Jan. 3, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
After equaling its best start in the last 14 seasons, California (11-3, 3-1 Pac-10, T2nd) travels to Oregon (9-3, 0-2, T8th) Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. and faces Oregon State (6-4, 0-2, T8th) Saturday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m. The game with the Beavers will be carried live on Fox Sports Net. Over the next three weeks, Cal can be seen on television once each week (Stanford and Arizona on Comcast and FSN, respectively).
Cal defeated UCLA (65-58) and USC (73-68) over the weekend to post the Bears first sweep of those schools since the team accomplished that feat in Los Angeles in 2000-01. The last time Cal, which is receiving three votes in this week's AP poll and one in the coaches' poll, swept UCLA and USC in Berkeley was in 1992-93.
At 11-3, Cal has equaled the 1992-93 Bears for the best start in program history since the 1983-84 team had a 12-2 mark through 14 games. The 11 wins equals the Bears' win total of last season (11-18). First-year Cal coach Joanne Boyle is no stranger to 11-3 starts, as her first two teams at Richmond (2002-03, 2003-04) opened with that record.
In 2005-06, Cal's top four scorers are local freshmen. Center Devanei Hampton (Oakland) paces Cal in scoring at 15.1 ppg, which is ninth in the Pac-10 and No. 1 among all Pac-10 freshmen. Point guard Alexis Gray-Lawson (Oakland) is second on the team at 13.6 ppg, followed by forward/center Ashley Walker (Modesto, 12.8 ppg) and guard Jené Morris (San Francisco, 7.4 ppg). Those four plus senior Reneé Wright (Antelope, Calif., 7.3 ppg) comprise Cal's current starting lineup.
Hampton was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week for Dec. 26-Jan. 1 after averaging 20.5 ppg and 12.0 rpg in the UCLA and USC wins. She had 20 points and a career-high 18 boards against the Bruins.
Redshirt junior guard Sarah Pool, sophomore forward Krista Foster and freshman forward Shantrell Sneed provide sparks off the Bears bench. Cal continues to lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 54.4 ppg, while Oregon is second at 54.7 ppg. The Bears are 10-1 when holding opponents to 58 or fewer points this season. Walker paces the conference in blocked shots at 2.0 per game, and Morris is second in steals at 3.0 per outing.