Feb. 19, 2011
Sunday, Feb. 20: California at USC 2:00 p.m.
TV: none; Radio: 960 AM KKGN; Gametracker: CalBears.com
The California Golden Bears (14-11, 6-8 Pac-10) try to snap a four-game skid on Sunday, Feb. 20 when they take on the USC Trojans (15-9, 7-6 Pac-10) at 2 p.m.
The Bears are coming off a 63-48 loss against the No. 9 UCLA Bruins to start the trip. The game was a battle of defensive teams. The Bears forced a season-high 27 turnovers. It was the third time in the last four games that Cal has forced the opposition into turning the ball over 20 or more times and the sixth time overall.
The Bears had 16 steals, one shy of the season-high 17 they grabbed against UT Arlington. Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre had seven steals, narrowly missing matching her career high of eight that she set in the double overtime game against New Mexico. Sophomore forward DeNesha Stallworth had four, the third time this season she has grabbed four or more steals.
In addition to the seven steals, Pierre also scored a team-high 12 points. She became the eighth different Bear to lead the team in scoring in a game this season. Every active player, except senior guard Rachelle Federico, has led the team in scoring at least one game this season.
The Bears also had their best night, percentage-wise, at the free throw line that they have had in the last 10 games, with three players, including Talia Caldwell and Eliza Pierre, not missing a free throw.
The Bears finish off the road trip taking on the USC Trojans. The Bears defeated the Trojans, 82-71, earlier this season in Berkeley. The Bears have won 10 of the last 12 meetings with the Trojans, but all of those have been tight games. The Bears have two OT wins in that span. Other than the one earlier this season, none of the games since the 2005-06 season (Boyle's first year) have been decided by double-digits and all three in the 2008-09 season were decided by two points. Cal and USC split last season's series with the Bears winning at home, 61-55, and falling in Los Angeles, 67-64. Last season, DeNesha Stallworth scored a career-high 30 points at the Galen Center. USC leads the all-time series 33-23.
Steals Eliza Pierre is currently averaging 3.0 steals per game, which leads the Pac-10. Her average ranks 28th among all NCAA Division I players. She has ranked as high as second in the NCAA this season in this stat.
Pierre has 21 steals in her last six games, including seven against UCLA.
Pierre ended last season with a team-best 71 steals (1.9 per game). The single season steal record for Cal is 100 set by Eliza Sokolowska in 1994-95. Pierre currently has 76 steals, which ranks her ninth on Cal's all-time list for steals in a single season.
Going Home The Bears will have a full gallery of fans for the USC game with a number of Southern California players on the team. Eliza Pierre grew up in Pasadena, about 15 miles from the Galen Center. Layshia Clarendon attended Cajon High in San Bernardino, 62 miles away. Talia Caldwell is from LA proper, having attended Marlborough High in the Hancock Park area of the city, just 8.93 miles from the Galen Center. Lindsay Sherbert is from Temecula, 88 miles to the south. Assistant coach Kevin Morrison also grew up in the Southland.
Shooting Shirt Auction The Bears annual Shooting Shirt Auction will take place on Saturday, Feb. 26 through halftime of the game against Oregon State. The players will design special shooting shirts that they will wear during pregame warm-ups. The shirts will then be auctioned off in a silent auction that will benefit New Day for Children. The Bears will also be auctioning off a team-autographed ball and a team autographed jersey with that will benefit Upward Roots.
Pink Zone Friday's game at UCLA was the Bruins' annual WBCA Pink Zone game. This will be the third time this season the Bears have played in a Pink Zone Game and their second straight pink game. Cal's Pink Zone game was Saturday, Feb. 12 against Washington State. The Bears also played in Arizona State's pink game on Saturday, Feb. 5. Cal was 0-3 this season in Pink Zone games.
The Women's Basketball Coaches' Association began the WBCA Pink Zone in 2007 as an initiative to raise breast cancer awareness in women's basketball, on campuses and in communities.
