses coming against Stanford and all of them coming against teams ranked in the top-10.