Nov. 14, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After opening the 2006-07 season with a 71-56 home victory over Saint Mary's, No. 18/19 California (1-0) begins one of its toughest stretches of the season this week at the Timeout for HIV/AIDS Classic Friday-Saturday, Nov. 17-18, in Malibu, Calif. The Golden Bears meet Florida (1-1) in the first round Friday at 5 p.m. at the Firestone Fieldhouse. Cal then faces either Rutgers (0-1) Saturday at 5 p.m. or host Pepperdine (1-1) at 7:30 p.m.
All four teams at the Timeout for AIDS/HIV Classic qualified for the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Cal climbed three spots to No. 18 in this week's AP poll, its high point in the 31-year history of the poll, and two spots to No. 19 in the USA Today-ESPN coaches poll, its best ranking in the 23-year history of the poll. Rutgers is ranked No. 14 in the AP poll and 12th in the coaches poll.
Cal is led by a trio of sophomores this season. Guard Alexis Gray-Lawson led the Bears with a game-high 22 points in the win over Saint Mary's and added six rebounds and three assists. Forward/center Ashley Walker added 15 points and four boards, while forward/center Devanei Hampton tallied three points and three rebounds in eight minutes in her first action since injuring her knee over the summer while training with USA Basketball.
Hampton and Gray-Lawson earned preseason All-America honors from Street & Smith.
Freshman guard Lauren Greif performed well in her first collegiate game and start, adding 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals vs. Saint Mary's. Junior forward Krista Foster matched Greif's 11 points as a starter.
Under the direction of second-year head coach Joanne Boyle, Cal returns seven letterwinners and three starters from last year's team which posted an 18-12 overall record, finished sixth in the Pac-10 at 10-8 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In 2005-06, the Bears recorded their first winning overall and conference records, and NCAA Tournament bid since 1992-93.
Defense should continue to be the Bears' strength this season. In 2005-06, Cal set two school defensive records - scoring defense (60.4 ppg, 2nd Pac-10) and field goal percentage defense (37.8%, third Pac-10).