Jan. 23, 2009
EUGENE, Ore. -
The California Golden Bears, the 6-0 leaders of the Pac-10 riding a seven-game win streak, head to Eugene Saturday to take on the Oregon Ducks (7-10, 4-3 Pac-10). Tip off is at 2 p.m.
For just the second time in program history, the California Golden Bears (6-0 Pac-10, 15-2) have started conference play with a 6-0 mark. The record for starts to the Conference portion of the schedule is 8-0, which the Bears accomplished in 1981-82 when they went 8-0 to begin their NorCal Conference play as well as last season's 8-0 Pac-10 start. The Bears take a seven-game winning streak to Oregon, the longest active streak in the conference. The Bears are looking to win eight games in a row for the first time this season. They began the year with a 7-0 start, the best start to a season in program history.
The teams's 15 wins this season are already more victories than the Bears posted in the entire season in 22 of the 35 seasons of Cal women's basketball.
In Cals' victory over Oregon State, the stingy Bear defense allowed Oregon State to score 72 points, only the third time this season an opposing team has scored more than 60 points, and the first time the Bears have won a game in which the opponent put up more than five dozen. The Bears still remain 0-2 when their opponent scores more than 80 points. Even after allowing 72 points, the Bear's still are allowing just 53.2 points per game, on course to breaking the Pac-10 record Cal set last season of allowing just 54.3 points per game.
Senior forward Ashley Walker scored 20 points against Oregon State, her 11th game this season scoring 20 or more points in a game. She also topped 1,800 career points. She also moved up the Pac-10 scoring list with her 1,819 points putting her at No. 17.
Reigning Pac-10 player of the week, junior guard Alexis Gray-Lawson followed up the 37-point performance against Stanford with a solid 19-point showing against Oregon State, the fifth time this season she has scored 19 or more points in a game. Gray-Lawson was 7-for-11 from the field.
The Bears shot 51.0 percent (26-for-51) in the game, their second-best shooting performance of the season and their best in Pac-10 games this season. Fueled by Gray-Lawson's four made-threes on five attempts and junior guard Lauren Grief's pair of treys on three attempts, the Bears made 53.8 percent of their three-point attempts, their second-best shooting percentage of the season. The Bears had seven three-point baskets. They are averaging 6.0 made-threes per game in Pac-10 play, hitting 40.0 percent of their attempts. They were shooting 35.9 percent against non-conference opponents.
LEADING THE PAC-10 Senior forward Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 20.5 ppg paces the conference and ranks her 14th among all DI players. Dawn Evans of James Madison leads the nation at 24.5 ppg. Arizona's Ify Ibekwe is the only other Pac-10 leader to be ranked in the top-100 this week, coming in at No. 96 with 15.8 ppg. Walker is second in the Pac-10 and 14th in the country in field goal shooting percentage (57.8 percent).
Junior guard Natasha Vital's impressive 48.0 percent three-point shooting efficiency has her leading the Pac-10. She has hit 23 treys in 49 attempts this season. Vital was 1-for-1 against Oregon State, her second perfect performance from three-point range against a Pac-10 opponent. She went 3-for-3 against Arizona State. Vital has four games in which she has hit three or more treys in a contest. Vital is shooting 43.8 percent (7-of-16) in Pac-10 games this season. Freshman guard Casey Morris is 5-for-12 (41.7 percent) and Alex Gray-Lawson is 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) in Pac-10 play.
DEFENSE Coming into the week, there were only three teams in all of NCAA Division I women's basketball allowing fewer points by its opponents than Cal. Cal was holding opponents to an average of 52.1 points per game, which is also tops in the Pac-10. Kansas State leads the nation with a 49.9 points-allowed average. Cal has kept opponents scores below 40 points twice this season, the first in the opener when they only allowed Albany to score 39 points, and again when Washington only managed 34. The 34 points by Washington tied the fewest points ever allowed by a Cal team in a Pac-10 game, the other 34-point performance coming from Oregon last season in Eugene. The nine points that Washington scored in the first half was the fewest points scored in a half in the history of their program and the 34 was the fewest they have scored in a Pac-10 game. Last season, Cal set the Pac-10 record by allowing just 54.3 point per game.
The Bears are 14-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points. They have held their opponents to under 50 points in five of the last seven games. The Bears held Stanford to just 54 points, 25 points fewer than their season average going into the game and half the number of points the Cardinal had scored in their two previous games. The Bears are holding opponents to a 27.8 three-point efficiency (87-of-313), the best in the Pac-10. Conference opponents, however, have only made 22 of their 103 three-point attempts against Cal, or 21.4 percent.
