Feb. 4, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California (14-8, 6-6, 6th) looks to stop its first two-game losing streak of the season when the Golden Bears host Oregon (13-8, 4-7, T7th) Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. A win today will guarantee Cal its first winning regular-season winning record since 1992-93 and avenge a 70-41 loss to the Ducks in Eugene Jan. 5.
In 1992-93, Cal posted its last winning record at 19-10 and earned its last postseason berth, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That year, the Bears were 15-7 through 22 games and 7-5 through 12 Pac-10 contests and then went 15-8 (8-5).
After opening the season at 9-0 at home, Cal dropped its second straight home game to Oregon State Feb. 2, 63-55. The Bears were coming off a split in Los Angeles last weekend. Cal held off No. 23 USC, 72-67, Jan. 27 for its first sweep of the Women of Troy since 1989-90. The victory also marked the Bears' second over a ranked team in nine days. Cal almost secured its first season sweep of both USC and UCLA but lost to the Bruins, 90-87, in overtime Jan. 29.
Prior to the Oregon State game, Cal's offense had been surging over the previous six games, averaging 74.5 ppg during that stretch and improving to 66.9 ppg overall. After the Beavers' game, Cal is seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring at 66.4 ppg. Meanwhile, the Bears, who once owned the No. 1 defense in the conference, have dropped to third (60.6 ppg).
The four freshman starters continue to lead Cal in scoring, led by center Devanei Hampton at 15.8 ppg (7th Pac-10). Guard Alexis Gray-Lawson (8th Pac-10) is second at 15.0 ppg. Forward/center Ashley Walker is third at 13.2 ppg and paces the Bears in rebounding at 8.0 rpg (2nd Pac-10) after posting a Pac-10 best seven double-doubles in her last nine games.
Freshman guard Jené Morris is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.0 ppg after contributing double-digit points in six of the last seven contests. Walker continues to pace the conference in blocked shots per game at 1.73 bpg, and Morris is second in steals at 2.55 per game.
Forward Reneé Wright, the Bears' only senior, joins the aforementioned freshmen in the starting lineup. Wright, who had team-high 13 boards at UCLA, averages 7.0 ppg and 6.6 rpg.
First-year head coach Joanne Boyle, who led Richmond to three straight 20-plus win seasons before coming to Berkeley, has been utilizing a seven-person rotation as of late, with the starters logging heavy minutes.
Free throw shooting is a point of emphasis for the Bears, who rank last in the conference at 61.3 percent. Poor free throw shooting was a key factor in recent losses to Arizona and UCLA.