March 1, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - California sophomore forward/center Devanei Hampton has been named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year, and the Golden Bears' Joanne Boyle has been chosen the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches as announced by Commissioner Tom Hansen today.
Cal also garnered a collection of other postseason honors. Hampton and her dynamic sophomore post partner, Ashley Walker, both were named to the 10-member All-Pac-10 team, signifying only the second time in school history that the Bears have had two first-team All-Pac-10 honorees. Guard Natasha Vital was picked to the five-player Pac-10 All-Freshman squad, while guard Lauren Greif earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman recognition.
Hampton, from Oakland, Calif., became the first Golden Bear in program history to receive Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. Named a Street & Smith's preseason high honorable mention All-America selection and a Naismith Trophy preseason watch list member, Hampton has come on strong in conference play, ranking second in league games with an 18.9 scoring average, while ranking first with an 8.9 rebounds per game average.
A two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week honoree in 2006-07, Hampton owns eight double-doubles this season, including five in her last seven games and has recorded double-figures in 21 of her last 22 games. In California's final home game vs. UCLA Feb. 24, Hampton helped engineer a 36-point swing from a 17-point first-half deficit for the Golden Bears, to a 19-point victory (88-69). She finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, with 15 of those points and nine rebounds coming in the second half to help Cal outscore UCLA, 60-30, in the final 20 minutes. Her effort against the Bruins propelled her to her second conference Player of the Week accolade this season and the third of her career.
In all games in 2006-07, Hampton averaged 16.4 ppg (6th Pac-10) and 7.9 rpg (3rd Pac-10). She registered nine games with at least 20 points, including six outings with at least 25 points (twice tallied a career-high 27 points). Hampton tallied 22 points and a season-best 14 rebounds in the Bears' 72-57 triumph over No. 8 Stanford Feb. 4, snapping the Cardinal's 17-game winning streak and 50-game home Pac-10 winning stretch.
A two-time All-Pac-10 honoree, Hampton became the 10th freshman ever to earn first-team Pac-10 accolades last season, having paced Cal in scoring (15.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg). Over the summer, she was named to the USA Under- 20 National team.
Boyle, a first-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year recipient and Cal's third such award all-time, has guided the Bears to one of their best seasons in program history, despite a bench depleted by injuries. She boasts a 40-19 (.678) record in two seasons at the helm of the Cal program, and a 107-48 (.690) mark in her fifth year as a head coach. Boyle's 67.8 winning percentage is the best by a women's basketball coach in Cal history. The Philadelphia, Pa., native's 100th-career win came against Oregon (65-56) Jan. 20.
Boyle's Bears have equaled their best record in school history through 29 games, compiling a 22-7 overall record and have been ranked in the Associated Press and USA Today-ESPN coaches' polls in 16-of-17 weeks in 2006-07. Cal earned a school-record No. 15 national ranking by AP for two consecutive weeks earlier this season. In addition, Cal has reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1991-92 team posted a 20-9 record.
Cal, which is currently ranked as high as No. 24 in the coaches' poll, has matched the 1991-92 Bears for the best Pac-10 record in school history at 12-6. This year's team earned sole possession of third place in the conference to slightly better the 1991-92 squad, which tied for third, for the previous program-best Pac-10 showing. Boyle, who now has four 20-plus win seasons to her credit in five seasons as a head coach, began her career at Richmond where she guided the Spiders to a 67-29 (.698) record in three years and their first NCAA Tournament selection in 14 years in 2005. Last year, Boyle led Cal to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 13 seasons.
Walker earned her first All-Pac-10 honor as just a sophomore, having dominated the post for Cal all season. She leads the team and ranks third in the conference in scoring at 17.5 ppg. Walker also paces the Pac-10 in rebounding (8.5 rpg), is third in field goal percentage (.541) and fourth in blocked shots (1.41 bpg). An All-Freshman selection last season, Walker is tied for the Pac-10 lead with 10 double-doubles in 2006-07 and has recorded double-figure points in 26-of-29 games this year, including a career-high 32 points in an 86-79 overtime home win over USC Feb. 22.
A forward/center from Modesto, Calif., Walker was the only three-time Pac-10 Player of the Week selection this season, joining Jennifer Bennett (four in 1986-87) as the only Bears who have garnered the award at least three times in one campaign.
Trisha Stafford and Milica Vukadinovic were the only other first-team All-Pac-10 tandems in Cal history in 1991-92.
Vital, one of only 12 Cal freshmen to be named to the All-Freshman team, is averaging over 39 minutes at the point guard position in all league games, having stepped in for last year's Freshman of the Year, Alexis Gray-Lawson, who went down with a torn ACL Dec. 10. In conference games only, Vital is second in the league in assists (5.44) and first in minutes played (39.39 mpg). As a starter over the final 20 contests, Vital is averaging 8.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 5.3 apg. The Stockton, Calif., native recorded double-doubles against USC (15 points, 10 assists) and UCLA (18 points, 10 assists) to help the Bears close out the regular season on a three-game winning streak. The 10 assists established a career best.
Greif, from Portland, Ore., has started all 29 games for Cal and has contributed 8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 2.7 apg. She is coming off a career-high 21 points in the Bears' win over UCLA last weekend. Greif is Cal's top three-point shooting threat at 36.2 percent (6th Pac-10) and tops the team in steals with 44. Her 47 three-pointers this season rank fifth all-time in school history, while her 130 attempts stand sixth.
Cal, the No. 3 seed, opens the Pac-10 Tournament against sixth-seeded Oregon Saturday, March 3, at 11 a.m. at HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The complete conference honors are listed below.
ALL-PAC-10 TEAM Name School Pos Yr Ht Hometown Devanei Hampton** California F/C So 6-3 Oakland, Calif. Cameo Hicks** Washington G Sr 5-10 Tracy, Calif. Aubree Johnson Arizona State F Sr 6-2 Post Falls, Idaho Shay Murphy** USC G Sr 5-11 Van Nuys, Calif. Casey Nash Oregon State G Sr 6-1 Stayton, Ore. Noelle Quinn*** UCLA G Sr 6-0 Los Angeles, Calif. Brooke Smith*** Stanford F/C Sr 6-3 San Anselmo, Calif. Ashley Walker California F/C So 6-1 Modesto, Calif. Emily Westerberg*** ASU F Sr 6-0 Greenacres, Wash. Candice Wiggins*** Stanford G Jr 5-11 San Diego, Calif. **two-time All-Pac-10 honoree; ***three-time All-Pac-10 honoreeHONORABLE MENTION (Received votes): Jayne Appel (STAN, Fr., F/C); Eleanor Haring (ORE, Sr., F); Joy Hollingsworth (ARIZ, Sr., G); Briann January (ASU, So., G); Lindsey Pluimer (UCLA, Jr., F).
PAC-10 ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM Name School Pos Ht Hometown Jayne Appel Stanford F/C 6-4 Pleasant Hill, Calif. (Pac-10 Freshman of the Year) JJ Hones Stanford G 5-10 Beaverton, Ore. Judie Lomax Oregon State F 5-11 Potomac, Md. Dymond Simon Arizona State G 5-5 Phoenix, Ariz. Natasha Vital California G 5-8 Stockton, Calif.HONORABLE MENTION (Received votes): Lauren Greif (CAL, G); Taylor Lilley (ORE, G); Morghan Medlock (USC, G/F); Marisa Stotler (WSU, F).