March 6, 2009
Saturday, Mar. 7, 12:30 p.m.: Arizona at No. 9 Cal (Radio: KALX 90.7-FM, TV: none)
The California Golden Bears (23-5, 14-3 Pac-10) close out the regular season on Saturday, March 7 when they host the Arizona Wildcats (11-17, 4-13 Pac-10) in a game at 12:30 at Haas Pavilion.
The Bears dropped into third place in the Pac-10 standings after Thursday night's 63-41 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Bears still have a chance at ending the season in a tie for second place and earning the No. 2 seed in the Pac-10 Conference. If Stanford beats ASU on Saturday and Cal defeats Arizona, Cal and ASU will finish with identical 15-3 records and will tie for second in the Conference standings. The Bears 57-54 victory Stanford would serve as the deciding tiebreaker between the two as ASU would be 0-2 against Stanford, making Cal a No. 2 seed and dropping ASU to a No. 3 seed. However, a Cal loss or an ASU victory at Stanford will give Cal a No. 3 seed in the Pac-10 tournament.
The Pac-10 Conference office hopes to release complete brackets with game times and opponents for the tournament on Saturday evening, March 7. Pac-10 tournament information will be posted on CalBears.com as soon as it becomes official.
Cal is looking for its 24th win of the season. They have topped the 24-game mark only twice before, the 1983-84 season (24-8) and last year when they won a record 27 games (27-7). The Bears are in even more rarefied territory when it comes to conference victories. The 14 conference wins so far this season is second only to the 15 earned by the Bears in last season's campaign when they went 15-3.
Saturday's game will be the final Cal Kids Day of the year with tickets for youth 12th grade and younger just $1. There will also be activities for children in the plaza outside the arena prior to the game.
Just prior to tipoff inside the arena, a short ceremony will be held honoring the three seniors taking the court for the final times in their Cal careers. Forwards Devanei Hampton, Shantrell Sneed, and Ashley Walker will be acknowledged before the starting lineups are announced.
Saturday will also be the culmination of the Shooting Shirts auction. The players wore individually designed shooting shirts during warm-ups of the Arizona State game. Those same one-of-a-kind masterpieces will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Seeds Organization, a charity that benefits orphanages in Africa. Bidding in the silent auction will close at the end of halftime. CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery of the one-of-a-kind shirts designed by the Bear players and coaches.
IT'S MAGIC On Sunday, March 1, NBA legend Magic Johnson stopped by the Cal Golden Bears' pre-game meal to meet with the team. Magic, along with former NBA great Mark Aguirre, had breakfast with the team, told stories about their days in the NBA, before Magic delivered some inspirational words to the players. After breakfast, he met each of them individually and spent more time chatting with them on an individual basis. Click Here to see a photo gallery from Magic's visit with the team.
PAC-10 TOURNAMENT BRACKET With the competitiveness of the Pac-10 this season, the determination of when and what teams the Bears will playing in the Pac-10 Tournament won't be decided until the end of the regular season games on Saturday, March 7. As one of the top-four seeds in the tournament, the Bears will have a first-round bye and will play their first game at the Galen Center on Friday, March 13. Tickets for the Pac-10 Tournament are available through the Cal Athletic Ticket Office. Information on the complete bracket and Cal's seeding and schedule will be posted on CalBears.com as soon as it becomes official.
SELECTION MONDAY ESPN will present the exclusive live announcement of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field as part of Selection Monday, March 16, at 4 p.m. Pacific Time, with ESPNU offering bonus coverage with an additional hour of NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Special: Extended Coverage from 5-6 p.m.
2000, 1500, 1000, 500 Cal's starting have the distinction of having one member score her 2000th career point (Walker, March 1), another her 1500th career point (Hampton, March 1), one score her 1000th career point (Gray-Lawson, Nov. 29) and two score their 500th career points (junior guard Natasha Vital, Nov. 11 and junior guard Lauren Grief, Nov. 27) all in the same season.
** The Bears have five games this season in which their opponent has scored 40 or fewer points.
** The Bears are 19-0 when holding their opponents to 55 or fewer points
** Cal is ranked 15th among all NCAA teams in scoring defense, allowing 53.6 points per game. Green Bay leads the nation with it 51.0 ppg average.
** Cal's opponents are avaeraging 52.8 points in Pac-10 games.
** Cal is second in the Pac-10 and 47th in the nation in field goal percentage defense, with opponents shooting just 36.7 percent against the Bears.
