Nov. 6, 2007
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BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After winning its two exhibition games by an average of 24.5 points per game, No. 13/14 California opens the 2007-08 regular season at Fresno State Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. at the Save Mart Center (cap. 15,596). Cal is in search of its fifth straight season-opening win.
Cal assembled one of its best seasons in school history in 2006-07, finishing, with a 23-9 overall record and advancing to the Golden Bears' second straight NCAA Tournament. With the return of three preseason All-American juniors in Devanei Hampton, Ashley Walker and Alexis Gray-Lawson and the 2006-07 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Joanne Boyle, high expectations have been placed on Cal this season.
The Associated Press and USA Today-ESPN coaches' polls have the Bears tabbed at all-time highs of No. 13 and No. 14, respectively. Last season, Cal rose to program records of No. 15 (AP) and No. 16 (coaches), respectively. CSTV.com (No. 7) and Athlon Sports (No. 8) have selected the Bears in the top 10 of their polls.
At the Pac-10 level, Cal has been voted to place third by the conference coaches and the media who cover the Pac-10. Walker, who paced the Pac-10 with 12 double-doubles as a sophomore, and Hampton, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, earned spots on the five-member preseason all-conference team.
Cal benefits from the return of junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson, the 2005-06 Pac-10 Player of the Year. Gray-Lawson missed the final 23 games of last season after tearing her ACL at Kansas Dec. 10, 2006. In Gray-Lawson's absence, sophomore guard Natasha Vital averaged 5.0 assists per game as a starter and was selected to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Sophomore guard Lauren Greif, a Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention pick, rounds out the Bears' starting unit.
Senior forward Krista Foster, junior forward Shantrell Sneed and sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye add experience to the rotation. Freshman guard/forward Kelsey Adrian, a member of the Canadian national team, and freshman guard Rachelle Federico, a high school All-American, look to contribute immediately.