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Cal and Fordham to tip-off Saturday at 1 p.m. (PT) on ESPN2 at the Ferrell Center
Courtesy: Cal Athletics
California Meets Fordham in NCAA First Round in Waco
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/20/2014

GAME #31
[7] California (21-9) vs [10] Fordham (25-7)
Ferrell Center • Waco, Texas
Saturday, March 22 • 1 p.m. PT
Series Record: First Meeting
TV: ESPN2 (Pam Ward pxp, Carolyn Peck analyst)

BERKELEY – California earned its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid under third-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb and travels to Waco, Texas., where the seventh-seeded Golden Bears will face 10th-seed Fordham (25-7) in the NCAA First Round on Saturday, March 22. Baylor and Western Kentucky will face each other in the other first round matchup at the Ferrell Center with the winners of the two games meeting on Monday, March 24.

The Pac-12 runner-up earns its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance after putting together a 21-9 record to give Gottlieb 78 wins in her first three seasons in Berkeley - matching Joanne Boyle’s 2007-10 years as the most wins over a three-year stretch in program history.

Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between the Bears and Rams - a program that won the Atlantic 10 championship with a 63-51 win over Dayton. The Rams, making their second NCAA Tournament appearance (1994), are just six seasons removed from an 0-29 winless season in 2007-08.

A CALIFORNIA WIN IN FRIDAY’S FIRST ROUND WOULD:
* Mark the third straight year that Cal advances to the NCAA Second Round
* Mark win No. 79 in Gottlieb’s nearly three-year tenure - surpassing the previous program-best 78 wins over a three-year stretch (by Joanne Boyle from 2007-10)
* Mark Lindsay Gottlieb 79th win in 101 games as the head coach at California (.782)

SEASON RECAP: Under third year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, California went through its second consecutive season as an AP and USA Today Coaches’ Poll Top 25 team from the preseason to the final poll of the regular season. The Bears battled through a tough schedule despite not having its full, 12-player roster available until the final eight games of the regular season and emerged with a 21-9 overall record and a program-best third consecutive top two finish in the Pac-12 standings. Despite missing 2012-13 All-American Gennifer Brandon for a third of the season and seeing starters Brittany Boyd and Justine Hartman miss games do to injury, the Bears navigated their way to a 13-5 mark in the five-bid Pac-12 and lost only two games this season to teams not ranked or receiving votes in the final AP regular season - both of those instances coming with an All-American candidate not playing (Brandon at George Washington and Boyd against Washington).

BOYD NAMED LIEBERMAN AWARD FINALIST: Junior guard Brittany Boyd has been named as one of five finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award which recognizes the top point guard in women’s Division I. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. Boyd is joined on the list by Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Jerica Coley (FIU), Moriah Jefferson (UConn) and Heather Butler (UT-Martin).

FOUR BEARS EARN ALL-PAC-12 HONORS: Juniors Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray were each named to the All-Pac-12 team with senior Afure Jemerigbe and freshman Courtney Range earning honorable mention status. Boyd was also named to the All-Defensive team with Jemerigbe also earning honorable mention status for the award. Range rounded out the honors as an honorable mention to the All-Freshman team. California’s four combined selections to the All-Pac-12 First Team and Honorable Mention list are the most in the conference.

TRIPLE-DOUBLE BOYD: Brittany Boyd earned her elusive triple-double against Washington State in Berkeley after putting up a stat line of 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists - becoming the second player to record a triple-double in program history (Eliza Sokolowska put up 13 points, 15 assists and 10 steals against Arizona State on Feb. 9, 1995). Boyd becomes the 13th player in Pac-12 history to achieve the feat and is the 17th player in the NCAA this season to register a triple-double. The feat comes after twice falling one stat shy of a triple-double this season - the first against USC (Jan. 26) with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists and the second at Washington (Feb. 7) with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists.

GRAY GOES FOR 40: Junior forward Reshanda Gray had the game of her career against Washington State when she put up a career-high 43 points on a 17-of-20 effort from the field. Gray, who also pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds in the game, scored 32 points in the first half and came just four points shy of the California single-game record of 47 set by Alexis Gray-Lawson against Oregon State (Jan. 23, 2010). Her 43 points are the most by a player in the Pac-12 this season and are the second-most scored by a post player in the NCAA this season (Alexandra Williams of St. Francis PA scored 47 against Wagner and Sacred Heart).

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. Jemerigbe has set a new career-high four times this season - 1) against USC when she matched her then-career-high with 17 points, 2) at Stanford and Washington State with 18 each, 3) in Cal’s victory over No. 15 Arizona State when she led all scorers with 23 points and 4) against Washington in the finale when she scored 24 points on the back of a career-best 5-of-11 effort from the 3pt line.

THE COUNTRY’S ELITE PG: Junior Brittany Boyd has steadily established herself as one of the most elite point guards in the country and is one of the rare floor generals that puts up significant numbers in all three major offensive categories - points, rebounds and assists. Boyd - who averages 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists - is one of just three players in the country averaging at least 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists alongside Erin Rooney of Fordham (17.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 5.2 apg) and Dequesha McClanahan of Winthrop (17.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 6.6 apg).

CHALLENGING SCHEDULE: California has played four regular season games against RPI Top 4 teams - the most by any team in the country this season. The Bears played No. 2 Connecticut in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden, back-to-back games against No. 3 Stanford and No. 4 Duke in the season-opening weekend at Haas Pavilion.

LYLES NAMED ROBIN ROBERTS AWARD WINNER: Cal senior Mikayla Lyles has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Robin Roberts/WBCA Broadcasting Scholarship, a $4,500 scholarship that is presented annually to one female collegiate basketball player who intends to pursue graduate work and a career in sports communications or journalism. Off the court, Lyles has served as an ESPNW blogger, worked as a reporter for Comcast Sports Net, taught a class at Cal entitled “Story of the Student-Athlete”, collaborated on the multimedia website ThisIsCalBasketball.com and participated in awareness and inclusion projects such as “Br{ache The Silence” and her own “We A.R.E. Pride” event. Lyles will formally be recognized during the WBCA Awards Show, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. CT on Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel’s Broadway Ballroom.

BEARS RISE PAC-12 ALL-TIME RECORD BOOKS: California’s Gennifer Brandon and Brittany Boyd are steadily rising up the Pac-12 all-time record books. With 1198 career rebounds, Brandon is just 16 shy of matching Lisa Leslie (USC) for 5th all-time and 28 shy of Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford) for fourth all-time. Boyd is steadily approaching the top 10 lists for career steals. With 264 career thefts, Boyd is 10 shy of matching Nicole Anderson (UCLA, 1990-93) for 10th all-time and 24 shy of Michelle Greco (UCLA, 1999-03) for fifth all-time.

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 8-of-19 (.421) in Cal’s last seven games from beyond the arc - the best percentage of any Bear over that span.


Cal Bears Women's Basketball


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