Game #28 No. 18/18 California (20-7, 12-4) vs Washington State (15-13, 9-7) Haas Pavilion • Berkeley Thursday, Feb.27 • 6 p.m. PT Series Record: California leads, 38-21 Last: Cal 87, WSU 70 (Feb. 9, 2014 in Pullman) TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ann Schatz pxp, Ros Gold-Onwude analyst)
BERKELEY – No. 18 California enters the final weekend of the regular season on a six-game winning streak and the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament in sight with Washington State and Washington visiting Haas Pavilion for a Thursday-Saturday set. A victory against the Cougars Thursday will guarantee no worse than third in the conference, and a weekend sweep will mean that the Bears finish in the top two in the Pac-12 for the third consecutive season.
Tip-off between the Bears (20-7, 12-4 Pac-12) and Cougars (15-13, 9-7 Pac-12) is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT Thursday and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks with Ann Schatz (play-by-play) and Ros Gold-Onwude (analyst) on the call.
California and Washington State met earlier this season in Pullman with the Bears using a 19-0 second half run to pull away for an 87-70 win. Lindsay Gottlieb is 4-0 against the Cougars.
A CALIFORNIA WIN OVER WSU WOULD: * Keep California second in the Pac-12 standings at 13-4 * Ensure a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament * Mark win No. 78 in Gottlieb’s nearly three-year tenure - matching the program-best 78 wins over a three-year stretch (by Joanne Boyle from 2007-10) * Give California a season-best seven-game winning streak * Improve Lindsay Gottlieb to 5-0 against Washington State as the head coach of California. * Mark Lindsay Gottlieb 78th win in 99 games as the head coach at California (.788)
A LOOK AT WSU (15-13, 9-7 Pac-12): Washington State began the season 5-0 in Pac-12 play before dropping six of seven games in the middle of the year. Since the loss to California, the Cougars have won three of four and sit tied for fifth in the Pac-12. Tia Presley (18.9) and Lia Galdeira (18.0) lead the Cougars in scoring, and the team has rebounded by committee with Shalie Dheenshaw leading the team with 6.7rebounds to go with her 7.0 points per game.
California-WSU Series History: California leads the all-time series 39-21 and have won 17 of the last 21 matchups between the two teams. Lindsay Gottlieb is 4-0 against the Cougars with an average margin of victory of 12.5 points.
LAST MEETING (California 87, Washington State 70): No. 23/22 Cal used a 19-0 second half run to break away from Washington State with an 87-70 victory. For the second consecutive game, Reshanda Gray and Gennifer Brandon both hit double-doubles with the highlight being Gray’s layup in the first half that made her the 26th member of the California 1,000-point club.
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 35-1 against Pac-12 schools not from the state of California and is 10-11 against California-based Pac-12 schools in regular season and postseason action.
FROM RANGE: Freshman Courtney Range had a breakout weekend in LA, hitting 5-of-9 from beyond the arc in games at UCLA and USC. Heading into the weekend, Range had made just 1 of her first 21 career three-point attempts. The stroke seems to be coming on for the freshman. After beginning the season missing her first 18 attempts, Range is 6-of-11 in Cal’s last four games from beyond the arc.
RPI: The eighth RPI report of the 2013-14 season was released with California holding steady at No. 18 in the overall rating. The Bears have played or are scheduled to play 20 teams in the RPI top 100, and Cal is currently 11-7 against top 100 RPI teams. Additionally, the Bears are the only team in the country to have three of the top four RPI teams (2 Stanford, 3 Duke, 4 UConn) on their schedule.
JEMERIGBE’S JUMPER: Senior Afure Jemerigbe has been an improved scorer for the Golden Bears this season and has been one of the most clutch performers for Cal since the start of Pac-12 play. Against Colorado, Jemerigbe hit the game-winning field goal with six seconds remaining, and the Stockton native scored 16 points at Arizona State with Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray in foul trouble. Against USC, Jemerigbe matched her then-career-high with 17 points before upping it with 18 against Stanford and matching the 18 at Washington State. In Cal’s victory over No. 15 Arizona State, Jemerigbe hit a new career-high and led all scorers with 23 points - 15 coming in the first half. At USC last Sunday, Jemerigbe then added a career-high seven assists to her strong finish to the season.