Nov. 28, 2008
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands -
Thursday, Nov. 27, vs South Florida W 85-55
Friday, Nov. 28, 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (9:30 p.m. AT) vs Texas Tech
Saturday, Nov. 29, 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (9:30 p.m. AT) vs Iowa
All games carried live on KALX 90.7 fm
Golden Bear Notes
The California Golden Bears opened the tournament with a dominant 85-55 victory over the South Florida Bulls. Junior guard Natasha Vital scored a career-high 22 points in 22 minutes, missing just one shot (7-8), including hitting five of her six three-point attempts. Junior guard Lauren Greif posted her first career double with 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Her 15 points also gives her 500 career points, making her the second Bear this season to reach 500 points (Natasha Vital reached 500 in the opener against Albany).
The Bears came into the game averaging 65.3 points per game to South Florida's 98.5. The Bear defense held the Bulls to just over half of their average output (55%) by not giving up the good shots. USF shot just 28.6% in the game (20-70). Cal took advantage of the uptempo game to score nearly 20 points higher than their season average. Cal scored 85 or more points in a game only once last season, their record-setting 99-44 victory over Washington State (setting the new standard for points scored by Cal on the home court).
All-American senior center Devanei Hampton played her first game of the season. Hampton, who returned to practice two weeks ago after off-season surgery, has had a questionable status for the Rutgers game and for the Paradise Jam Tournament. Hampton, who was whistled for two quick fouls, played just ten minutes, but managed to score nine points with six rebounds in that time.
The Bears were also without the services of All-American senior forward Ashley Walker for most of the game due to foul trouble. Walker played just 16 minutes, scoring six points with four rebounds.
Redshirt junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson had nine rebounds for the second straight game, tying her career high. Gray-Lawson scored eight points, inching her ever closer to becoming the 20th player in Cal history with 1,000 career points. She is now 23 points shy of the mark.
The Bears had 21 assists to just 13 turnovers. They outrebounded USF 54-42 with the Bears grabbing 18 offensive boards, with Gray-Lawson and sophomore forward Kelsey Adrian each with four.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING The Bears improved to 2-1 on Thanksgiving Day. They have only played two other times on Thanksgiving, once in 2005 and
TROPICAL LESS THAN PARADISE This is the sixth early season tournaments in a tropical location the Bears have played at in their history. They participated in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii four times (1987, 1993, 1997, 2004), posting a 3-7 overall record. Add in the 1-1 mark at the 2005 Caribbean Classic and the Bears came in 4-8 in tropical locations, improving to 5-8 with the victory over South Florida. This is their first trip to the Virgin Islands.
STARTING THE SEASON STRONG The Bears are 4-0 for the third straight year. The Bears have started the season with a 4-0 or better win streak six times, but have only once gone 5-0 to start a season, in 1981-82.(this corrects a previous version of the release that wrongly stated the 1986-87 team started 8-0) The Bears' 2007-08 opening streak was snapped after going 4-0 with their loss at then-ranked No. 12 Baylor, 69-56.
SO LONG SHOOTING WOES? After starting the season shooting just 16.0 percent from three-point range with the team having two halves (the first half against Albany and the second half against Nevada) when they failed to make a single three-pointer, the Bears went 7-16 (43.8%) from long range against Rutgers and 8-19 (.500) against USF, raising their season mark to .317. The Bears have hit 15 of this season's 19 three pointers in the last two games
COUNTDOWN TO 1000 Alexis Gray-Lawson came into the season with 925 career points. After scoring 44 points in her first three games, she is now just 23 shy of becoming the 20th member of the Cal 1,000-point club. Gray-Lawson needs to average 10.3 points-per-game at the Paradise Jam to reach that milestone over 3,600 miles away from Haas Pavilion. She scored 9 in last night's game.
COUNTDOWN TO 500 Lauren Greif scored the 500th point of her career last night against South Florida,
The Paradise Jam tournament, held in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands "offers men's and women's college basketball teams a chance for excellent early season competition in an exotic island setting," says the tournaments directors. Since 2001, the tournament has been played at the 4,000-seat UVI Sports and Fitness Center. The two-week tournament in November draws more people to the Virgin Islands than any other event except Carnival. The Virgin Islands are in Atlantic Time, which is a four-hour time change from California.
