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No. 15/22 Cal Spending Thanksgiving Break in Ohio
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/24/2009

Nov. 24, 2009

BERKELEY -

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The No. 15/22 California Golden Bears (2-1) fly to Columbus, Ohio to play in the Buckeye Classic Tournament, hosted by The Ohio State University. After flying on Thanksgiving Day, the Bears will open the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 28 with a game at 12:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. Pacific Time) against the Southern University Jaguars (3-0) out of Baton Rogue, La. On Sunday, the Bears will play either the Jaguars of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) or the No. 3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Game time and opponent will be decided by the outcomes of Saturday's contests.

If Cal faces Ohio State on Sunday, the 2 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Pacific Time) game will be the second time in eight days that the Bears will be facing an opponent in the top-10. It will also be the second time in eight days that a Cal game will be broadcast on TV. A Cal-Ohio State match up will be carried live on the Big Ten Network, a channel that is available through some satellite television packages. Consult your channel directory or CLICK HERE for more information about locating the Big Ten Network.

Cal comes into the tournament trying to shake off last week's 69-49 loss to No. 9/8 Baylor. Freshman forward DeNesha Stallworth is averaging 14.0 points per game, having scored in double-figures each of the first three games of her career. Stallworth also leads the team in shooting percentage, making 57.1 percent of her field goal attempts.

While the rest of the team has struggled from beyond the arc, Stallworth has connected on two of her three long-range attempts. Only two players on the team have more three-pointers than Stallworth. Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson leads the team with four treys. Gray-Lawson, who is shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range this season, needs five more treys to become the Cal career-leader in that stat category.

Freshman forward Gennifer Brandon is the defensive leader with a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. She has pulled in at least eight boards in each game this season. Gray-Lawson had a career-high 11 rebounds against Baylor.

Freshman guard Eliza Pierre is the only Cal player without a turnover this season. Pierre has played 45 minutes this season (15.0 per game), has four assists and five steals to go with the zero turnovers.

TOURNEY TIME Cal will play in back-to-back tournaments the next two weeks, heading to Columbus, Ohio for the Buckeye Classic and then returning home for the Colliers International Classic Dec. 5-6. In both tournaments, Cal will have the opportunity to take on a top-25 team in the tournament finale, with the possibility of facing No. 3 Ohio State this week and Texas A&M next week. Last season, Cal went 3-0 at the Paradise Jam Tournament over Thanksgiving break, winning the Paradise Division championship. They went 1-1 in the 2008 Colliers International Classic, falling to nationally-ranked TCU in the championship game.

TV TIME If Cal wins their opening game against Southern and Ohio State wins their Saturday match-up against IUPUI, the two teams will play on Sunday in the 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time slot. The Ohio State game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network, a channel that many satellite television subscribers will be able to watch here in the Bay Area. This would give the Bears at least eight televised games this season on three different networks. This season, the Bears are 0-1 on TV, with last Sunday's Baylor game being shown nationally on Fox Sports Net. Tip time is listed as 2 p.m., but the game will officially tip 20 minutes following the end of the 12 p.m. game.

REBOUNDS Gennifer Brandon now has sole possession of the team rebounding lead. Brandon is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game. She has been a key contributor for second-chance points with more O-boards (13) than defensive ones (12). Alexis Gray-Lawson also has more on the offensive end (11) than the defensive side (6). Eight of Gray-Lawson's offensive rebounds came against Baylor.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE Alexis Gray-Lawson posted the first double-double of the season by a Bear with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the Baylor game. The 11 rebounds was a career-high for her. This was Gray-Lawson's third career double-double, but only the second time in her career she has had a game with double-digits in the rebounding column. Her first career double-double came Dec. 6, 2008 when she had 10 assists and 12 points against Princeton.

STEALS Natasha Vital is currently among the Pac-10 leaders in steals, averaging 3.3 per game. Vital had a career-high six in the season opener against Idaho State. She currently has 10 steals. Vital had 26 steals the entire 2008-09 season, averaging 0.76 per game.

THREES Alexis Gray-Lawson enters the tournament ranked No. 2 on the Cal career three-point list. She has 154 treys in her career, five behind Jennifer Self who made 159 from 1989-1992.

POINTS Alexis Gray-Lawson is currently ranked No. 9 on the Cal career scoring list with 1,367 points. She is 123 points shy of becoming the eighth player in Cal history to score 1,500 career points. Former teammates Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton each reached the 1,500 point mark last season. Walker became the first Cal player to score 1,500 points since 1992, eventually going on to pass the 2,000 career point mark later in the season.

ASSISTS Natasha Vital moved into fourth place on the Cal career assist list, logging four assists against Idaho State. Vital has 387 career assists, 17 fewer than Meme Fanner (1986-89, 404) who ranks third on the career list. Alexis Gray-Lawson is 19 assists away from moving into the career top-10 list.

100 WINS Head Coach Joanne Boyle enters the week with a Cal career record of 97-35, three victories shy of her 100th Cal win. Gooch Foster, with 279 victories, is the only Cal coach in the history of the program with more than 100 victories.

NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS Since 2005-06, Cal has gone 38-8 in regular season games while playing non-Pac-10 opponents. Cal went 9-2 last year in the regular season against non-conference foes, with their two losses coming at the hands of No. 5 Oklahoma and TCU, which was at the time ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN poll. The 2008-09 season saw one of the biggest non-conference wins in the history of the program when the Bears knocked off the then-ranked No. 2 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 66-52 in front of 4,458 fans. Cal is 2-1 this season against non-conference opponents with their only loss coming at the hands of No. 9/8 Baylor.

LIVE STREAMING AUDIO The California Golden Bear's Women's Basketball team will be streaming live action for their entire 2009-10 season as part of the Cal ISP Sports Network online through CalBears.com. The Cal ISP Sports Network will be providing the audio broadcasts for all games will be available free on the internet for fans to listen via the CalBears.com website. Bay Area broadcasting veteran Dave Lewis has been hired to call the play-by-play for the game broadcasts. U.C. Berkeley's student radio station, KALX-FM, which has carried women's basketball games for the past 27 years, will continue to broadcast most home games and select road games this season.

BACK-TO-BACK TOP-10 CLASSES According to the Blue Star Basketball report, Cal has the distinction of being the only team to sign back-to-back top-ten ranked recruiting classes. The incoming freshmen of 2009-10 were ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country by at least one major recruiting site. This year's class of 2010-11 was a consensus top-10 class, ranking No. 7 by Blue Star and No. 9 by ESPN Hoop Gurlz. Afure Jemerigbe, a 6-0 guard who plays at Saint Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., is ranked No. 15 overall and is the No. 2 shooting guard by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and the No. 15 overall recruit by Blue Star. Lindsay Sherbert, a 6-1 guard from Temecula, Calif. at Great Oak High School is ranked No. 29 overall and at No. 6 at her position by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and at No. 10 overall by Blue Star. Guard Mikayla Lyles, a 5-8 Bay Area guard who plays at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., rounds out the class.

THE CAPTAINS Lauren Greif, Natasha Vital, and Tierra Rogers will serve as Cal's captains this season.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS

A Look at Southern The Southern Jaguars (3-0) are off to their best start under 10th year head coach Sandy Pugh. The team from Baton Rouge, La. plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The Jaguars finished 16-14 last season, good for second place in the SWAC, and earned an invitation to the WNIT where they fell 72-44 to New Mexico in the first round.

Leading the three-time SWAC champions offensively is junior Hannah Kador. The 5'6 shooting guard averaged 7.7 points and 42 steals last year. Defensively the Jaguars will look to junior Jamie Floyd and senior Kimberly Griffin. Floyd totaled 177 rebounds and averaged 6.9 points per game. Griffin ended the 2008-2009 season second on the team in rebounds with 170. Both players finished the year ranked in the top 10 in four different categories in the conference.

Returning for her fourth year with the program will be red-shirt junior Freda Allen. The 07-08 Southwestern Athletic Conference freshman of the year and a 2009-10 preseason first team All-SWAC member has been rehabbing and training hoping for only her second complete season in the Blue and Gold. Allen injured her knee during preseason conditions during her freshman year and took a medical redshirt. The next season Allen saw 26 games of action and pulled in a whooping 245 rebounds. Last season after 13 contests the Lake Providence, Louisiana native injured her right knee and required season ending surgery. Going into her fourth year on "the bluff" Freda says she's ready for a complete season.

This is the first-ever meeting between Southern and Cal.

A Look at IUPUI The IUPUI Jaguars (0-3) are looking for their first win of the season as they face Cornell on Tuesday, Nov. 24 on the road and then Ohio State in the opener of the tournament. The Summit League squad from Indianapolis, Ind. finished their season with a 16-15 mark. They return four letter winners from last year's squad and have nine newcomers on the roster. Guards Jessica Huffman and Janna Eichelberger are the only two returning starters in their lineup.

This would be the first-ever meeting between IUPUI and Cal.

A look at Ohio State The Ohio State Buckeyes play six home games to start the season prior to hosting the Buckeye Classic. They are 5-0 and ranked No. 3 in both polls going into Wednesday's game against UNC Greensboro. Ohio State won the 2009 Preseason WNIT and set a tournament scoring record over the four games with 367 points. The Buckeyes are averaging 91.0 ppg, by far the most in the Jim Foster era through five games. Ohio State is shooting better than 50 percent as a team and have four players shooting 50 percent or better (min. 3 attempts per game), led by Jantel Lavender's 59.3 percent clip. Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 71 career games - the longest active streak in Division I. Lavender and teammate Samatha Prahalis were the co-MVP's of the Preseason WNIT tournament.

Ohio State has won five consecutive Big Ten titles. They return four starters from last year's 29-6 squad that won the Big Ten Championship and Tournament before advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16. Among OSU's returnees are last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year Samantha Prahalis, a Preseason All-Conference selection, and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Shavelle Little.

Lavender and Cal's Alexis Gray-Lawson played together on the United States squad at the 2009 World University Games in Belgrade.

The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 2-0, with a 85-72 victory at Haas Dec. 20,1997 and a 73-48 victory in Columbus Nov. 30, 1998.


Cal Bears Women's Basketball


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