BERKELEY – It’s the first Top 10 matchup of the college basketball season when No. 9 California hosts No. 2 Duke at Haas Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. The game is scheduled to air live on ESPNU with David Flemming and LaChina Robinson on the call.
California and Duke are both coming off of seasons that saw each win at least a share of their conference regular season title with identical 17-1 marks (California in the Pac-12, Duke in the ACC). The Bears advanced to the first Final Four in program history last season while Duke went 33-3 en route to an Elite Eight appearance.
Prior to the game, California will hold a banner ceremony to unveil the Pac-12 Regular Season and NCAA Final Four banners for the first time at Haas Pavilion.
Fans are encouraged to wear gold to the game, and general admission tickets are on sale for $1.
The game will serve as the season opener for Duke. California defeated Long Beach State, 70-51, Friday night in its opener at Haas Pavilion.
A CALIFORNIA WIN WOULD: * Improve Cal’s regular-season winning streak to 16 games dating to last season (Jan.13-pres.) * Mark Cal’s first win over a top 5 team since #6 Cal defeated #2 Rutgers, 66-52, on November 22, 2008 * Move Lindsay Gottlieb to 20-5 in ALL non-conference games at California * Move Lindsay Gottlieb to 12-1 in HOME non-conference games at California
SCOUTING NO. 2/2 Duke (0-0): Duke enters the season ranked No. 2 in the polls after returning all five starters from its Elite Eight team that went 33-3 last season. The Blue Devils are led by two-time All-American Chelsea Gray - a Bay Area native - who averaged 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists last season. Elizabeth Williams is the leading returning scorer at 15.2ppg and 7.3rpg.
CALIFORNIA-DUKE SERIES: California and Duke have played three times with the Blue Devils holding a 2-1 series advantage after a 77-63 win last season in Durham. Duke won the first meeting in 1987-88 (85-57) in Berkeley, and Cal won the second meeting in 1993-93 (72-66) in Berkeley.
GAME RECAP: A rod in her lower right leg to alleviate recurring stress fractures, Gennifer Brandon jumped like her old self and emphatically swatted down a shot in the corner. That told Brandon and everybody else she is back, just three months to the day after undergoing surgery on her fibia. She had plenty of help in California’s season opener. Afure Jemerigbe scored 13 points, freshman Mercedes Jefflo made seven steals in an impressive collegiate debut, and No. 9 Cal overcame a cold-shooting first half to beat Long Beach State 70-51 Friday night. Jefflo added nine points and three assists, scoring consecutive baskets early in the second half as the Golden Bears pulled away to run their regular-season winning streak to 16 games dating to last season.
THE LAST MEETING (12/2/12):Brittany Boyd scored a career-high 28 points - 23 coming in the second half - and collected seven steals, but No. 11 California could not overcome a cold first half in a 77-63 loss at No. 4 Duke. The loss ended the six-game winning streak to begin the season for the Bears (6-1), the second-longest season-opening streak in program history. Duke (6-0) was led by a 22-point outing from Tricia Liston.
BAY AREA REUNIONS: A pair of seniors and a pair of freshmen played together with each other but will be on opposite benches in Sunday’s matchup. Cal senior Afure Jemerigbe played high school basketball with Duke senior guard Chelsea Gray at Saint Mary’s HS in Stockton, Calif. Both were McDonald’s All-Americans at the program and remain good friends. Cal freshman forward KC Waters and senior guard Mikayla Lyles played high school basketball with Duke freshman forward Oderah Chidom.
BRANDON RETURNS: Senior forward Gennifer Brandon had offseason surgery on August 8 to repair a recurrent right tibial stress fracture. Exactly three months to the day, Brandon returned in Cal’s season opener against Long Beach State and put up 6p, 2r, 2bl and 1st in 13 minutes of action. Brandon was an All-American last season after averaging 12.3 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.
CONSENSUS TOP 10: California will enter 2013-14 as a consensus top-10 program after earning preseason rankings of No. 9 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Sports Coaches’ polls. The Golden Bears also picked up No. 3 and No. 11 rankings in the preview editions of Lindy’s and Sporting News magazines, respectively. The marks match the highest preseason rankings in program history - the 2008-09 team was also picked No. 9 overall. That team, led by Alexis Gray-Lawson, went on to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a 27-8 final record.
JEFFLO’S DEBUT: Freshman Mercedes Jefflo had a debut to remember in Cal’s home opener against Long Beach State. Making her first career start, Jefflo registered three steals in the opening three minutes of the game and finished with seven steals overall - three shy of matching the program-record of 10 held by current teammate Brittany Boyd. Jefflo added nine points, two rebounds and three assists in the game.