Nov. 13, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Coming off its fifth straight season-opening victory, No. 12/15 California travels to UC Riverside Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center in Riverside, Calif. The Golden Bears (1-0) defeated the Highlanders (0-2), 58-51, in Berkeley, Jan. 31, 2007. Cal then returns to Berkeley to host New Mexico (3-0) in its home opener Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears have won four consecutive home openers.
The UC Riverside game is the first of six of Cal's non-conference opponents that qualified for the 2007 NCAA Tournament. The stretch is capped with a Dec. 10 road game at Rutgers, the 2007 national runner-ups. The Bears moved up one spot to an all-time best ranking of 12th in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Cal dropped one place from a program-high of 14th to 15th in the USA Today-ESPN Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
Cal rallied from nine points down in the second half to grab an 83-79 road victory over Fresno State Nov. 10. Junior forward/center Ashley Walker posted a monster double-double with 31 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Walker, who has 981 career points, could surpass the 1000-point career plateau this week. Walker also has 98 career blocks.
Junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson contributed 15 points against Fresno State, including the Bears' final four points. Preseason All-Americans Walker and Gray-Lawson will be relied upon heavily over the next few weeks as junior forward/center Devanei Hampton - the 2006-07 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a member of the State Farm/Wade Trophy and Wooden Award preseason lists - recovers from knee surgery.
Gray-Lawson and sophomore guards Natasha Vital and Lauren Greif also start for the Bears. Vital led the Pac-10 in assists in conference games last season at 5.4 apg and Greif ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in three-pointers made/game (1.50). The sophomore duo both received Pac-10 All-Freshman honors.
In the first game without Hampton, forward Krista Foster, the only senior on the team, received the starting nod against Fresno State. Foster is a captain with Walker and Greif.
Freshman guard/forward Kelsey Adrian contributed 13 points off the bench for the Bears against the Bulldogs. Junior forward Shantrell Sneed and sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye have also factored into the rotation so far.