Nov. 22, 2010
The California Golden Bears (2-1) are back at Haas for three games this week after sustaining their first loss of the season in a 63-54 double overtime game at New Mexico. They will take on the Yale Bulldogs (1-2) on Tuesday and then will host the Colliers International Classic Saturday and Sunday.
All three games this week have ticket promotions. All youth (12th-grade and under) will get free general admission tickets and adults can purchase $3 general admission tickets with donation of a non-perishable food item (food item needs to be turned in at food bins near the ticket booths).
All four teams in the Colliers International Classic will play three games this week. Cal has its Tuesday game against Yale. Also on Tuesday, Portland State (1-1) takes on Lewis & Clark College and Tulane (3-0) travels to LSU. Cal State Fullerton (3-1) plays at San Diego on Wednesday before heading up to the Bay.
DeNesha Stallworth has had a strong start to the season. The sophomore forward is averaging 15.0 points per game, tied for third best among all Pac-10 players. Stallworth is also tied for fourth in rebounding average (10.0). Stallworth, with 10 rebounds in each of her first three games, has had three double doubles to start the season.
Sophomore guard Layshia Clarendon has also gotten off to a hot start. Averaging 14.3 points per game, Clarendon is currently ninth among Pac-10 players in scoring average.
Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre, who averaged 3.0 points per game last season, is averaging 9.7 ppg. Pierre scored double digit points against Rutgers (10) and New Mexico (12 - a career-high). She had double digit rebounds against Saint Mary's (10 - a career high).
Two of Cal's three freshmen guards have already made significant contributions. Lindsay Sherbert started the first three games, averaging 9.3 points. Sherbert pulled in 14 rebounds against New Mexico, ten of them coming in the first half. Afure Jemerigbe, who came off the bench in the first three games, had nine points in each of her first two appearances as a Bear. The third freshman, Mikayla Lyles, is averaging 14.5 minutes per game in the two that she has played in. She scored six points in her debut against Saint Mary's.
Win Streak The Bears snapped an eight game win streak with the loss at New Mexico. Cal had started the season 2-0, adding to the six games they won to bring in the WNIT title in the 2009-10 postseason. The longest win streak in Cal history was a 12-gamer during the 2008-09 season (12/29/08-- 2/12/09).
Double Doubles DeNesha Stallworth has three double doubles in the first three games of the season. It was the first time in her Cal career she has posted double doubles in back-to-back games. The last time a Cal player had a double double in three straight games was Devanei Hampton in the 2007-08 season who posted double digit points and double digit rebounds in four consecutive games this season (2/9, 2/14/ 2/16, 2/23). Hampton twice had strings of four consecutive double doubles but never had five in a row. Ashley Walker, in her freshman season of 2005-06, had six consecutive games with double doubles (1/1, 1/5, 1/7, 1/14, 1/19, 1/22).
Long Range The Bears hit 11 three-pointers in the Saint Mary's game. It was the most three-pointers made by a Cal team in a game since the Bears connected for 12 on Dec. 9, 2009 against San Jose State. Cal only had two games last season, the San Jose State game and a home contest against Arizona, in which they reached double-digits in made-threes. Cal is taking, on average, 20.0 shots from beyond the arc per game. Last season, the Bears averaged 15.1 three-point attempts per game with Alexis Gray-Lawson accounting for over a third of those (5.1 per game).
Defense Opponents are shooting just 33.0 percent against the Bears this season, the lowest opponent field goal percentage among Pac-10 teams. Cal also leads the Pac-10 in three-point defense with opponents making just 23.8 percent of their long range shots.
Steals Eliza Pierre had eight steals against New Mexico, bringing her season total to 14. She is one of just four Pac-10 players to amass double digits in steals in the young season. Pierre also currently leads the Pac-10 with her 4.67 steals-per-game average.
AssistsThe Bears dished 21 assists against Saint Mary's, the most by the team since the Dec. 6, 2008 game against Princeton in which the Bears had 23. Cal's single-game season-high last year was 20 in the WNIT opener against Davis.
Career Highs Eliza Pierre rewrote her personal record book against New Mexico. She logged a new career high in points (12), steals (8), and minutes (43). She had a career-high 10 rebounds in the Saint Mary's game. Layshia Clarendon, who had a career-high 9 assists against Saint Mary's, was another of several players to have a career-high minutes (45) in the double OT contest.
