Dec. 4, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
Sat., Dec. 8 at Princeton Jadwin Gym, Princeton, NJ, 6:00 p.m. ETA LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Mon., Dec. 10 at Rutgers Louis Brown Athletic Center, New Brunswick, NJ, 7:30 p.m. ET Radio: 90.7 FM/linked on CalBears.com TV: None
Coming off a 67-59 victory over then-No. 18 Vanderbilt in the championship game of the Contra Costa Times Classic, No. 11/12 California (7-1) travels to New Jersey to face Princeton (2-6) Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. ET and No. 4/3 Rutgers (5-1) Monday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Golden Bears, who own program all-time best rankings by Associated Press (11) and in the USA Today-ESPN Coaches' Polls (12), have equaled last season's record through eight contests.
This is the first meeting between Cal and Princeton, while the Bears will be facing Rutgers for the third time. The Scarlet Knights, the 2007 NCAA runner-ups, own a 2-0 mark over the Bears.
Defense has been the driving force of this year's Cal team, and its offense is slightly ahead of last year's final pace. The Bears rank fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.8 ppg) and second in field goal percentage defense (35.8%), which puts them on school-record paces in both categories. Cal is fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 68.6 ppg, which is the team's best average since the 1995-96 season (71.8 ppg).
Rebounding has also been key to the Bears hot start. Cal tops the Pac-10 in rebounding margin at a school-record pace of +10.2 rpg after posting a monstrous +30 rebounding advantage in the 77-61 win over Saint Mary's.
Junior forward/center Ashley Walker earned her fourth Pac-10 Player of the Week honor after averaging 20.7 ppg and 10.3 rpg in three games last week. Walker is first in the Pac-10 in scoring (21.0 ppg, 15th NCAA) and rebounding (11.9 rpg, 6th NCAA) and second in blocked shots (2.25 bpg).
Sophomore forward/center Rama N'diaye is second in the conference in rebounding at 9.3 rpg. N'diaye, who also contributes 10.0 ppg, was named MVP of the Contra Costa Times Classic.
Cal starts a trio of guards in junior Alexis Gray-Lawson and sophomore Natasha Vital and Lauren Greif. Gray-Lawson is second on the team in scoring (11.6 ppg) and is third in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage (51.9%, 14-27). Gray-Lawson and Walker earned all-tournament honors over the weekend. Vital leads Cal in assists at 3.6 apg (6th Pac-10), while Greif is 10th in the conference in three-point percentage (40.9%).
Freshman guard/forward Kelsey Adrian has been a versatile presence for the Bears as they make up for the absence of junior forward/center Devanei Hampton. Hampton had surgery Nov. 9 to repair torn cartilage in her right knee and is expected to be out four to six weeks. Adrian is the Bears' top contributor off the bench, posting 6.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg.