Feb. 6, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Coming off a 72-57 triumph over then-No. 8/9 Stanford Feb. 4, No. 20 California (18-5, 8-4 Pac-10, 3rd) returns home to host Washington (14-10, 7-6, T5th) Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. The Golden Bears then entertain Washington State (5-18, 1-12, 10th) Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. Saturday is Black Heritage Day at Haas Pavilion, and there will be festivities beginning at 12;30 p.m. inside and outside the arena celebrating the significant contributions of African-American culture.
Cal's victory over Stanford ended the Cardinal's 50-game home non-conference winning streak, 17-game overall winning streak and gave the Bears their first triumph over a top-10 team since they beat No. 9 Colorado State, 80-75, Dec. 21, 1998, at Kaiser Arena in Oakland.
This season has been loaded with milestones for Cal. The Bears have equaled the 1983-84 team for the best start in school history through 23 games. Cal's 8-4 Pac-10 mark matches the 1991-92 Bears for the best Pac-10 opening through 12 games. In addition, Cal looks to equal or better the 1991-92 squad, which tied for third, for the best Pac-10 finish in the program's history.
Cal also has its eyes on at least three school records this season. On the defensive end, Cal's scoring defense (58.9 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (36.4%) are both on school record paces. Offensively, Cal's field goal percentage of 46.5 percent is approaching the school record of 46.8 percent, set in 1991-92. Sophomore posts Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton, both national players of the year candidates, are Cal's leaders this season. Walker paces the team in scoring (17.1 ppg, 4th Pac-10) and rebounding (8.7 rpg, 1st Pac-10), while Hampton is second on the team in scoring (14.6 ppg, 9th Pac-10) and rebounding (7.2 rpg, 7th Pac-10). Cal is the only school in the conference with two players ranking in the top 10 in scoring and is one of two programs with two athletes in the top 10 in the league in rebounding.
Rounding out the starting unit are senior guard Keanna Levy and freshmen guards Lauren Greif and Natasha Vital. Levy has been effective in her first season as a starter, averaging 7.4 ppg and 4.0 rpg. Greif and Vital came up big for the Bears against Stanford. Greif recorded 15 points and Vital registered a career-high 19 points. Vital assumed the starting point guard role after sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson (the 2005-06 Pac-10 Player of the Year) suffered an ACL injury at Kansas Dec. 10.