Feb. 23, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After clinching the No. 3 seed in next week's Pac-10 Tournament with an 86-79 come-from-behind overtime win over USC Thursday, California (21-7, 11-6, 3rd) wraps up the regular season at home against UCLA (13-16, 7-10, 7th) Saturday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. Prior to the game, which can be seen live on Comcast SportsNet, the Bears will honor their senior players and managers. Guards Keanna Levy and Julia Numair and forward/center Emmelie Geraedts will be suiting up for the last time at Haas Pavilion tomorrow. Tomorrow is also the final Kids' Day of the season with activities before, during and after the game geared towards children.
The Bears will either face Oregon or UCLA in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament March 3 at 11 a.m. If Cal beats the Bruins, the Bears meet the Ducks in the No. 3 seed vs. No. 6-seed game regardless. Cal is off to its second-best start in school history through 28 games and the Bears' 21 wins are the most the program has earned since 1986-87 (21-10).
Cal rallied from an eight-point deficit with under five minutes to play in regulation to beat USC Feb. 22 in the Bears' school-record fourth overtime contest of the season. Sophomore forward Ashley Walker tallied her 10th double-double of the season, pouring in a career-high 32 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore center Devanei Hampton, who is averaging 22.5 ppg and 10.4 rpg, over the last eight games contributed 25 points and eight boards to help Cal win its fourth straight game over USC.
Walker and Hampton are third (17.5 ppg) and tied for sixth (16.3 ppg), respectively, in the Pac-10 in scoring and first (8.6 rpg) and fifth (7.8 rpg), respectively, in rebounding. However, in Pac-10 games Hampton is second in scoring (18.8 ppg) and first in rebounding (8.6 rpg) in the conference.
Senior guard Levy and freshmen guards Lauren Greif and Natasha Vital round out Cal's starting lineup. The trio has had standout moments at various points in the season. Vital has had the tough job of starting the last 19 games at point guard after sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson - the 2005-06 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year - suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Vital has responded by leading the team in assists (3.9 apg, 7th Pac-10) and contributing 6.7 ppg and 2.8 rpg. In Pac-10 games, Vital is third in the league in assists at 5.18 apg after dishing off a career-high 10 assists to go with 15 points vs. USC. Greif averages 8.1 ppg and 5.6 rpg, and Levy, who had sank two critical three-pointers in the closing minutes of regulation vs. USC, adds 7.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg.