Jan. 14, 2012
Sunday, Jan. 15: California at Utah, 1:30 p.m. PT
SALT LAKE CITY - The California Golden Bears (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) bring a three-game win streak to the Front Range, taking on the Utah Utes (8-7, 1-2 Pac-12) at 2:30 p.m. MT (1:30 PT) in Salt Lake City. The game will be carried on Fox Sports Net/CSN California with a replay Sunday night on CSN Bay Area. Jim Watson will be calling the action with Mary Murphy providing commentary.
The Bears are currently the top team in the nation in rebounding margin. After outrebounding the Oregon schools by 47 in last week's games, the Bears now lead all NCAA Division I schools with a 17.4 more rebounds per game than their opponents. The Bears have outrebounded every single team they have played this season.
Cal comes into the game looking to extend their current win streak to four games. The Bears longest streak of the season was a five-game stretch that began with the victory over Virginia and lasted up until they fell by two to Ohio State.
The Bears managed to extend the win streak with their 68-55 comeback bid at Colorado. The Bears closed out that game on a 17-0 run, holding the Buffaloes scoreless for the final 7:10 of the game.
Junior guard Layshia Clarendon scored a season-high 18 points, 12 of those coming in the second half. Clarendon also had eight rebounds, playing almost the entire game, the only player on either squad to play close to 40 minutes.
Redshirt sophomore forward Gennifer Brandon had her second consecutive 17-point performance. Brandon dominated the game early, scoring 10 points in her 14 minutes in the first half.
Cal's victory over Colorado on Thursday was the first time in the history of the program that the Bears had defeated the Buffs. The last meeting between the two teams was Colorado's 81-65 victory over Cal in the second round of the 2011 WNIT.
The Bears will take on Utah on Sunday. The last time the two teams met was also in a second round WNIT game. The Utes fell, 64-54, in Berkeley, the second of six games that the Bears won en route to the 2010 WNIT Championship.
The Utes lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense, with opponents scoring an average of just 52.1 points per game. Cal is scoring an average of 71.4 points per game and has only been limited to scoring less than 55 points once this season (at USC).
Cal leads the all-time series, 5-4, having won five of the last six match-ups.
Down But Not Out The Bears trailed by as many as 12 points to Colorado in the second half of Thursday's game. This was not the first time this season the Bears came back to erase, or nearly erase, double digit deficits. Cal set the precedent in the season-opener at Rutgers. Trailing by 12, 65-53 with 4:40 left in the game, the Bears pulled to within two, 72-70, with 38 seconds remaining. The Bears eventually fell 73-70. Against Ohio State, Cal was down by 14, 72-58, with 5:21 left in the game. The Bears pulled to within two, 77-75, with 42 seconds remaining. The Bears took three shot attempts in the final two seconds to try to tie, but couldn't get the ball into the hoop. Cal managed to erase a 16-point deficit in the first half of the USC game. Cal trailed 26-10 with 9:30 left in the first half. The Bears took the lead, 33-32, with 18:14 left in the game. USC went on a run of their own to finish with a 74-54 victory in that game.
Rebounding After outrebounding the Oregon Ducks by 37, the Bears became the top team in the nation in rebound margin, averaging 18.3 more rebounds per game than their opponents.
The Bears have outrebounded their opponents by double digits in 12 games this season and have five games with a 20-or-more rebound differential including besting CSU Bakersfield by 36 (60-24) and the 63-26 (37) differential against Oregon.
The Bears have four games this season where they have pulled in 60 or more rebounds as a team, including 63 against Oregon, which was one shy of the Haas Pavilion record of 64 team rebounds in a game. The Bears had one game last season with more than 60 rebounds, the 64-board performance against Yale, which set the Haas Pavilion record, and tied the program record, for most rebounds in a game.
Low Down on Down Low The Bears have scored at least 40 points in the paint in five of their last eight games. The Bears scored all 24 points in the first half against UCLA in the paint and only hit three jumpers outside the paint in the entire game. This season, Cal has outscored opponents 578-392 in the paint, an average of 10.9 more points per game. In Pac-12 games this season, the Bears are outscoring opponents 184-116 (13.6 ppg).
O-My Cal averages a conference-best 20.18 offensive rebounds per game. The Bears had a season-high 30 offensive rebounds against UCLA. Gennifer Brandon has had three games this season where she nearly had a double double on points and offensive rebounds alone with 9 O-boards against Santa Clara (13 points), Ohio State (24 points), and Oregon (17 points).
Cal has two players among the top-5 in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds: Brandon averages 3.94 per game; Talia Caldwell averages 3.82 per game.
Rebounding Battle The Bears lead the Conference in rebounding battles. Cal has 343 offensive rebounds to opponents 364 defensive rebounds, with Cal winning that head-to-head match-up 48.5 percent of the time. On the other end, Cal has 477 defensive rebounds to 160 opponent o-boards, winning that battle 74.9 percent of the time.
In Cal's first four Pac-12 games leading up to the Colorado game, the team pulled in 101 offensive rebounds, with opponents getting 105 defensive rebounds. On the opposite end, Cal won the battle with 110 defensive rebounds to just 35 opponent O-boards. In the Oregon game, the Bears limited the Ducks to four offensive rebounds and just one second-chance point. The Bears had 30 offensive rebounds in the Pac-12 opener against UCLA and averaged 25.25 O-boards per game so and are averaging 20.0 second chance points per game in that same span.
Bench Scoring The Cal bench has scored 510 points this season, which is already more than last year's season-long total (419 points). The non-starters are contributing a average of 31.1 ppg this season with Cal's opponent's non-starters averaging 12.2 points per game. Against Dartmouth, Cal's non-starters scored 39 points in a game in which the Big Green scored a total of 39 points.
The Bears ten players averaging more than ten minutes per game and only one averaging less.
Leading Scorer For the first time in her Cal career, junior guard Layshia Clarendon leads the Bears in scoring average. Clarendon overtook the team lead after the UCLA game, passing freshman forward Reshanda Gray, who led the team in scoring most of the season. Gray retook the team lead after the Oregon series, but Clarendon pushed back to the top after the Colorado game in which she scored 18 points.
Clarendon was Cal's second leading scorer last season, but was quickly closing in on the team lead when the season came to an abrupt end during the WNIT Tournament. Clarendon had raised her season average to 13.2 ppg by the end of the season with DeNesha Stallworth's average falling to 13.3.
Brandon had a double double against Oregon, her fifth of the season, with 17 points and 19 rebounds. The 19 rebounds was the fourth highest total in a single game played at Haas Pavilion. Brandon owns two of the other single-game totals higher up on that list, including the Haas Pavilion record, 24, set this season against Ohio State, and the former record, 21, which she set as a freshman in the opening-round WNIT game against UC Davis (20).
Only one Cal player in the last 15 years has ended the season averaging nine or more rebounds per game, all-time rebounding leader Ashley Walker who accomplished the feat with 9.3 rpg in 2007-08. The last time that a player averaged more than 9.5 rebounds per game for an entire season was 1993-94 when Ingrid Dixon averaged a program-record 12.0 per game.
Brandon averages 22.9 minutes per game, and pulls in a rebound once every 2.06 minutes, on average. Against Cal State Bakersfield, she had 14 rebounds in 15 minutes on the court.
She only has one game this season in which she has pulled in fewer than seven rebounds (2, in 16 minutes at Hawai'i).
Brandon leads the Bears with an average of 13.8 points per game in Pac-12 contests, ranking her ninth in scoring in conference games. She has scored 17 points in each of her last two Pac-12 contests.
She has raised her scoring average 3.5 ppg since the beginning of December. She came into the month of December with a 6.3 ppg average. She now averages 9.8 ppg.
1,000 Point Club The Bears are looking to add a 22nd member to the 1,000 Point Club. Since Colleen Galloway (1978-81, 2,320 career points) became the first player in program history to reach the mark, 20 other players have scored at least 1,000 points in their Cal careers. Natasha Vital was the last to do it, finishing her career in 2010 with 1,029 points.
Junior guard Layshia Clarendon is closing in on the honor. She comes into the game with 965 career points. She is averaging 10.8 ppg this season.
Top-10 in Steals Eliza Pierre is the first player the current Bear roster to crack a Cal career top-10 list. Pierre is currently in tenth place in career steals with 179. She needs 11 steals to move into a tie for ninth place with her former teammate Alexis Gray-Lawson (190, 2006-10).
Pierre is third on the team in steals this season with 18. Last season, Pierre had a Pac-10 leading 90 steals, the fourth-highest single-season total in Cal history.
Rookie Report Pt. I Freshman forward Reshanda Gray began her career with five consecutive games scoring in double digits. She scored 15 points in 17 minutes against Oregon State. She had previously scored 15 in 16 minutes against Sac State, and 16 in 18 minutes at Hawai'i. Her most impressive performance was 23 points in 17 minutes against UNLV.
Gray's 10.3 points per game average is the highest among the freshman post players in the conference and fourth among all Pac-12 freshmen.
Rookie Report Pt. 2 Freshman point guard Brittany Boyd scored five baskets with six assists against Oregon State, having a hand in 11 baskets while playing just 15 minutes in the game. She has scored in every game this season and has had at least one assist in every contest.
She has the best assist-to-turnover ratio of any freshman in the conference, ranking eighth overall with a 1.3 mark.
She also leads the conference rookies and is fourth overall with 4.2 assists per game. Shanita Arnold, who leads the conference with 5.5 per game, also leads the conference in minutes per game (36.07) while Boyd only plays 21.7 per game.
Utah Connection Assistant coach Daron Park was an assistant coach with the Utes from 2004 through 2007 as the Utes won two Mountain West Conference championships and earned two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2006. During his three years at Utah, the Utes won 72 games.