REBOUNDING LEADER Ashley Walker might paces the team by averaging 8.1 rebounds per game, but junior guard Lauren Greif has also been consistently crashing the boards. Greif is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game against Pac-10 opponents. Greif is fifth in the conference in rebounding in Pac-10 games and Walker is fourth.
DEV Senior forward Devanei Hampton had her third double-digit scoring effort of the season when she netted 10 against Washington. She had 10 rebounds before foulding out of the Oregon State game. Since returning to the starting lineup, Hampton is averaging 7.3 points per game and 7.0 rebounds. She is still looking for her first double-double of the season. She flirted with the feat in the Arizona game when she had nine points and nine rebounds.
DEV AS A STARTER The Bears are 7-0 since Hampton has returned to the starting lineup.
MORE NOTES ON WALKER
** Walker had just her third game this season when she has not scored in double digits when she scored five points against Stanford
** Walker has hit 10 or more field goals in a game four times this season.
** Walker has shot 50.0 percent or better in all but three games this season. She has a career-best 57.8 field-goal percentage this season, second-best in the Pac-10.
** Walker has 30 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points 11 times and has done so four times already in Pac-10 play.
** Walker has hit 18-of-21 free throw attempts in Pac-10 games this season (85.7 percent).
** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game, shooting 61.4% from the floor.
** Walker has started every game since her freshman year and has scored in every game since her freshman year. The closest she ever came to being shut put was in the Pac-10 finals last season against Stanford when she scored her first, and only, basket with 6:20 remaining in the game.
** Walker's name was added for the ninth time in the Cal record book in cumulative career stat categories last night when she became No. 10 in career steals with 159. Tonight, she will be added to her tenth cumulative career stats top-10 when she plays her 114th game. SCOUTING OREGON (7-10, 4-3 Pac-10) Oregon swept the Washington schools in Washington last week, the first time they accomplished that in nine years. The Ducks have won four of their last five games. Their 4-2 Pac-10 mark is their best start since 2004-05 when victories over Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington had given them an identical 4-2 record. Oregon has utilized seven different starting lineups this season. Six different players have missed at least one game this season due to injury; Nia Jackson (14), Kollo (14), Lilley (6), Canepa (5), Manou (2), Darriel Gaynor (1). In conference games, Oregon is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and averaging 13.2 assists per game, compared to their 36.3 shooting percentage and 10.3 assists per gam43.4 percent but in Pac-10 action, they are holding opponents to a clip of 39.0 percent. The Ducks are 5-1 when three or more players score in double figures.
Thursday vs Stanford Oregon fell to 7-10 on the year and 4-3 in the Pacific-10 Conference, with its two-game winning streak snapped with their 85-67 loss to Stanford. The frontcourt tandem of Appel and Pedersen helped Stanford outscore the Ducks 50-18 in the paint as Appel scored a game-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a game-high five assists for her ninth double-double of the season. Pedersen brought down a game-high 13 rebounds and chipped in 14 points. Oregon shot just 31. 6 percent (18-of-57) and was outrebounded by the Cardinal 47-22. Stanford shot 56.5 percent from the floor, the highest percentage of any Oregon opponent this season. Stanford's 85 points, 35 field goals made and 47 rebounds were also Oregon opponent highs. The Ducks were led by Jasmin Holliday's 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting - the third time the freshman has Oregon in scoring this season. Amanda Johnson and Taylor Lilley each added nine for Oregon. Stanford opened the second half on a 5-0 run after closing the first half on a 13-6 stretch in the final five minutes. The Ducks last lead of the game came at the 8:27 mark of the first half, 19-18, after Lilley knocked down a three-pointer. But that final lead lasted only 15 seconds as Pedersen scored in the paint on the Cardinal's next possession. Stanford had just a 27-23 advantage with 4:17 left until the break, when the Cardinal quickly built its lead to double digits, 34-23. Jillian Harmon scored five points as part of a 7-0 Stanford run that included two free throws off an Oregon technical foul, and her first three-pointer of the game on the Cardinal's following possession. The Ducks forced Stanford into seven first-half turnovers, but shot only 32.1 percent from the floor led by seven points apiece from Lilley and Johnson.
All-Time Series Oregon leads the all-time series 36-19 and 30-17 in Pac-10 play. Cal has won the last four straight meetings. The last time they faced was the first game of the Pac-10 tournament for the Bears, with Cal earning a 67-60 victory. Alexis Gray-Lawson, Devanei Hampton, Natsha Vital, and Ashley Walker each scored 14 or more points in the victory. Rama N'Daiye was the only other Bear to score in the game. The Ducks have had great success defending the home court with last season's 53-34 victory by the Bears in Eugene snapping a streak of 14 straight losses at McArthur Court by Cal.