Jan. 19, 2013
Haas Pavilion| Berkeley, Calif.
BERKELEY - Four teams sit tied atop the Pac-12 standings, and No. 7/7 California hosts No. 14/15 UCLA Sunday afternoon with both teams looking to claim a stake at first place in the conference in a nationally-televised game scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Rich Cellini (play-by-play) and Ros Gold-Onwude (analyst) will handle the call in Cal's second appearance on the ESPN Family of Networks in the past seven days.
California (14-2, 4-1 Pac-12) earned its spot in the four-way state of California tie atop the standings with a thrilling 71-63 overtime win over USC Thursday night to continue the Bears' strong play in what should be its toughest stretch of the season. Sunday's game against No. 14/15 UCLA marks Cal's fourth against a top 20 opponent in the past two weeks and sixth ranked opponent this season.
UCLA (13-3, 4-1 Pac-12) dropped a 75-49 decision at No. 6/6 Stanford Friday night for the Bruins' first road loss of the season. The Bruins have an average margin of victory of 22 points in the games following their other two losses this season.
Fans can listen to Dave Lewis's live call of the game on CalBears.com's premium All-Access player for a monthly fee.
A CALIFORNIA WIN VS UCLA WOULD:
GAME RECAP: Gennifer Brandon matched a school record with 26 rebounds and added 23 points for her second career 20-20 game as California held on to defeat USC in a 71-63 overtime thriller. The Golden Bears shot just 31.4 percent from the floor and were outplayed for most of the game before rallying from six points down in the final 1:42 of regulation and outscoring the Trojans 9-1 in the extra period. Layshia Clarendon scored six of her 27 points in overtime for Cal, which looked sluggish early while coming off an emotional win over No. 6 Stanford four days earlier. Brittany Boyd added 12.
UCLA (13-3, 4-1 PAC-12): UCLA had its six-game winning streak snapped Friday night at Stanford but still sits in a tie at the top of the Pac-12 standings with a 4-1 record thanks to a squad that has five players at the double-digit scoring threshold. Markel Walker leads all Bruins with 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds, Alyssia Brewer sports 11.0 points and 8.2 rebounds and Atonye Nyingifa contributes 10.9 and 7.4. In addition, Thea Lemberger (10.5) and Nirra Fields (9.2) help pace UCLA.
CALIFORNIA-UCLA SERIES HISTORY: UCLA leads the all-time series 46-15, but the Bruins and Bears split the series in California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb's first season. The Bears won the last meeting between the two teams, 67-58, and Gottlieb will look to earn a win and make UCLA the first California-based Pac-12 school to hold a losing record against Cal in her tenure.
THE LAST TIME VS UCLA (Feb. 9, 2012): California took a two-game lead in the race for second place in the Pac-12, holding off a late Bruin rally to earn a 67-58 victory over UCLA. Freshman Reshanda Gray had her second double-double in the last three games with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
DON'T OVERLOOK GEN: Junior Gennifer Brandon's numbers would hardly be called modest at 12.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. However, given Cal's depth, the forward has averaged just 27 minutes per game. Spread her numbers out over the course of a 40-minute game, and Brandon averages an outstanding 18.9 points and 16.8 rebounds. Backing up that assertion, in her first career 40 minute game Thursday vs USC, Brandon posted 23 points and 26 rebounds.
BECOMING ELITE: The Bears speak this season of becoming one of the "elite" teams in NCAA women's basketball after seeing flashes in 2011-12, and Sunday's victory at Stanford may have been what was needed to join that discussion. After close losses last year to No. 2 Stanford, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 16 Rutgers, No. 24 Texas and No. 4 Notre Dame, the Bears have this season knocked off No 19 Kansas(88-79), No. 20 Colorado (55-50) and No. 5 Stanford (67-55) in addition to marquee non-conference wins against Georgetown (72-56) and at Northwestern (71-65). Cal's lone losses this year are at No. 4 Duke and vs Stanford.
CAL ON THE BOARDS: Senior Talia Caldwell and junior Gennifer Brandon combine to make the Cal post players possibly the most dominant on the boards in the NCAA as Cal ranks third in the country with a +12.4 rebounding margin. Caldwell is second on the Pac-12 active list 843 rebounds, and Brandon is not far behind at No. 3 on the active list with 823 boards. No other duo in the league combines for over 1,400 rebounds, let alone the 1,666 by these two.
PROTECTING THE BALL: The Bears have committed a season-low six turnovers in each of their past two games (at No. 5 Stanford, vs USC). Point guard Brittany Boyd has committed only one turnover in her 67 minutes of action in those two games. Conversely, Cal has forced the Cardinal and Trojans into 31 turnovers.
NATION'S TOUGHEST STRETCH?: The Bears open Pac-12 play with possibly the toughest eight-game conference stretch in the country. California roughed out a win at Utah in the Pac-12 opener and hung on to defeat No. 20/25 Colorado Sunday before falling 62-53 to No. 5 Stanford Tuesday - all in a span of five days. The Bears then defeated Stanford (67-55) and USC (71-63 OT) before hosting No. 14 UCLA, No. 21 Colorado and Utah to close January.
BOYD'S ON BOARD: Sophomore Brittany Boyd has been active in Cal's last three games, averaging 14.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game against top-25 teams Colorado and Stanford (twice) in addition to USC. In back-to-back games, Boyd hit new season highs in rebounds, pulling down 8 vs the Buffs before getting 9 vs the Cardinal.
IN THE NCAA (as of Jan. 18): Cal stands at No. 3 in the NCAA in scoring offense (72.4 ppg), No. 28 in field goal percentage (.440), No. 3 in rebounding margin (+12.6) and No. 21 in scoring margin (+16.6) entering Thursday's game.