Jan. 17, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Sporting an 8-0 home record, California (12-5 overall, 4-3 Pac-10, 6th) returns to Haas Pavilion to host No. 13 Arizona State (14-3, 5-2, T3rd) Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. The Golden Bears then host Arizona (6-11, 2-5, 7th) Sunday, Jan. 22 at 1 p.m., in a game that will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports Net. The first 300 youth receive a mesh backpack Sunday.
Cal welcomes back first-year head coach Joanne Boyle to the sideline this week. Boyle, who missed the Stanford game, returned to North Carolina last week to attend to a family emergency.
At 12-5, Cal is off to its best start since opening the 1992-93 season with a 13-4 record. That year, the Bears recorded their last winning record (19-10) and earned their last postseason berth, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Four local freshmen lead Cal in scoring this season, led by center Devanei Hampton (Oakland) at 15.5 ppg. Guard Alexis Gray-Lawson (Oakland) is second at 14.1 ppg after pouring in a career-high 30 points in the Bears' 87-75 setback against Stanford. Forward/center Ashley Walker (Modesto) is third on the team at 12.9 ppg and leads the Bears in rebounding at 7.6 rpg (third Pac-10) after notching her fourth straight double-double against the Cardinal (14 points, 11 rebounds). Guard Jené Morris is fourth at 8.2 ppg following a 17-point effort in her last outing.
Hampton tops the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds per game (3.07), and Gray-Lawson is first in three-point field goal percentage (46.6).
Forward Reneé Wright, the team's only senior, rounds out the starting five for the Bears. She is averaging 7.0 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Off the bench, redshirt junior guard Sarah Pool brings her up-tempo style of play and sophomore forward Krista Foster shows why she is known as one of the program's hardest workers. Freshman forward Shantrell Sneed (Fairfield) completes Cal's typical eight-person rotation.
Despite giving up a season-high 87 points to Stanford, Cal remains No. 2 in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 57.0 ppg, which is on track to set a new school record. The old mark of 63.2 ppg was set in 2001-02. Walker leads the conference in blocked shots at 1.88 bpg, and Morris is second at 2.93 spg.