Polls Cal is back in the top-25 discussion. The Bears are bubbling under in both polls. In the ESPN/ USA Today Coaches poll, Cal has ranked as high as the equivalent of 29th (week 1). In the AP poll, the Bears got even closer, ranking just two slots off the poll at the equivalent of 27th in Week 1. Cal received votes in both preseason polls, ranking the equivalent of 31st in the AP and 37th in the Coaches. Cal was last officially ranked in the Week 4 polls last season, coming in at 22 in both polls.
Injury Updates Freshman Avigiel Cohen will be out for the season after undergoing a second ACL surgery in late September. Senior Rama N'diaye is back after sitting out all of the 2009-10 season after having surgery on the meniscus in her knee. N'diaye also missed a large portion of the 2008-09 season after suffering an ACL injury. Sophomore Gennifer Brandon has been nursing a stress reaction in her shin all summer. She has been increasing her activity levels and hopes to be back on the court in game action soon, but no definite return date has been determined.
Back-to-Back-to-Back Top Recruiting Classes Three highly touted high school seniors - wing Erika Johnson, forward Reshanda Gray and point guard Brittany Boyd - will join the Golden Bears roster as freshman for the 2011-12. All three players are considered among the top 40 players in the country, according to the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings. Their addition gives the Bears three consecutive recruiting classes rated among the best 15 nationally; the 2009 incoming group, which comprises Cal's sophomore class, was ranked No. 1 by the BlueStar Basketball Report, while the current freshman class was rated 7th by Blue Star. This Cal class is rated ninth best in the country by BlueStar, It was also tabbed No. 7 by HoopGurlz in their final rankings.
Johnson, ranked as the country's No. 21 recruit by HoopGurlz, is also considered the No. 3 wing in the class. She averaged just over 13 ppg last season when she guided her Holy Names Academy team to the Washington Class 3A title game. Holy Names fell to Cleveland High School, 47-44, despite 13 points and 12 rebounds from Johnson, the 2010 Metro League Player of the Year and a first-team all-state choice.
Gray is rated one spot behind Johnson on the HoopGurlz national list at No. 22. The No. 8 forward in the country, Gray was chosen the Los Angeles City Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles City-Section Player of the Year by a coaches' panel and league MVP after leading Washington Prep to a 22-12 record and a Marine League championship. She contributed 19.3 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 2.3 spg and 1.0 rpg during her junior campaign.
Boyd, the No. 8 point guard and No. 38 overall prospect by HoopGurlz, is a local product out of Berkeley HS. She averaged 17.8 ppg and 6.7 apg as a junior, leading the Yellowjackets to the North Coast Section title. In addition, Boyd also participated in tryouts for the USA U18 team this past June. She was named All-Metro by the San Francisco Chronicle and first-team All-East Bay by the Contra Costa Times. he awards ceremony will take place after the conclusion of the second game.
Colliers International Classic Tournament This is the third year that Colliers International has been the title sponsor for Cal's annual home tournament. From 2004-07, it was called the Contra Costa Times Classic. The tournament, which first began in 1978, has also been known as the Golden Bear Classic and the Oakland Tribune Classic. The Bears have won their tournament five of the last seven years and 16 times overall. The Bears have been in the championship game 27 consecutive years. There have only been three times the Bears have not played in the title game, the last time coming during the 1981 season when the Bears finished fourth in what was then an eight team format.
Cal has fallen in the championship game each of the last two seasons, but both times were taken out by top-25 teams. In 2008, Cal fell to No. 22 TCU. Last year, the Bears narrowly missed upsetting No. 7 Texas A&M.
While this season's field does not have any top-25 teams (though Tulane was receiving votes in the Week 1 AP Poll), it does have two squads who played in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Both the Tulane Green Wave and the Portland State Vikings were tourney teams last season. The Vikings went for the first time in school history after winning the Big Sky Conference's automatic berth. The Green Wave earned Conference USA's automatic bid after going 26-6 in the regular season. Both teams fell in the round of 64.
MVP At the conclusion of the tournament, a Collier International Classic MVP will be named as well as an All-Tournament team. A Cal player has been named the MVP five of the last seven years and 15 Bears have earned the honor since the award was first presented in 1979. Senior forward Rama N'diaye earned the MVP award in 2007. N'diaye had 16 points with 18 rebounds in the opening round game against Saint Mary's. She had 16 points with 8 boards in Cal's 67-59 victory over Vanderbilt in the finale.
Last season, DeNesha Stallworth was named to the All-Tournament team along with Alexis Gray-Lawson. Stallworth scored 14 points in the opener and 19 in the championship game, going 8-for-11 from the field. Stallworth also pulled in 16 rebounds in the tournament. second game.