March 6, 2012
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears (22-8, 13-5 Pac-12) head down to Los Angeles for the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament. The Bears, as the No. 2 seed, will have a first-round bye. They will see their first action in Thursday's quarterfinals, hosting Colorado at 5 p.m. at the Galen Center.
The semifinals and the tournament championship game will be played at The Staples Center. Should the Bears advance, they will play USC, Washington State, or Oregon State in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The championship game, with Stanford anchoring that side of the bracket as the No. 1 seed, will be at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 10.
All games at the Galen Center will be streamed live on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/pac12conf ). All games at the Staples Center will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net and locally on CSN Bay Area.
The Bears have advanced to five consecutive semifinals, but only once, since the tournament began in 2002, has Cal made it to the finals. Cal and Stanford met in the championship game of the 2008 Tournament, which was held in San Jose, with the Bears falling 56-35.
Last season, the Bears advanced to the semifinal game of the Pac-10 Tournament. Cal, as the No. 6 seed, had to win two games (against Washington, 58-48, and against Arizona State, 48-43) at Galen to make it to the showdown with the No. 2 seed, UCLA, at Staples in the semifinals. The Bruins topped the Bears, 63-50, in the semis.
The Golden Bears swept both Utah and Colorado in the regular season. This will be the second post-season meeting between Cal and either team. Cal faced Utah in the second round of the 2010 WNIT, winning 64-54 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. The Bears and the Buffaloes played in the second round of the 2011 WNIT, with Colorado winning 81-65 on their home court.
The Bears have a 9-5 record at the Galen Center since the building first opened in 2006, including a pair of NCAA Tournament victories over Fresno State and Virginia. The Bears are 4-2 in Pac-10 tournament games on that floor. The Golden Bears are 0-1 playing at the Staples Center.
The Bears will be led in the tournament by All-Pac-12 selection Layshia Clarendon. The junior guard has averaged 16.6 ppg in her last five contests including back-to-back 20 point games against Oregon (27) and Oregon State (20). She scored 15 points against Utah and another 15 against Colorado when the teams squared off two weeks ago.
Junior center Talia Caldwell scored in double figures against both Utah and Colorado two weeks ago. She went 6-for-8 against Utah for 13 points (with 11 rebounds) and followed with an 11-and-6 performance against the Buffs.
* Afure Jemerigbe has made seven of her last eight three-point attempts (span of four games).
* Brittany Boyd is 16-of-18 from the free throw line in the last five games. In that same span, Boyd has scored 46 points with 21 assists, seven coming against Colorado.
* Eliza Pierre, in her last two games, is 8-for-12 shooting, including going 5-for-7 against Stanford (10 points)
All-Pac-12 Junior guard Layshia Clarendon earned the first All-Conference honors of her career when she was named to the 15-member 2011-12 All-Pac-12 Conference first team. Clarendon was an honorable mention for the 2010-11 season. She leads the team at 12.7 points per game and is moving up the Bears career scoring list after scoring the 1,000th point of her career on January 28, 2012.
Freshman point guard Brittany Boyd and redshirt forward Gennifer Brandon both earned honorable mentions. Brandon is one of the top rebounders in the nation, averaging 9.9 rebounds per game and is poised to set the Cal record for most rebounds in a single season.
Pac-12 All-Freshman Team Brittany Boyd and forward Reshanda Gray were named to the five-member Pac-12 All-Freshman team. Boyd is averaging 10.0 points per game. She has already earned a spot in the Cal record book, tying the mark for the most steals in a single game (10). She is also on the top-10 list for assists in a single season and should finish the year with one of the ten-best seasons in terms of steals. Forward Reshanda Gray led the team in scoring for much of the season and currently ranks second with a 10.3 ppg average. Gray is also averaging 5.8 rebounds per game and has been a key element in leading the Bears to a second place finish in the Pac-12 conference.
Cal has had at least one player earn Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors each of the last two seasons and have had six players earn the honor with five more honorable mentions since 2005-06.
Pac-12 All-Defensive Team For the first time in the five years the award has existed, the Bears did not have a player named to the five-player All-Defensive team. Cal did have a pair of honorable mentions: Gennifer Brandon and junior guard Eliza Pierre. Pierre was named to the All-Defensive team as a freshman and again as a sophomore. Ashley Walker earned All-Defensive honors in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
All-Pac-12 Media Awards On Monday, the first set of post-season awards were announced with the unveiling of the Pac-12 Media Awards. Layshia Clarendon and Gennifer Brandon were both named to the All-Conference team. Reshanda Gray and Brittany Boyd earned All-Freshman team honors.
The Big 2-0 The Bears secured their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. The Bears have only had ten 20-win seasons in the history of the program (including this year) and only two coaches had guided teams to 20 or more wins in a season. Gooch Foster did it four times (80-81, 81-82, 86-87, 91-92) and Joanne Boyle had four consecutive 20-win seasons from 2006-10 before Gottlieb joined that list.
Gottlieb is the first coach in Cal program history to win 20 games in her first season at the helm. The previous best first-year was a 18-12 season by Marci Cantrell in 1977-78 and Joanne Boyle's 18-12 record in her first season (2005-06).
