Dec. 13, 2008
Friday, Dec. 12, 8:00 p.m.: No. 9/7 Cal 76, San Jose State 40
Saturday, Dec. 13, 6:00 p.m.: No. 9/7 Cal vs. No. 5/6 Oklahoma (at San Jose State) (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: none) Saturday, Dec. 13, 6:00 p.m.: No. 9/7 Cal vs No. 5/6 Oklahoma at San Jose State (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: none)
The California Golden Bears hung on to a spot in the top 10 in the national rankings after being handed their first loss of the season Sunday, Dec. 7, falling 82-73 to No. 22 TCU. After spending two weeks with a program-best No. 3 ranking, the Bears are ranked No. 9 in this week's Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll. The Bears were ranked No. 9 in the preseason in both polls.
The Bears will take on their third ranked opponent of the season when they face No. 5/6 Oklahoma Saturday in the finale of the Basketball by the Bay tournament at San Jose State. Cal has six wins over ranked opponents since 2005-06 and an overall 6-16 mark over that same span. When facing top 10 teams, the Bears are just 2-9, with this season's victory over Rutgers and the 2006-07 victory over No. 8 Stanford accounting for those two W's.
Saturday night's game is also a match-up of former teammates and former rivals. Cal's junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson and senior forward Devanei Hampton played with Oklahoma senior forwards Ashley and Courtney Paris were teammates on the West Coast Elite club team and rivals at Oakland Tech and Piedmont. Cal senior forward Ashley Walker also played against the Parises in high school and was a teammate of Danielle Robinson on AAU's East Bay Xplosion.
In last night's 76-40 victory over San Jose State, the Bears led from tip to buzzer, their second 30-point victory of the season and their 18th straight victory over SJSU. The final was the largest point differential in a Bears' victory since beating Washington State by 55 points last season (99-44, 12/30/07) and the largest margin of victory over a non-conference opponent since defeating Harvard 96-54 at their home tournament, the Contra Costa Times Classic, in 2006. The Bears, who were holding their opponents to an average of just 49.3 ppg before allowing 82 to TCU, brought their average back down to 52.3. It was the second time this season the Bears defense held an opponent to 40 or fewer points.
The Bears outrebounded SJSU by 25, their biggest rebounding margin of the season. SJSU managed just two offensive boards in the game, both of those coming in the second half.
The Bears' starting lineup shot 45.0 percent from three-point range in the game, with sophomore guard Kelsey Adrian and Alexis Gray-Lawson going 5-for-8. Ashley Walker hit her third three of the season, the fourth of her career.
HOT SHOOTING Ashley Walker went on a tear in the middle of the first half, scoring nine straight points for the Bears in the span of 1:36. Walker went 4-for-5 in the first half and 7-for-11 overall. Walker came into the weekend with a 58.0 percent field goal shooting percentage, leading the Pac-10 and ranks her 16th among all DI players. She improved that by a half-point to 58.5. Oklahoma's Ashley Paris ranks just above Walker at 15th with a 60.2 percentage.
Walker went 2-for-2 from the freethrow line and has now hit ten consecutive freethrows. It was the fifth time this season Walker has been perfect from the line. She is shooting 81.4 percent from the charity stripe this season.
Junior guard Natasha Vital was also perfect from the line, going 2-for-2. She has connected on her last eight consecutive freethrow attempts.
LEADING THE Pac-10 Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 22.6 ppg paces the conference and ranks her No. 6 among all DI players, moving her up three places from last week. Gabriela Marginean of Drexel leads the nation at 27.1 ppg. Walker is the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top 100 in scoring.
Alexis Gray-Lawson took over the conference lead in assist-to-turnover ratio when she had 12 assists to just three turnovers at the Paradise Jam tournament. Gray-Lawson had three assists with zero turnovers against SJSU. She came into the weekend with a 2.92 ratio, 10th best among all DI players, a mark that increased to 3.16 after last night's game. Gray-Lawson has only had one season in which she had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, her injured-shortened sophomore campaign when she had a 1.47 in her nine games.
