Game #18 No. 19/16 California (13-4, 5-1 Pac-12) vs USC (13-6, 6-1 Pac-12) Haas Pavilion • Berkeley, Calif. Friday, Jan. 24 • 6 p.m. PT Series Record: USC leads, 36-26 Last: Cal 78, USC 59 (March 8, 2013 in Seattle) TV: Pac-12 Networks (Krista Blunk pxp, Mary Murphy analyst)
BERKELEY – No. 19/16 California returns to the friendly confines of Haas Pavilion to host USC Friday night for a hold on the number two spot in the conference standings. Tip-off between the Bears (13-4, 5-1 Pac-12) and Trojans (13-6, 6-1 Pac-12) is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk (play-by-play) and Mary Murphy (analyst) on the call.
California enters the weekend after splitting games against Arizona State and Arizona while USC scored a combined 190 points in wins over Oregon State and Oregon last week.
The Bears have won three consecutive meetings between the teams with all coming last season after the Trojans swept the Bears in head coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s first year in Berkeley. Last year, the Bears took a 71-63 overtime win in Berkeley highlighted by Gennifer Brandon’s school-record 26-rebound performance. Cal then took a 72-64 win in Los Angeles and knocked USC out of the Pac-12 Tournament with a 78-59 win in Seattle.
In the overall series, USC holds a 36-26 thanks to an 11-game streak over Cal from 1993-1998. Since the 2005-06 season, the Golden Bears have won 13 out of 17 games against the Trojans. The last two games between the schools in Berkeley have both gone to overtime with USC winning in 2012 and Cal winning in 2013.
A CALIFORNIA WIN OVER USC WOULD: * Give the Golden Bears their 4th consecutive victory over the Trojans * Move Lindsay Gottlieb to 8-8 against California-based Pac-12 schools in her tenure * Put the Bears into at least a tie for second place in the Pac-12 standings (6-1) * Be the 144th win at home since Haas Pavilion was christened 15 seasons ago. * Move Lindsay Gottlieb to 36-7 in ALL Pac-12 regular season games at California
A LOOK AT USC (13-6, 6-1 PAC-12): USC enters its Bay Area trip with a 6-1 Pac-12 record and 13-6 overall wins - already surpassing last year’s 11 wins and one shy of the seven total Pac-12 wins from last year. The Trojans are led by All-American candidate Cassie Harberts’s 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and junior Ariya Crook adds 14.9 points per game.
CALIFORNIA-USC SERIES HISTORY: USC leads the all-time series 36-26, but the Bears have won 13 out of the last 17 meetings between the two teams. Lindsay Gottlieb is 3-2 against the Trojans; this is Cynthia Cooper’s first meeting against Cal as the head coach of USC. The Bears took a 3-0 sweep over USC last season with wins in Berkeley (71-63 OT), Los Angeles (72-64) and Seattle (78-59).
GAME RECAP (California 79, Arizona 64): Reshanda Gray had her second double-double of the weekend and Brittany Boyd went 15-of-17 from the free throw line to lead No. 19 California to a 79-64 win at Arizona. Gray scored 20 points to go with 12 rebounds – two shy of her career-high – while Boyd scored 24 points along with five rebounds, seven assists and four steals in another balanced effort by the Wooden Award and Nancy Lieberman Award candidate.
GOTTLIEB VS THE PAC-12: California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb has solidified her mark as one of the sport’s brightest young coaches since taking over the California women’s basketball program prior to the 2011-12 season. Gottlieb is 31-1 against Pac-12 schools not from the state of California and is 7-8 against California-based Pac-12 schools in regular season and postseason action.
RPI: The third RPI report of the 2013-14 season was released with California No. 15 in the overall rating, an fall of three spots from the second report. The Bears have played or are scheduled to play 14 teams in the RPI top 100, and Cal is currently 5-4 against top 100 RPI teams. Additionally, the Bears are the only team in the country to have each of the top three RPI teams (1 Duke, 2 Stanford, 3 UConn) on their schedule.
BOYD’S THEFTS: Junior Brittany Boyd has always been on track to take over the California record for career steals after already holding the single-game record of 10 thefts - a feat she has achieved twice in her first two seasons. Boyd is currently just 57 steals shy of tying Mazetta Grant’s Cal record of 295, and the Berkeley native is well on her way with an average of 3.35 steals per game that ranks No. 3 in the NCAA this season.
BOYD BECOMES SECOND BEAR TO MATCH FEAT: Junior Brittany Boyd cracked the California top-5 list for steals after her four-steal effort at Arizona to make her just one of two Golden Bears to sit in the top five in both assists and steals (Mazetta Grant - No. 2 in assists at 521 and No. 1 in steals at 295 from 1979-84). Boyd currently sits fifth on the steals list at 238 and is fourth on the assists list at 413.
BEARS FINDING THEIR STROKE: California began the season with an offensive output towards the lower end of the conference and as a result on the season are averaging 69.0 points (8th in Pac-12) while shooting .393 from the field (9th), .255 from beyond the arc (12th) and .667 from the free throw line (9th). However, since the start of conference play, the Bears have been one of the league’s better-shooting teams. In Pac-12 play, Cal is averaging 72.7 points per game (4th) while shooting .432 (3rd), .328 (6th) and .662 (8th), respectively.
CHARITY WORK: In addition to overall higher numbers in Pac-12 play, the Bears have been a vastly improved free throw shooting team since the beginning of conference play. Twice this season have the Bears set a new Gottlieb-era record for free throw percentage. Cal went 13-of-17 (.765) from the line at Utah to set the record before one-upping that effort with a 23-of-29 (.793) effort at Arizona led by Brittany Boyd’s 15-of-17 line.
BOYD NAMED TO LIEBERMAN & WOODEN MIDSEASON WATCH LISTS: Junior guard Brittany Boyd is one of 29 players named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday, and is one of 21 players on teh Wooden Award Midseason Top 20*, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Friday. The Lieberman recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball, and the Wooden is awarded to the top overall player in college basketball. Boyd, who has earlier this season also been named to the Wade Trophy (WBCA) and Naismith Trophy (Atlanta Tip-Off Club) watch lists, is averaging 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game for the No. 15 Golden Bears. Her 3.3 steals per game ranks second in the NCAA.