Gottlieb now has two 20-win seasons on her resume. She was also the first-coach at UCSB to guide her team to 20 wins in her first season, finishing with a 22-10 overall record. That team won both the Big West regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
13 in the Pac-12 The Bears had 13 conference wins, trailing only the record-setting 15-3 seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09) for most conference wins in a season in the program history.
Second Place The Bears' 64-43 victory over Colorado guaranteed a Pac-12 second-place finish for the Bears. It is just the third time since joining the Pac-10 in its inaugural season (1985-86) that the Bears have finished in second place and it is only the second time that Cal has finished with sole possession of second.
Before joining the Pac-10/12, the Bears twice finished first in the NorCal Conference with 10-2 marks in 1980-81 and 1981-82. The Bears also had a second-place NorPac finish with another 12-2 conference mark in 1982-83.
NCAA Tournament The winner of the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. If the Bears do not win the automatic bid, they have a very good chance of earning one of the 33 at-large bids available for the tournament field of 64 teams. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be broadcast on Monday, March 12 at 4 pm Pacific Time on ESPN.
The Bears are looking to make the tournament for the eighth time in program history and the first time since the 2009 team advanced to the Sweet-16. None of the current players have ever played in the NCAA Tournament, though four of them were key members of the 2010 WNIT Championship squad.
Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb is looking for the second NCAA Tournament bid of her head coaching career. In her first season at Santa Barbara, the Gauchos earned the Big West's automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, where they faced the Stanford Cardinal in the first round.
Gottlieb looks to become the second head coach to take a Cal team to the NCAA Tournament in her first season at the helm. Joanne Boyle's 2005-06 squad earned an at-large bid in Boyle's first season at Cal.
Run Bears Run In Cal's home game against Utah, Cal broke open a game that was tied at the half by going on a 17-0 run to start the second half. It was the second time this season the Bears went on a 17-0 run. Cal closed out the meeting in Boulder against Colorado on a 17-0 tear. The Utes failed to score for the first 8:03 of the second half. At Colorado, the Buffaloes did not score a single point for the final 7:10 of the game.
Under-50 The Bears kept both Utah (46) and Colorado (43) under the 50-point scoring mark. It was the fourth time this season the Bears held an opponent to under 50 points . The last time the Bears kept opponents from scoring 50 points in back-to-back games was last year's Pac-12 Tournament when they held Washington to 48 and Arizona State to 43.
Rebounding Margin The Bears have only been outrebounded by an opponent once this season with Stanford winning the Battle of the Boards during the first Battle of the Bay, 51-47.
After leading the nation at one point this season in rebounding margin, Cal has dropped to fourth, averaging 13.5 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Liberty continues to lead the nation with a 15.6 per game average.
The Bears have outrebounded their opponents by double digits in 18 games this season and have six games with a 20-or-more rebound differential including besting CSU Bakersfield by 36 (60-24) and the 63-26 (37) differential against Oregon in the first meeting of the season.
Last season, Cal had 23 games in which they outrebounded their opponents and finished the year averaging 5.6 more rebounds per game.
Career Points Layshia Clarendon became the 22nd member of the California Golden Bear 1,000 Point Club on her first field goal attempt of the game at Stanford. Clarendon hit a jumper 20 seconds into the game to give her 1,001 career points. By the end of the contest, she had scored 17 points to give her 1,016 in her career, and move her up to No. 21 on the career scoring list.
Clarendon is racing up the career point list. She now ranks 13th and is 16 points away from passing Amanda Ray (1,172, 1985-88) and moving into the top-12.
Pac-12 Career Rebounders Junior center Talia Caldwell comes into the game with 711 career rebounds. She is three boards shy of moving into the Pac-12's top-50 in career rebounding, tying her with Jamie Reed of Washington. Sitting in 49th place on the list is former Cal player Trisha Stafford (1989-92) with 721 boards.
Single Season Rebounding Record Gennifer Brandon has 297 rebounds this season, which is tied for fourth on the list of most rebounds in a single season by a Cal player. The player she is currently tied with - herself. Brandon pulled in 297 rebounds in her freshman season. This year, she has matched that mark just through games in the regular season. Her 2009-10 season included two Pac-10 Tournament games and six WNIT games.
Brandon is 20 rebounds away from tying the all-time single-season rebounding mark of 317, set in 2007-08 by Ashley Walker.
There have only been three players in Cal program history to have 300 or more rebounds in a single season. In addition to Walker, Colleen Galloway (312, 1977-78) and Jill Weddick (300, 1978-79) have also accomplished the feat.
Brandon is currently third in the Pac-12 in rebounding and 27th in the nation, averaging 9.9 per game.
Boyd's Record Book Aspirations Freshman point guard Brittany Boyd already earned a place in the Cal record book when she tied the single-game steal record with 10 at Arizona State. Boyd is poised to get two more mentions in the top-10 list for single-season accomplishments. Boyd currently has 142 assists, tying her for tenth place (Meme Fanner, 142, 1987-88). Boyd also is one steals shy of tying for tenth on that list (Courtney Johnson, 76, 1999-00).
Boyd is averaging 4.7 assists-per-game, the second-best mark in the Pac-12 (48th in the NCAA) and 2.5 steals (fourth in the Pac-12, 75th in the NCAA).
Gray earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and the Pac-12 Media All-Freshman team. She was also an honorable mention for All-Pac-12 team and Pac-12 All-Defensive team honors.