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No. 11/9 California Battles for the Bay
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/13/2009

Jan. 13, 2009

BERKELEY -

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Battle of the Bay preview in Sports Illustrated

Sunday, Jan. 18, 3:00 p.m.: No. 9/7 Stanford at No. 11/9 Cal Berkeley, Calif. (Radio: KALX 90.7 fm, TV: Sunday, FSN)

SKIP THE LINES Fans planning on coming to the "Battle of the Bay" are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. Lines for day-of-game ticket purchases are expected to be very long. To avoid the hassle, tickets can be purchased online at CalBears.com, over the phone at (800) GO-BEARS, or in person at the Cal Athletic Ticket Office, located at 2223 Fulton Street on the first floor, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All youth 12th grade and under can purchase special $1 tickets for the game as it is a Cal Kids Day.

Golden Bear Notes

For the third time in Cal history, the California Golden Bears have started the season with a 4-0 mark in Pac-10 play. Last season was the only time since joining the Pac-10 that the Bears have begun Conference play with a 5-0 or better mark. Overall, the Bears have started conference play 4-0 or better eight times, with their best starts coming in 1981-82 when they went 8-0 to begin their NorCal Conference play as well as last season's 8-0 Pac-10 start. The Bears bring a five-game winning streak to the court tonight, the second longest winning streak of the season. The Bears won seven straight games to start the season.

This is the first of two scheduled meetings of the 2008-09 season between Stanford and Cal. The two teams will next face each other on Valentines Day in Palo Alto. The two teams have played each other 67 times in a rivalry that dates back to 1974, the first official season of Cal women's basketball. Before 1974, the two teams played many times, beginning with April 4, 1896, the first-ever women's intercollegiate game. Stanford won, 2 to 1 with 700 women in attendance.

The Cal-Stanford game was a league rivalry until 1982-83 when Cal went with most of the NorCal conference schools into the NorPac conference while Stanford opted to break from the former NorCal teams and join the WCAA. In 1986-87, both teams became part of the Pac-10, and the Conference rivalry has been strong ever since. Despite being in different conferences for four years, the two teams still played each other as non-conference games. The 2008-09 season is the 36th consecutive year that the Bears and Cardinal will face each other.

This game is fourth time these two rivals will face each other while both ranked in the top-10. All three meetings last season had both of the teams ranked in the top-ten in both polls. This season, Cal remains in the top-ten in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll at No. 9, and at No. 11, just outside the top-10, in the AP poll. Stanford is No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

This is the first time the two teams will face each other while still unbeaten in conference play (not counting the two times they have faced one another to start the conference portion of their schedules). Last season, Cal was 8-0 in the Pac-10 when they faced Stanford, but the Cardinal was 6-2. Cal and Stanford are the only two undefeated teams remaining in the Pac-10.

Stanford has won the last three meetings between the two and holds a 51-16 series lead. Cal's last victory over Stanford was the thrilling 72-57 victory at Maples Pavilion Feb. 4, 2007. It snapped a string of 14 straight losses by Cal in their head-to-head meetings.

LEADING THE PAC-10 Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 21.6 ppg paces the conference and ranks her ninth among all DI players. Dawn Evans of James Madison leads the nation at 24.5 ppg. Walker is the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top-100 in scoring average this week. Walker is fourth in the Pac-10 and 15th in the country in field goal shooting percentage (57.9 percent). Junior guard Natasha Vital's impressive 48.9 percent three-point shooting efficiency has her leading the Pac-10. She has hit 23 treys in 47 attempts this season. Natasha Vital's 3-for-3 performance from three-point against Arizona State moved her back to the top of the Pac-10 leader board in three-point efficiency after briefly falling to second in the Pac-10. Vital has four games in which she has hit three or more treys in a contest. She was 2-for-5 against Washington State and 1-for-2 against Washington. Vital is shooting 41.9 percent (13-of-31) in Pac-10 games this season.