Natasha Vital had four assists to two turnovers. She raised her season mark to 1.33, ranking her in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in that category.
TEAM LEADER Ashley Walker has led the team in scoring each of the last five games and the team in rebounding each of the last four. Walker has scored in double-digits in eight of the Bear's nine games this season.
CAREER HIGH Kelsey Adrian scored a career-high 15 points last night against SJSU. She was the second starter this season to set a new career-high. Natasha Vital scored a career-high 22 against South Florida. Ashely Walker matched her career high, 32, against Iowa.
FEDERICO Sophomore guard Rachelle Federico blasted her previous career high for minutes played with 21 quality minutes on the court in last night's game. Her previous career high was 11. She had four rebounds, four points, and two assists. Federico has hit a three-point shot in four of her last five games.
WALKER MOVES INTO THIRD PLACE Ashley Walker entered the season with 1,470 career points, 30 points shy of becoming just the seventh player in Cal history to score 1,500 points. She scored her 1500th career point in the first half of the Nevada game. Walker is just the seventh player in Cal history to score at lest 1,500 points. Walker`s 52 points last weekend moved her past Teresa Palmisano (1986-91, 1610 points) to take over fourth place on the all-time career list. She has since moved past Cynthia Cooke (1982-85, 1,641 points) and into third on the all-time points list with 1,673. She needs 93 points to pass Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and move into second place on the all-time scoring list.
GRAY-LAWSON's 1000 POINT MEMBERSHIP Alexis Gray-Lawson became the 20th member of Cal's 1,000 point club on Nov. 29 in the third game of the Paradise Jam Tournament against Iowa, with 1:26 left in the first half on a runner through the lane. Gray-Lawson needs 198 points to move into the top-10 on the career-scoring list.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,500 Senior forward Devanei Hampton comes into the game with 1,329 career points, 171 points shy of joining Walker at 1500 career points. Hampton is also 40 points shy of passing Kesha Martin (1989-93, 1,368 points) and moving into eighth place on the career scoring list.
COLLIER'S INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC
No. 3 California 75, Princeton 53 Ashley Walker shook off a sluggish start to score 21 points, Natasha Vital added 12 points and No. 3 California beat Princeton 75-53 on Saturday in the first round of the Collier's International Classic. Walker, who entered averaging 22.3 points, struggled with her shot early but scored Cal's first three baskets in the second half. The Bears steadily pulled away and took advantage of Princeton's mistake-prone offense to improve on the best start in school history. The Bears didn't start pulling away from the Tigers until midway through the first half. Vital's 3-pointer sparked a 12-2 run to pull Cal ahead 20-10, and Devanei Hampton later sank a pair of free throws to start a 7-0 run. Vital added her second trey of the half with four minutes left to put the Bears ahead by 13, then made her third 3-pointer from just inside the halfcourt line as the buzzer sounded, giving Cal a 39-22 lead at the break.
Vital had four 3-pointers for Cal, including a buzzer-beater from nearly halfcourt in the first half. Alexis Gray-Lawson added 12 points and 10 assists for Cal, posting the first double-double of her career. It was the first time since Dec. 10, 2005, when Sarah Pool scored 14 points with 11 assists, that a Cal player had a double-double with points and assists. Gray-Lawson, who leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio, had just two turnovers to go with the 10 assists.
No. 22 TCU 82, No. 3 California 73 No. 22 Texas Christian handed third-ranked California its first loss of the season with a hard-fought 82-73 victory in the championship game of the Colliers International Classic on Sunday. Ashley Walker had 31 points - one off her career high - and 12 rebounds, reaching the 30-point mark for the third time this season, but it wasn't enough for Cal in this sloppy performance. Natasha Vital added 21 points and seven rebounds for Cal, scoring on a putback with 45.7 seconds to play to pull her team within 76-73. The Golden Bears pressed full court and quickly fouled Shayla Moore, who made both free throws at 38.2 then two more with 22.5 to go.
