Game #10 No. 21/20 California (7-2) vs. No. 1 Connecticut (11-0) Madison Square Garden • New York City Sunday, Dec. 22 • ~10:30 a.m. PT (25 min after Game 1) Series Record: Connecticut leads, 2-1 Last: UConn 77, California 53 (Trenton, N.J. - March 29, 2009) TV/Web/Radio: ESPN (Pam Ward & Carolyn Peck) - Watch Live
BERKELEY – No. 21/20 California travels to Madison Square Garden in New York City to face top-ranked Connecticut Sunday in the marquee matchup of the Maggie Dixon Classic presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Tip-off is scheduled for around 10:30 a.m. (PT) and will be broadcast live on ESPN with Pam Ward and Carolyn Peck on the call. The #CalvsUCONN game will tip-off 25 minutes after the conclusion of the 8am (PT) TexasA&M-StJohns game.
Connecticut leads the all-time series, 2-1, and has now been ranked in the top two in three of the four meetings between the teams (No. 2 in 1994, No. 1 in 2009, No. 1 in 2013).
THE MAGGIE DIXON CLASSIC
The eighth Maggie Dixon Classic features St. John’s vs Texas A&M at 8 a.m. (PT) on ESPNU followed by California vs UConn at 10:30 a.m. (PT) on ESPN at Madison Square Garden. Rutgers holds the record with three victories at the Classic, followed by UConn, Baylor and Tennessee with two each. The annual double-header event is in honor of Army head coach Maggie Dixon, who passed away of an arrhythmia in April 2006 following her first season at the helm of the Black Knights.
CAL VS TOP-RANKED TEAMS (0-2)
March 29, 2009 - No. 1 UConn 77, No. 13 California 53 (NCAA Third Round)
March 20, 1993 - No. 1 Vanderbilt 82, California 63 (NCAA Second Round)
A CALIFORNIA WIN WOULD:
* Give California its first victory over a top-ranked team
* Give California its first win over a top-5 team since defeating No. 5 Stanford 67-55 at Maples Pavilion on January 13, 2013.
* Improve California to 10-5 all-time on the ESPN Family of Networks (and 2-2 on ESPN)
* Improve Cal’s winning streak to seven consecutive wins
* Improve California to 7-11 all-time against the current American Athletic Conference
A LOOK AT NO. 1 UCONN (11-0): Top-ranked UConn enters the Maggie Dixon Classic on a 17-game winning streak dating back to last year’s NCAA Championship run. Since the current Husky streak began, the closest margin of victory was 17 points in a 72-55 win over then-No. 8 Maryland earlier this season. One of the most balanced teams in the country, UConn has five players averaging double-digits scoring, led by Breanna Stewart’s 18.4 points per game to go with 7.5 rebounds. All-Americans Bria Hartley (15.2ppg), Stefanie Dolson (14.5ppg) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (14.0ppg) also average double figures, with Dolson contributing 9.9 rebounds per contest as well.
CAL-UCONN SERIES HISTORY: Sunday marks the fourth meeting between Cal and UConn with the Huskies holding a 2-1 series advantage. The last meeting between the teams ended in a UConn 77-53 victory in the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Cal won the first game between the teams (76-60) in 1991, and UConn won the second (99-52) in 1994.
DUNN ELIGIBLE: Junior forward Kyra Dunn will make the trip to New York City with Sunday’s game marking the first time that the transfer from Pittsburgh will be eligible for the Golden Bears. Dunn, who averaged 5.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game at Pitt in 2011-12, was a mid-year transfer to Cal last season and is eligible with the completion of final exams. Dunn led Pitt with 36 blocks as a sophomore in 2011-12 and had at least two blocks in nine games.
GIVE IT TO GRAY: Junior forward Reshanda Gray currently is second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage at .643 through nine games and ranks ninth nationally in the category. Gray is currently 57-of-88 shooting after going a “disappointing” 6-of-11 against Bakersfield last weekend. Gray’s production will be a note to watch throughout the season with the California single-season record currently set at .624 (78-of-125) by Sophie von Saldern in the 1992-93 season.
BALANCED OUTPUT: California lost last year’s leading scorer, Layshia Clarendon, to the WNBA, and the 2013-14 Golden Bears have used a balanced attack to find success. Through nine games, five different Golden Bears have led the team in scoring. Afure Jemerigbe led the team in the first two games (13pts, 16pts), Reshanda Gray then led in Cal’s next three games (24pts, 15pts, 23pts), and Justine Hartman (16pts) and Brittany Boyd (15pts) took the reigns in the two games at the Nugget Classic. Gray again led Cal against Pacific (23pts), and freshman Hind Ben Abdelkader became the first Bear to lead the team in scoring this season with 18 points against Bakersfield.
BOYD’S BALLING: Since being held scoreless for the first time in her career against Northwestern, junior Brittany Boyd has been on fire for the Golden Bears across the stat sheet. In the four games since, Boyd is averaging 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game - highlighted by near-double-doubles against Idaho (15p-8r-8a) and Pacific (16p-9r-5a-5s) and a 12-assist outing against Bakersfield.