PAC-10/NATIONAL LEADERS Ashley Walker continues to leads the Pac-10 in scoring average. Her 19.4 ppg paces the conference and ranks her 20th among all DI players. Alysha Clark of Middle Tennessee leads the nation, averaging 27.0. Walker was the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the top-100 in scoring average this week. Walker is fourth in the Pac-10 and 19th in the country in field-goal shooting percentage (54.6 percent).
THREE-POINTERS Alexis Gray-Lawson made eight straight three-point attempts spanning three games. She went 1-for-1 against Oregon, 3-for-3 against Oregon State, She started 4-for-4 against UCLA before missing her last two shots to snap the streak. In the last four games, she is 10-of-15 shooting from long range (66.7 percent). She now ranks third in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting with a 42.7. She ranks second in Pac-10 games, connecting on 46.6 percent (27-of-58)
Junior guard Natasha Vital's ranks second in the conference in overall games at 43.4 percent.
The Bears had one of their best long-range shooting performances of the season Friday at USC, hitting nine of 14 three-point attempts (64.3 percent).
CAREER FREE THROWS Ashley Walker became Cal's all-time leader in made free throws in the USC game on March 1. Her 10-for-12 performance from the line gave her 483 in her career, the most ever by a Bear player. It was the second time this season Walker made 10 or more free throws in a game.
DEV Devanei Hampton is averaging 9.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game since returning to the starting lineup. In Hampton's first nine games of the season, she averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds. She has scored in double digits in four of her last five games.
MORE NOTES ON WALKER
** Walker has only been four games this year Walker has been held to single-digit point totals, including Thursday's game against ASU
** Walker has led the team in scoring 21 times this season and has been Cal's rebounding leader 19 times
** Walker has hit 10 or more field goals in a game six times this season.
** Walker has shot 50.0 percent or better in all but seven games this season. She has a career-best 54.6 field-goal percentage this season, third best in the Pac-10 and ranking her No. 19 in the country. She started the UCLA game 7-for-7 from the field before missing her final three attempts.
** Walker has 35 career games scoring 20 or more points. This season, she has topped 20 points 16 times and has done so nine times in Pac-10 play.
** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in December, a month in which she averaged 22.6 points per game and shot 61.4 percent from the floor.
** Walker was a nominee for WBCA Player of the Month in January, a month in which she averaged 18.1 points per game with 7.4 rebounds per game.
** 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 out 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 and 10th times in the Cal record book in cumulative career stat categories when she became No. 10 in career steals with 159 and No. 10 in games played. She now ranks No. 4 in career games played with 124. The record is 130.
** Walker now holds the record for most made free throws by a Cal player. She began the season at No. 4 on the career list.
** Walker has been named a John R. Wooden Award midseason top-20 candidate.
SCOUTING ARIZONA (11-17, 4-13 Pac-10) The Arizona Wildcats' roster features one of the most dominant players in the Pac-10, sophomore Ify Ibekwe. However, Ibekwe, the team's leader in points (15.6 ppg), and the Pac-10's leading rebounder (11.5 rpg), missed both games last week against the Washington schools. She has, however, received a brace to help stabilize her knee.
In Thursday night's game at Stanford, Ibekwe returned to action after missing two games with a knee injury and finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Reiko Thomas added 14 points for Arizona. With Ibekwe and Amina Njonkou leading the way, Arizona went on a 15-4 run, cutting Stanford's lead to 65-64 with 1:36 left to play. The Cardinal hit key freethrows in the waning seconds to hold on for a 70-67 vitory.
Arizona leads the all-time series 29-20, but Cal has won the last six meetings between the two squads including Cal's 56-46 victory in Tucson to start Pac-10 play earlier this season.
Arizona Probable Starters (2008-09 per-game averages) No. Name Ht. Yr. Hometown PPG RPG APG F 32 Amina Njonkou 6-1 Sr. Foumban, Cameroon 9.5 7.6 1.3 F 4 Sarah Hays 6-1 Sr. Oracle, Ariz. 1.1 2.8 0.2 G 54 Courtney Clements 6-0 Fr. Long Beach, Calif. 9.7 3.4 0.7 G 11 Ashley Frazier 5-6 Jr. Dallas, Tex. 6.3 1.9 4.2 G 10 Faihza Hill 5-5 So. San Francisco, Calif. 2.8 1.4 0.5