The late Kay Yow, former North Carolina State University head women's basketball coach, served as the catalyst for the initiative after her third recurrence of breast cancer in 2006.
Fouls Cal committed just 17 fouls combined in the two games in Oregon (7-OSU, 10-Ore.). The Bears have six games this season when they have been whistled for 10 or fewer fouls and are averaging 14.2 fouls per game, the 21st fewest fouls per game in the nation.
Opponent Threes The Bears are still among the nation's best in three-point defense. Opponents are only making 26.9 percent of the long range shots they are attempting against the Cal defense. This leads the Pac-10 and is ranked No. 15 among all NCAA Division I teams.
Efficiency DeNesha Stallworth is connecting on 51.3 percent of her tries from the field. The mark is ninth best in the Pac-10 and ranks No. 42 among all NCAA Division I players. Sophomore center Talia Caldwell actually has a better percentage, making 51.8 percent of her shots, but she does not have enough attempts to qualify for the national rankings. Her percentage ranks seventh in the Pac-10.
Crashing the Boards The Bears have dipped to third in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin, grabbing an average of 7.3 more rebounds per game than their opponents ranking them 13th in the nation. Cal has now outrebounded their opponents in 17 of its 25 games this season but has lost all eight of the games in which they have been outrebounded.
Caldwell fell to fourth in the Conference in rebounding, averaging 7.9 rebounds per game.
Caldwell is averaging 3.9 offensive rebounds per game, second Pac-10.
When neither Eliza Pierre or Layshia Clarendon picked up a rebound in the game at Washington earlier this season, it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive games in which they had at least one rebound (dating back to last season's WNIT run). The longest consecutive rebounding streaks belong to Talia Caldwell and DeNesha Stallworth who have had at least one rebound in every game they have played so far at Cal. Stallworth also has scored in every game she has played in.
Leading Scorers With Eliza Pierre's 12 points against UCLA, she became the eighth different Cal player to lead the team in scoring in a game this season. All three freshmen have led the team in a game (Afure Jemerigbe scored 17 against UT Arlington and Lindsay Sherbert 20 against Arizona, Mikayal Lyles 11 at Washington). DeNesha Stallworth and Layshia Clarendon have each had the team-high for points five times this season. Only Rachelle Federico has not led the team in scoring.
High School All-American Cal recruit Reshanda Gray has been named a McDonald's All-American. This is the third straight year that a Joanne Boyle recruit has earned a trip to the McDonalds game.
Gray, a 6-3 forward from Washington Prep in Los Angeles, will play for the West team. The game will be played on March 30, 6:30 p.m. (Central) at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., and broadcast live on ESPNU.
Last season, both Afure Jemerigbe and Lindsay Sherbert earned McDonald's All-American honors. In 2009, Tierra Rogers, Gennifer Brandon, Eliza Pierre, and DeNesha Stallworth were named McDonalds All-Americans.
Gray also earned an honorable mention as a WBCA High School All-American.
Cal Coaches Corner Each Monday, head coach Joanne Boyle and one of the players will be featured weekly on the Cal Coaches Corner radio program. The show airs on KNEW Radio (910 AM) every Monday from 6-7 p.m. The program is broadcast live from the Paragon at the Claremont Hotel, Club and Spa in Berkeley, so fans are encouraged to come out and enjoy the show live. In addition to Coach Boyle and a women's basketball player, men's head coach Mike Montgomery will also be a weekly guest on the show, which is hosted by Todd McKim. The show allows fans to email questions for the coaches and players.
Charitable Works This season, the Bears will again be doing the We Assist, You Assist promotion where fans can make pledges per assist to help a local charity. This season, the team has decided to focus their efforts on assisting Upward Roots. Upward Roots is aimed at generating positive change through community service. Their programs develop a greater sense of leadership and personal impact among under-served youth through the creation of self-initiated community service projects. The goal is to produce and sustain the concept that change can come from within and that every small action makes a resounding difference. Upward Roots strives to break the cycle from these youth being served to serving others. Every dollar raised, up to $10,000, will be matched by Coach Boyle.