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
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.
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.