The players and coaches will fly over 3,600 miles to get to the tournament, travelling overnight on Monday and most of the day Tuesday. After an off day on Wednesday (when they will get to experience some of the fun of the tropical location), the team plays the late game each night (9:30 local time) in the tournament. There are four games per day being played at UVI, with the first game tipping at 2 p.m. each afternoon.
The Paradise Jam consists of two separate tournaments. Each is a four-team, three-game round robin event. One is called the "Island Division Tournament" and the other is called the "Reef Division Tournament." Both are Multiple Team Event (MTE) tournaments. An MTE tournament counts as only two games against a team's annual maximum of 29 games, despite playing three games at the tournament. All four teams in the Reef Division Tournament competed in the 2008 Post Season: California and Iowa in the NCAA Tournament and Texas Tech and South Florida in the Post Season NIT.
The No. 6 Baylor Bears, who will play at Haas Pavilion Dec. 22, anchor the "Island Division". Villanova, Wisconsin, and Central Florida round out that division.
The team makes the long trek back to California on Sunday.
PARADISE JAM OPPONENTS
LAST NIGHT'S TEXAS TECH/ IOWA GAME Texas Tech (48) vs. Iowa (56) Iowa's Wendy Ausdemore led Hawkeyes with a double-double (17 pts. and 10 rebounds) to an opening round win against the Lady Raiders. The game stayed close until Iowa went on a 15-1 run near the beginning of the second half. Texas Tech was able to close the gap slightly by the end, but the Raiders' could not overcome shooting only 15 of 60 from the field (25.0 FG%). Ausdemore was the game's leading scorer. The Raiders were led by Kierra Mallard with 14 pts.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH (2007-8 17-16, 4-12 Big 12, 4-1 this season) The Lady Raiders entered the Paradise Jam tournament with a 4-0 record after beating Texas-Arlington, 72-57, last Sunday. On the year, senior Dominic Seals is averaging 15.5 points followed by freshman Jordan Barncastle at 12.0 and junior Tilmila Martin at 10.5. Barncastle is the top rebounder, grabbing 10 boards per outing. Barncastle is shooting a team-high 53.6 percent from the field and junior Maddy Brown is shooting 39.1 percent from the three-point line. Martin is shooting 83.3 percent from the free throw line. Senior Maria Moore has a team-high 12 assists, while Seals and freshman Kierra Mallard are the top shot blockers with four blocks apiece. Martin leads the team in steals with eight. The Lady Raiders are shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 69.7 percent from the charity stripe.
The Raiders got off to a blistering 12-1 start last season, before going on a late season slide, posting their worst-ever Big 12 record (4-12), but still made it to the third round of the WNIT. Texas Tech won the inaugural Paradise Jam tournament in 2000. Texas Tech won the last meeting between the two teams, 76-69, Dec. 1, 2003, in Lubbock, Texas. The series is tied 1-1.
SCOUTING IOWA (2007-08 21-11, 13-5 Big Ten, 3-1 this season) The Hawkeyes returned to the national spotlight last season winning a share of the Big Ten regular season championship, advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament and competing in the NCAA Tournament. Iowa will look to maintain the momentum and level of play from last season and increasing fan enthusiasm.
Iowa won 11 of its final 13 contests, including a Big Ten-season-best eight-straight, to conclude the season. It helped capture a share of the ninth conference title in the program's history. Last year's squad had tremendous leadership, as it was led by five seniors. Although the Black and Gold lose those five players, five new seniors are ready to take charge and lead the 2008-09 Hawkeyes. Iowa picked up wins over Boston University (83-58) and Providence (64-46) last weekend to claim its 18th Hawkeye Challenge title. Senior center Megan Skouby was named tournament MVP, while senior teammates forward Wendy Ausdemore and guard Kristi Smith were recognized on the all-tournament team. Megan Skouby scored 16 of Iowa's 27 first-half points on 6-8 shooting from the field and 4-4 from the foul line, at Kansas. Additionally, the senior scored Iowa's first nine points in the second half. She finished with a game and career-high 33 points (10-17 FG, 13-14 FT).
Cal and Iowa have only played each other once, with Cal winning 89-66 in a game played Dec. 9, 1982 in Tempe, Arizona.