Cal struggled to get in sync during the first half, having a tough time creating shots on offense against TCU's stingy defense and giving up key baskets on the other end. TCU's game plan was to constantly mix up its defense to keep the Bears off balance.
Cal caught a break when the TCU bench was whistled for a technical foul with 8:30 to play. Walker made both free throws, then Alexis Gray-Lawson hit two more as the Bears took a 62-61 lead. But the Bears couldn't do enough right late.
TOURNAMENT NOTES TCU's victory snapped a streak of five straight championships for Cal in their own December tournament and a string of five straight MVPs. Though this is the first year the tournament has been known as the Colliers International Classic, Cal's December tournament has been an annual tradition since 1978. Cal is now 16-12 in the championship game. The Bears failed to advance to the championship game three times. Cal has had a player named tournament MVP 15 times. Ashley Walker's 31 points was seven shy of the tournament record of 38 scored by Weber State's Cindy Stumpf in 1980. Two players, Alexis Gray-Lawson (12 pts, 10 assists) and TCU's Helen Sverrisdottir (17 points, 10 assists) had double-doubles consisting of points and assists. Ashley Walker (31 points, 12 rebounds) and Helen Sverrisdottir (20 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles consisting of points and rebounds. This was the second straight year the Bears played a nationally-ranked opponent in the championship game. Cal defeated No. 23/18 Vanderbilt 67-59 in the 2007 final. It was the third time in four seasons that an Ivy League school was in the consolation game. Harvard won the consolation in 2006. Columbia fell in the consolation in 2005.
BASKETBALL BY THE BAY
The Bears played in their third tournament in three weeks, the Basketball by the Bay Tournament, hosted by San Jose State, at Walt McPherson Court at the 5,000 seat Event Center in the heart of the SJSU campus in San Jose, Calif. The tournament schedule is:
Friday, December 12
6:00 p.m. - Oklahoma 105, CSU Bakersfield 84
8:00 p.m. - San Jose State 40, California 76
Saturday, December 13
4:00 p.m. - San Jose State vs. CSU Bakersfield
6:00 p.m. - Oklahoma vs. California
SCOUTING No. 5/6 OKLAHOMA (6-2, 0-0 BIG 12) Oklahoma begins the season with high expectations and high rankings, No. 4 in the Preseason AP Poll and No. 7 in the Coaches' Poll. Returning for Oklahoma are 11 players, including four starters and three-time consensus All-American senior forward Courtney Paris. Paris had 24 points and 10 rebounds for her 100th consecutive double-double against Arkansas State last Sunday. Paris' streak is an NCAA record. It began almost exactly three years ago on Dec. 5, 2005. Other players to watch include Courtney Paris' twin sister, senior forward Ashley Paris who has posted double-doubles in her last six games, 2007-08 Big 12 freshman of the year, guard Danielle Robinson, and preseason Big 12 freshman of the year, guard Whitney Hand.
The Sooners only two losses this season are to No. 2 North Carolina, 80-79, in the final of the women's preseason NIT and to No. 1 Connecticut, 106-78, on the Sooners home court.
Cal has won both of their previous games against Oklahoma. The last time the two teams played was Nov. 28, 1987 when Cal won 81-66 at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu.
Projected Starting Lineup Pos No Name HT. Cl. PPG RPG APG Other F 5 Ashley Paris 6-3 Sr. 15.8 10.5 2.0 57.4 FG% C 3 Courtney Paris 6-4 Sr. 14.8 14.0 1.0 2.8 blocks F 21 Amanda Thompson 6-0 Jr. 12.3 6.7 3.2 33.3 3FG% G 13 Danielle Robinson 5-9 So. 14.5 2.7 4.7 1.8 steals G 25 Whitney Hand 6-1 Fr. 9.8 2.3 1.5 87.5 FT%