As a freshman, Vital shot 25.4 percent from three-point range, improving to 34.4 percent last season before jumping to her current 48.9 percent mark. The best single-season three-point efficiency for a Cal player is 52.4 percent by Kristin Iwanaga (2004-05) who went 43-for-82. Right now, Vital's mark would rank as the second best in Cal history.

DEFENSE There are only four teams in all of NCAA Division I women's basketball allowing fewer points by their opponents than Cal. Cal is holding opponents to an average of 51.9 points per game, leading the Pac-10. Kansas State leads the nation with a 48.7 average. Cal has kept opponents scores below 40 points twice this season, the first in the opener when they only allowed Albany to score 39 points, and again this last weekend when Washington only managed 34. The 34 points by Washington tied the fewest points ever allowed by a Cal team in a Pac-10 game. The nine points that Washington scored in the first half was the fewest points scored in a half in the history of their program and the 34 was the fewest they have scored in a Pac-10 game.

The Bears are 13-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points. They have held their opponents to under 50 points in four of the last five games.

The Bears three-point defense held Washington St./Washington to a combined 3-for-40 (7.5 percent) shooting from long range last week.

REBOUNDING LEADER Ashley Walker might paces the team by averaging 8.2 rebounds per game, but junior guard Lauren Greif has been the one most consistently crashing the boards recently. Greif is averaging a team-leading 8.8 rebounds per game against Pac-10 opponents. Prior to Thursday's games, Greif is second in the conference in rebounding in Pac-10 games. Walker is third.

THE ROOKIE Freshman guard Casey Morris is averaging 7.1 points per game for the Bears. The pressure of Pac-10 play hasn't phased the newcomer. Morris is averaging 7.0 in the Bears four conference games and has gone 5-for-9 from three-point range against Pac-10 defenses. Morris, who is averaging just over 19 minutes a game coming off the bench for Cal, has the second-highest shooting percentage among Cal players with significant minutes, making 48.0 percent of her shots. The 5 foot, 9 inch guard also is second on the team in blocked shots, with five. Ashley Walker leads the squad with 15 blocks, six of those coming since the start of Pac-10 play.

DEV Senior forward Devanei Hampton had her third double-digit scoring effort of the season when she netted 10 against Washington. Since returning to the starting lineup, Hampton is averaging 8.0 points per game and 7.0 rebounds. She is still looking for her first double-double of the season. She flirted with the feat in the Arizona game when she had nine points and nine rebounds.

MORE NOTES ON WALKER

**Walker has just two games this season when she has not scored in double digits.

**Walker has hit 10 or more field goals in two of her last four games and has accomplished that four times this season.

**Walker has shot 50.0 or better in all but three games this season. She has a career-best 57.9 field goal percentage this season, fourth-best in the Pac-10.

**Walker has 29 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points ten times and has done so three times already in Pac-10 play.

**Walker has hit 11-of-12 free throw attempts in Pac-10 games this season (.917).

**Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game, shooting 61.4% from the floor.

**Walker has started every game since her freshman year and has scored in every game since her freshman year. The closest she ever came to ebing shut put was in the Pac-10 finals last season against Stanford when she scored her first, and only, basket with 6:20 remaining in the game.

PAC-10 ALL-TIME SCORING: WALKER 3 POINTS FROM TOP-20 Ashley Walker's name will also be written into the Pac-10 history books. Walker needs 3 points to make it into the Pac-10's top-20 all-time scoring list. Walker became the 39th player to score 1,500 points as a member of the Pac-10. She currently ranks No. 21 on the all-time scoring list with 1.794 points. She needs 4 points to pass UCLA's Nikki Blue (2003-06, 1797) and take sole possession of 20th place (3 points to tie, 4 to be ranked No. 20 solo).

CAL'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST: NO. 2 Ashley Walker Ashley Walker moved past Jennifer Bennett (1984-87, 1,766 points) and into second place on the all-time scoring list in the Washington State game. Walker's spin move on a basket coming with precisely 15 minutes remaining in the game. 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 entered the season ranked seventh on the Cal all-time scoring leaders list.

PAC-10 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERS: NO. 10 Ashley Walker Walker passed another milestone in the Washington State game. Not only did her ten rebounds give her career double-double no. 38, it also moved her into the top-10 in the Pac-10's history in rebounding. Walker's 937 career rebounds inched her past Maylana Martin of UCLA (1997-00, 935) to rank tenth in career rebounds for Pac-10 women's basketball players. Walker entered the season ranked No. 21. There have been eight players in Pac-10 history to reach the 1,000 rebound mark. There has only been one player in Cal history, Colleen Galloway (1978-81, 1029), to have over 1,000 rebounds. Walker needs 53 rebounds to reach the 1,000 mark and 83 to pass Galloway as Cal's all-time leading rebounder.

COUNTDOWN TO 2,000?? Ashley Walker is six points shy of 1,800 career points. She needs 206 points to become the second player in the history of Cal and the 11th player in Pac-10 history to score 2,000 career points. Walker is averaging over 20 points a game. There are 14 regular season games remaining in addition to any Pac-10 and further post-season, giving Walker a legitimate shot at the milestone.

CAREER ASSISTS Natasha Vital moved into the top-10 in career assists with her four dishes against SJSU, passing Sherrise Smith (1996-99, 292) to officially enter the Bear record book. Vital tallied career assist No. 300 against Saint Mary's on a feed to Devanei Hampton in the paint with four minutes left in the first half. Vital moved up to ninth in the Washington game. She is 23 assists shy of eighth place in the record book.

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 127 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 1,379 career points, which is 121 points shy of joining Walker at 1500 career points. Hampton just moved past Kesha Martin (1989-93, 1,368 points) and moving into eighth place on the career scoring list.

SCOUTING STANFORD (13-3, 4-0 Pac-10)

In 2007-08, Stanford finished 35-4 overall, claimed its eighth consecutive Pac-10 regular-season title, its fifth Pac-10 Tournament title, and made the seventh Final Four appearance in program history. The Cardinal reached the NCAA Tournament for the 21st year in a row, finishing the season as national runner-up. Eleven players, including 2008 All-Pac-10 selection Jayne Appel and 2008 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Kayla Pedersen, return this season along with four highly-decorated newcomers to help the Cardinal "run it back" to the Final Four, to be held this season in St. Louis, Mo. They began the season ranked No. 2 in both polls. Their three losses this season have all come on the road against ranked opponents, losing at Baylor, at Duke, and at Tennessee in overtime.

Stanford was ranked in the national top 50 in 11 statistical categories through Jan. 8. The Cardinal figures that sat in the top 50 are: assists per game (18.4 - second), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.28 - third), rebound margin (+11.5 - eighth), points per game (78.1 - 10th), fewest turnovers per game (14.3 - 12th), scoring margin (+21.5 - 12th), field-goal percentage (45.4 - 16th), blocked shots per game (5.4 - 21st), three-pointers per game (7.1 - 23rd), field-goal percentage defense (35.0 - 29th) and scoring defense (56.5 - 49th). Individually, Jayne Appel is in the national top 50 of three categories: field-goal percentage (59.2 - 14th), rebounds per game (9.9 - 25th) and blocked shots per game (2.1 - 45th). Jeanette Pohlen is 25th in the nation with 2.6 three-pointers per game and 36th with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Stanford leads the all-time series 51-16. The numbers skew even more favorably for Stanford in their Pac-10 record. Cal has only beaten Stanford in a Pac-10 game five times, with Stanford owning a 43-5 advantage.

The first-ever meeting between the two was January 30, 1974 at Stanford with Stanford winning the game 31-28. Stanford won the first-ever meeting as Pac-10 foes, 77-59.


Cal Bears Women's Basketball


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