Feb. 28, 2009
Sunday, Mar. 1, 12:00 p.m.: No. 4 Cal at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif. (Radio: KALX 90.7-FM, TV: FSN)
LOS ANGELES - The California Golden Bears (23-3, 14-1 Pac-10) look to stay in a tie for the Pac-10 Conference lead as they head to Southern California, taking on the UCLA Bruins (16-10, 7-8 Pac-10) Sunday, Mar. 1 at Pauley Pavilion. Sunday's game has been picked up as a televised game by Fox Sports Net with Jim Watson and Ann Myers Drysdale calling the action for the 12 p.m. game.
The Bears are coming off a week where they outscored their opponents by 62 points (144-82), outrebounded the Oregon schools by 29 (80-51) while shooting 52.5 percent from the field, including making 10 of 21 three-point attempts. In their last three games, the Bears are shooting 54.3 percent (19-of-35) from three point range and have now outrebounded their opponents 115-79 (+36).
After becoming the all-time leading rebounder at Cal last week, all eyes will once again be watching senior forward Ashley Walker this week as she works towards becoming just the second player in Cal history and the 11th in Pac-10 history to score 2,000 career points. Walker enters Sunday's game at 1,989, leaving her 11 points shy of the benchmark. Senior center Devanei Hampton is also nearing a milestone. Hampton looks to become the eighth player in Cal history and the 40th in Pac-10 history to score 1,500 career points. Hampton will take the court Sunday with 1,491, 9 points shy of the mark.
Cal will try for its 24th win of the season Sunday at UCLA. They have topped the 24-game mark only twice before, the 1983-84 season (24-8) and last year when they won a record 27 games (27-7). The Bears are in even more rarefied territory when it comes to conference victories. The 14 conference wins so far this season is second only to the 15 earned by the Bears in last season's campaign when they went 15-3.
The Bears, helped by losses by No. 3 Auburn and No. 5 Baylor, moved up two spots in this week's poll, moving back into the top-five. The Bears have spent five weeks in the top-five in the AP poll and six weeks in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll this season. The Bears had not cracked the top-five in any national poll prior to the 2008-09 season.
PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ashley Walker earned the Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the third time this season and the eighth time in her career this week. Former Stanford player Candice Wiggins (2005-08), a nine-time honoree, is the only player in Pac-10 history to earn the honor more times than Walker.
** The Bears have five games this season in which their opponent has scored 40 or fewer points.
** The Bears are 19-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points
** Cal is now ranked fifth among all NCAA teams in scoring defense, allowing 52.9 points per game. Green Bay leads the nation with it 50.1 ppg average.
** Cal is allowing a mere 51.6 points in Pac-10 games.
** Cal is second in the Pac-10 and 22nd in the nation in field goal percentage defense, with opponents shooting just 35.9 percent against the Bears.
** Before the USC game, Cal holding opponents to an average of 44 points per game in the month of February. Even after the USC game, where the Bears held them to almost ten fewer points than their season average, Cal is still only allowing 50.2 ppg this month.
OFFENSE The Bears have also risen in the national rankings in scoring margin, entering the top-10 in that stat for the first time this season with a 16.3 average. The Bears 44.9 team field-goal percentage ranks No. 18 among all Division I schools.
PAC-10/NATIONAL LEADERS Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 20.0 ppg paces the conference and ranks her 16th among all DI players. Alysha Clark of Middle Tennessee leads the nation, averaging 26.3. Walker was the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top-100 in scoring average this week. Walker is third in the Pac-10 and 17th in the country in field-goal shooting percentage (56.1 percent).
THREE-POINTERS Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson was a perfect 4-for-4 last week in three point attempts. In her last three games, Gray-Lawson made eight straight three point attempts spanning three games. She missed her last two long range attempts against USC, giving her an 80.0 percent accuracy (8-for-10) from long range in her last three games. She now ranks third in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting with a 42.9. She ranks second in Pac-10 games, connecting on 47.2 percent (25-of-53)
Junior guard Natasha Vital's ranks second in the conference in overall games at 44.3 percent and is sixth in Pac-10 games with a 40.0.
The Bears had one of their best long range shooting performances of the season Friday at USC, hitting nine of 14 three point attempts (64.3 percent), but struggled from closer in. In the first half of the USC game, the Bears went six-for-nine from long range but were just 2-for-17 on their two pointers. They rebounded in the second half, going 8-for-18 from inside the arc.
MILESTONES Cal's starting five should soon have the distinction of having one member score her 2000th career point (Walker), another her 1500th career point (Hampton), one who has already scored her 1000th career point (Gray-Lawson, Nov. 29) and two who scored their 500th career points (Vital, Nov. 11 and Grief, Nov. 27) all in the same season.
