Nov. 19, 2009
The No. 11/17 California Golden Bears (2-0) close out their three-game season-opening home stand on Sunday, Nov. 22. Cal will play the first of their televised games of the season, hosting the No. 9/8 Baylor Bears at 2:00 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. The game will be carried nationally live on FSN and will be shown locally on CSN Bay Area. Jim Watson will call the play-by-play with Mary Murphy providing commentary.
Cal got off to a hot start to the 2009-10 season. After scoring an unofficial 101 points in their exhibition game against Vanguard, the Bears made the triple-digit score official in their 100-43 rout of Idaho State in the season opener. It was the first time since Jan. 6, 1996 that Cal had scored 100 or more points and was only the 15th time that had happened in the history of the program. The even 100 points also set a Haas Pavilion record for the most points scored by a team playing in the building, erasing the previous record of 99 points Cal scored against Washington State during the 2007-08 season.
Things cooled down for the Bears in their 68-65 victory Tuesday night against Saint Mary's. The Bears got off 42 shots in the first half, 11 more than Saint Mary's, but an ice cold 26.2 shooting percentage had the Bears trailing 36-33 at the break. The Bears, faced with the challenge of coming back, stepped up in the second half, hitting 50 percent of their field goal attempts. Cal took 74 total shots in the game, six more than they did in their 100-point game against Idaho State.
Cal scored four straight points to open the second half, taking a one-point lead, but Saint Mary's took back the scoring advantage eight seconds later and did not trail again until a freethrow by Alexis Gray-Lawson with 2:20 remaining again gave Cal a one-point advantage. Saint Mary's tied the game at the freethrow line with 1:53 left on the clock. A pair of freshman put Cal back up. Guard Layshia Clarendon become Cal's hero when she fought to get open and took a dish from DeNesha Stallworth (who had just battled for an offensive rebound), hitting a jumper with 48 seconds remaining to put Cal up by two. Alexis Gray-Lawson stole the ball back on the ensuing possession. Clarendon hit a freethrow with seven seconds remaining to give the game its 68-65 final.
Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson continues her march toward 1500 points. Gray-Lawson (1365) has the second-most points among Pac-10 active players, trailing only Jayne Appel of Stanford (1665). Gray-Lawson is averaging 12.5 points per game this season, Senior guard Natasha Vital leads the Bears with a 16.5 ppg average.
No. 1 RECRUITING CLASS SHOWDOWN In Nov. 2008, Cal head coach Joanne Boyle inked the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, according to Blue Star Basketball Report. According to ESPN Hoop Gurlz, Baylor's Kim Mulkey signed the nation's top class with the Cal Bears ranking third. Both teams were ranked among the best recruiting class by all of the major scouting and recruiting sites last season, setting up the Sunday, Nov. 22 showdown between these two heralded groups of now-freshmen.
GRAY-LAWSON PRESEASON FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICAN Senior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson earned her first First Team All-American honor of her career, being named one of the top five women's basketball players coming into the 2009-10 season, according to Sports Illustrated's Preseason All-American honors. Gray-Lawson, a fifth-year senior at Cal, was a post season AP All-American honorable mention last season and also earned an honorable mention from the AP for preseason All-American, but this is the first time she has earned a national First Team All-American nod. She was also a unanimous selection for All-Pac-10 preseason honors. The other members of Sports Illustrated's Preseason All-American first team includes Monica Wright (Virginia), Jayne Appel (Stanford), Maya Moore (Connecticut) and Tina Charles (Connecticut).
REBOUNDS Cal has three players averaging eight or more rebounds per game. Talia Caldwell and Gennifer Brandon are each averaging 8.5 boards per game with DeNesha Stallowrth grabbing eight in each of her first two contests.
FREETHROWS Alexis Gray-Lawson had hit 14 consecutive freethrows (a streak that dated back to the Pac-10 Tournament game against USC) before missing her fourth attempt in the Idaho State game. Three players, DeNesha Stallworth, Lauren Greif, and Layshia Clarendon, were perfect from the stripe in the game. Freshman guard Eliza Pierre scored nine of her 11 points at the freethrow line her Cal debut. Natasha Vital was the long Bear perfect against Saint Mary's, hitting all five of her attempts.
THREES Alexis Gray-Lawson enters the game ranked No. 2 on the Cal career three-point list. She has 153 treys in her career, six behind Jennifer Self who made 159 from 1989-1992.
POINTS Alexis Gray-Lawson is currently ranked No. 10 on the Cal career scoring list with 1,355 points. She is 135 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. She went 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 386 career assists, 18 fewer than Meme Fanner (1986-89, 404) who ranks third on the career list. Alexis Gray-Lawson is 21 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, four 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 38-7 in regular season games while playing non-Pac-10 opponents. Two of those seven losses have come against Baylor. Cal fell 69-56 in Waco two years ago and also bowed 75-58 in a neutral-site match up in 2005's Caribbean Classic. 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.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE The Golden Bears home court was the setting for a 33-game non-conference win streak. From the beginning of the 2003-04 season through Dec. 6, 2008, Cal did not lose a non-conference game played at Haas Pavilion. 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. Last season was also the second time in two years that Haas was filled literally to the rafters with a crowd of over 10,000 fans. The 2008-09 Battle of the Bay game against Stanford had 10,126 fans on hand to witness the Bears' 57-54 victory over the Cardinal. In 2007-08, the game at Cal between the two nationally-ranked women's basketball powers was attended by a Haas Pavilion record 10,525 fans.
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.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS--A Look at Baylor The Baylor Bears (1-1) came into the season ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll. The are currently ranked at No. 8 in the AP Poll and at No. 9 in the USA Today/ ESPN Coaches' Poll.
Baylor freshman Brittney Griner, a 6-8 forward with the ability to dunk, has been the most buzzed about player in women's college basketball as the season begins. Griner scored 15 points in Baylor's 74-65 season-opening loss at No. 9 Tennessee, nine of which came from the freethrow line. Guard Melissa Jones led the team with 21 points in the game, including going a perfect 10-for-10 from the freethrow line. Forward Morghan Medlock had a team-high 13 rebounds.
Baylor posted a 29-6 overall record last season and finished No. 5 in the final AP poll. The Lady Bears finished second in the Big 12 Conference, won the Big 12 Championship and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by eventual national runner-up Louisville. Baylor returns one starter off last season's squad and boasts eight returnees and five newcomers on this year's roster.
The Baylor Bears were scheduled to play at Haas Pavilion last season on Dec. 22, 2008, but the game was cancelled when a rare December snow storm stranded the team in Oregon.
Baylor and Cal have faced one another three times with Cal looking for its first-ever regular-season victory over Baylor. Cal's only victory was an 82-72 win in the first round of the WNIT, March 26, 1981. Baylor has won the last two match-ups, 69-56 Nov. 25, 2007 in Waco and Nov. 26, 2005 on a neutral court at the Caribbean Classic. This is the first time the two teams have played at Haas Pavilion.
Baylor is the first of two Big-12 teams that Cal should face this season. Texas A&M will be playing in the Collier's International Classic at Haas Pavilion Dec. 5-6 and could take on Cal in the second round of the tournament. Last season, Cal was 1-1 against Big-12 schools including a 68-54 victory over Texas Tech in the Paradise Jam Tournament and the 86-75 loss at the hands of Oklahoma.