Feb. 27, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After equaling the best record in school history through 29 games, No. 24/25 California (USA Today-ESPN/AP polls) faces Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament Quarterfinals Saturday, March 3, at 11 a.m. at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The third-seeded Golden Bears (22-7, 12-6 Pac-10) face the sixth-seeded Ducks (16-12, 8-10) on day two of the tournament, as both teams earned first-round byes. The winner advances to the semifinals to face the winner of the No. 2-seed Arizona State vs. UCLA/Washington game Sunday at 2 p.m. on Fox Sports Net.
Cal, which has won three consecutive games in come-back fashion, has matched the 1991-92 Bears for the best Pac-10 record in school history at 12-6. In 2006-07, Cal took sole possession of third in the Pac-10 to slightly better the 1991-92 Bears, who tied for third, for the best Pac-10 showing in school history.
Cal is 3-5 all-time in the Pac-10 Tournament and has never advanced past the quarterfinals. The No. 3 seed is the Bears' best in the six-year history of the event. Last year, Cal lost to UCLA, 80-63, as the No. 6 seed. It marked the first year the Bears didn't play on the opening night.
The Bears are fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 68.9 ppg, and their offense has packed even greater punch over the last two games, averaging 87.0 ppg. The 88 points vs. UCLA is the most Cal has registered in a Pac-10 game in 10 seasons.
Sophomores Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton form one of the best post combinations in the Pac-10. Walker leads Cal in scoring (17.5 ppg, 3rd Pac-10) and in rebounding (8.5 rpg, 1st Pac-10) and is tied for the Pac-10 lead with 10 double-doubles. Hampton, the Pac-10's WBCA Player of the Month nominee for February and the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Feb. 26, is second on the team in scoring (16.4 ppg, 6th Pac-10) and in rebounding (7.9 rpg, 3rd Pac-10) but has upped those numbers to 18.9 ppg (2nd Pac-10) and 8.9 rpg (1st Pac-10) in conference games.
The starting guard trio of senior Keanna Levy and freshmen Natasha Vital and Lauren Greif have also shown their abilities ignite Cal this season. Levy, who saw limited action as a reserve during her first three seasons, is averaging career bests of 7.4 ppg and 4.1 rpg and has posted double-figure points in the last three games. Vital, who assumed the starting point guard role after Alexis Gray-Lawson suffered an ACL injury Dec. 10, has proven quite capable. As a starter over the last 20 contests, Vital is averaging 8.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 5.3 apg. Greif, who has started all 29 games, contributes 8.6 ppg and 5.6 rpg and is the Bears' top three-point threat (47 threes).