CAREER FREE THROWS Ashley Walker became Cal's all-time leader in made free throws in the USC game. Her 10-for-12 performance from the line gave her 483 in her career, the most ever by a Bear player. It was the second time this season Walker made 10 or more free throws in a game.
DEV Devanei Hampton is averaging 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game since returning to the starting lineup. In Hampton's first nine games of the season, she averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds. Hampton is sixth in the conference in rebounding in the Pac-10 games this season. Walker is third, averaging 8.2 rebounds per Pac-10 game.
MORE NOTES ON WALKER
** Walker has scored in double digits in each of the last ten games. There have only been three times this year Walker has been held to single-digit point totals
** Walker has led the team in scoring in nine of the last 10 games and has been the team's leading rebounder in the last seven games
** Walker has hit 10 or more field goals in a game six times this season.
** Walker has shot 50.0 percent or better in all but six games this season. She has a career-best 54.9 field-goal percentage this season, third-best in the Pac-10 and ranking her No. 17 in the country.
** Walker has 35 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points 16 times and has done so nine times in Pac-10 play.
** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game and shot 61.4 percent from the floor.
** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in January, a month in which she averaged 18.1 points per game with 7.4 rebounds per game.
** 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 being 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.
** Walker's name was added for the ninth and tenth times in the Cal record book in cumulative career stat categories when she became No. 10 in career steals with 159 and No. 10 in games played. She now ranks No. 5 in career games played with 121.
** Walker has been named a John R. Wooden Award midseason top-20 candidate.
HS ALL-AMERICANS The incoming Bears of 2009-10 dominated the two high school All-American teams that were announced in the past few weeks with five of their recruits named to at least one of the two high school All-American teams. Forward DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) had the honor of making both teams. Playing in the WBCA All-American game April 4 in St. Louis will be guard Layshia Clarendon (San Bernadino, Calif.) and Stallworth. Players selected for the McDonald's All-American game on April 1 in Miami include forward Gennifer Brandon (Sylmar, Calif.), guard Eliza Pierre (Pasadena, Calif.), guard Tierra Rogers (San Francisco, Calif.) and Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.). Both All-American games are a national stage for the top female basketball prospects in the nation.
PAC-10 ALL-TIME SCORING: WALKER No. 12 Walker is currently in 12th place on the Pac-10 all-time scoring list. She needs 8 points to pass Arizona's Cherie Nelson (1987-89, 1,996 points) and move up to No. 11 on the list. Walker needs 74 points to move into the top-10 on the all-time scoring list. Walker became the 39th player to score 1,500 points as a member of the Pac-10 on Nov. 16 of this season.
PAC-10 ALL-TIME REBOUNDERS: NO. 6 Ashley Walker Walker entered the season ranked No. 21 on the Pac-10 career rebounding list. She moved up to No. 6 on the career list, passing Ebony Hoffman of USC (2001-04, 1,003) and Amber Hall of Washington (1996-99, 1,003). The No. 5 ranked player on the list, Val Whiting of Stanford (1989-93), has 1,134 career rebounds.
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 moved into tenth place on the career scoring list in the Oregon game and also moved into a tie for second place in career made three-point baskets with Liz Rizzo (1994-97). Both made 135 treys in her career.
SCOUTING UCLA The UCLA Bruins are also trying to erase the memory of a stunning upset, theirs coming at the hands of Washington in Seattle last Friday in a game without their leading scorer, Doreena Campbell.
The Bruins have only won two of their last eight games, but have won four of their last six games at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins own a 12-3 record on the home court this season, the most wins a UCLA team has posted in Pauley Pavilion since the 1998-99 team went 13-3.
The Bruins are a strong rebounding team, ranked second in the Pac-10 and No. 8 in the nation in rebound margin, outrebounding their opponents by an average of 9.7 per game.
In the first meeting of the season between the two teams, the Bears trailed, 23-22, at the half, but opened up the second period on a 7-0 run. Ashley Walker's 17 points fueled the comeback with the Bears outscoring the Bruins 42-25 after halftime. Devanei Hampton had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Bears outrebounded the Bruins 36-26 in the game.
UCLA leads the all-time series 39-14 with Cal winning the last four meetings including a dramatic 73-70 overtime victory at Pauley Pavilion last season.
STARTERS IN LAST GAME Ht.,Yr. 08-09 GP/GS PPG RPG 11 F Atonye Nyingifa 5-11, Fr. 24 GP/9 GS 6.0 ppg 4.3 rpg 31 C Moniquee Alexander 6-6, Jr. 24 GP/7 GS 5.0 ppg 5.0 rpg 2 G Tierra Henderson 5-10, Sr. 18 GP/16 GS 6.4 ppg 4.2 rpg 10 G Allison Taka 5-8, Jr. 24 GP/1 GS 2.8 ppg 0.3 rpg 13 G Erica Tukiainen 6-0, Jr. 24 GP/23 GS 8.5 ppg 3.4 rpg