Jan. 30, 2013
Gill Coliseum| Corvallis, Ore.
BERKELEY - No. 6/6 California hits the road for a two-game series for the first time in a month beginning with a Friday night game at Oregon State in Corvallis. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Gill Coliseum, and with no TV broadcast, the game will be streamed live on Oregon State's Pac-12 Platform at http://pac-12.com/live/osubeavers.aspx.
California (17-2, 7-1 Pac-12) enters the mid-point of the conference season tied at the top of the standings with a 7-1 record. The Bears ended January with a 71-54 victory over Utah despite missing the services of All-America candidate Gennifer Brandon who was held out due to an ankle injury.
Oregon State (9-11, 3-5 Pac-12) had a rough weekend with back-to-back overtime losses to Washington (81-77) and Washington State (76-73) their last time out. The Beavers have earned conference wins over Arizona and swept the Civil War series with Oregon.
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 AT OREGON STATE WOULD:
GAME RECAP: Missing its best post player and facing a defense coach Lindsay Gottlieb admittedly wasn't prepared for, California needed a lift. The seventh-ranked Golden Bears found it in a four-guard lineup and a full-court press defense that created all sorts of havoc for Utah. Reshanda Gray scored 19 points and sparked a big run in the second half before leaving with a left hamstring injury. Layshia Clarendon added 23 to surpass 1,500 career points as California beat Utah 71-54 on Sunday.
OREGON STATE (9-11, 3-5 PAC-12): Oregon State is coming off consecutive overtime losses to Washington and Washington State. The Beavers are led by two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Jamie Weisner's 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Only two Beavers - Ali Gibson and Alyssa Martin - have started every game for OSU, and the duo are second and third in scoring at 9.1 and 8.8 points, respectively. Deven Hunter leads a balanced team rebounding effort with 6.5 boards per game.
CALIFORNIA-OREGON STATE SERIES HISTORY: California leads the all-time series 35-28 and enjoys a current 12-game winning streak against the Beavers. The Bears won both meetings last season with a 73-56 win in Berkeley followed by a 75-68 win in Coravllis. Oregon State's last win in the series was a 63-55 final in Berkeley on Feb. 2, 2006.
THE LAST TIME VS OREGON STATE (Feb. 18, 2012): A 13-0 midgame run, fueled by a pair of threes from sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe, gave California enough of a cushion to survive a barrage of late-game three-pointers by Oregon State and earn a 75-68 victory over the Beavers. Junior Layshia Clarendon followed her 27-point performance at Oregon with 22 points against Oregon State.
DON'T OVERLOOK GEN: Junior Gennifer Brandon's numbers would hardly be called modest at 12.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. However, given Cal's depth, the forward has averaged just 28 minutes per game. Spread her numbers out over the course of a 40-minute game, and Brandon averages an outstanding 18.3 points and 16.4 rebounds. Backing up that assertion, in her first career 40 minute game Thursday vs USC, Brandon posted 23 points and 26 rebounds. She is currently No. 3 on the Pac-12 active list with 848 career boards - despite a career average of just 24.1 minutes played per game - and is No. 12 on the NCAA active list with a 9.6 career rebounding average.
MORE ON GEN: Junior Gennifer Brandon's had a monstrous weekend for the Bears against their Southern California opponents, averaging 17.5 points, 20.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals against USC and No. 14/15 UCLA. Against the Trojans, Brandon broke a19-year old Pac-12 record with 26 rebounds in a conference game - breaking the previous mark of 25 set in 1994 (UCLA's Natalie Williams vs Arizona State - 2/20/94). The game was her second career 20-20 performance, outdoing her 24-point, 24-rebound effort against Ohio State last season, and ranks as the second-best single-game performance by a player in the country this season. For her efforts, she was named the espnW National Player of the Week and the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
MAKING THEM SEE GRAY: Sophomore Reshanda Gray had the task for 18 minutes Sunday of guarding Stanford's All-American forward Chiney Ogwumike and impressed the national pundits with her performance. Gray, talented on the offensive end of the floor as well, also averages 8.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in just 20 minutes played this season and is fifth in the Pac-12 with a .529 shooting percentage. In her first start of the year vs Utah, Gray scored 19 points with 8 rebounds before missing the final five minutes of the game due to injury.
MORE THAN JUST DEFENSE: Senior Eliza Pierre is known as Cal's lockdown defender, but the guard has also stepped up in every other area. In Cal's last two games, Pierre - known to set-up a play rather than shoot - has put up 11 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals, highlighted by a season-best eight-rebound effort against Utah. Pierre is also 3-for-6 from beyond the arc during the stretch.
CLARENDON HITS 1,500: Senior Layshia Clarendon surpassed Kesha Martin for 10th on the Cal all-time points list with her 12 against GWU. Clarendon currently sits at 1,515 career points - just 15 shy of ninth in the record books - and became the 10th Bear to hit the 1,500 point mark. She is on pace to score 1,665 at the end of the regular season - a mark that would be good for sixth all-time.
CALDWELL JUMPS UP THE BOOKS: Senior Talia Caldwell continues to climb California's all-time rebound list with each passing game for the Bears. Caldwell currently sits 6th with 866 career rebounds all-time at Cal after passing Cynthia Cooke (855) with eight rebounds against Colorado last Friday night. She is now 8 shy of 5th, 9 shy of 4th and 10 rebounds shy of tying Devanei Hampton for 3rd (876). Caldwell is also just 29 points shy of becoming member No. 23 of the 1,000-point club at Cal. She is on pace to become just the third Bear to join the 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound club beside Ashley Walker and Colleen Galloway.
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 four in the country with a +11.9 rebounding margin. Caldwell is second on the Pac-12 active list 866 rebounds, and Brandon is not far behind at No. 3 on the active list with 848 boards. No other duo in the league combines for over 1,400 rebounds, let alone the 1,714 by these two.
PICK YOUR WEAPON: One thing Coach Gottlieb is preaching this season is the balanced options that her team possesses on the offensive end of the court, and the numbers back up that assertion. Three Bears average double figures scoring, and the third through sixth leading scorers all average between 6.8 and 8.9 points. Mikayla Lyles's 14-point display at Stanford continued the mantra that any Bear can pace the team on any given day.
BRANDON'S DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Junior Gennifer Brandon's has posted 10 double-doubles in 18 games played this season. Her double-double (17p-10r) against Lehigh in the opener was the 16th of her career, and she followed that effort with double-doubles against Saint Mary's (14p-14r), Cal Poly (18p-11r), Georgetown (13p-13r), Northwestern (11p-10r), Kansas (17p-10r), Stanford (14p-12r), USC (23p-26r), UCLA (12p-14r) and Colorado (13p-11r). She has double-doubles in her last four games played. The Sylmar native is one of three Pac-12 players and one of just 17 in the country averaging at least 11 points and 11 rebounds per game.
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 Cal'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 twice (55-50; 59-56), No. 5 Stanford (67-55) and No. 14 UCLA (70-65) in addition to marquee non-conference wins against Georgetown (72-56) and Saint Mary's (89-41). Cal's lone losses this year are at No. 4 Duke and verse No. 5 Stanford.
TEST PASSED: The Bears opened Pac-12 play with one of the toughest eight-game conference stretches in the country and came out with a 7-1 record. Cal roughed out a win at Utah in the Pac-12 opener and hung on to defeat No. 20/25 Colorado before falling 62-53 to No. 5 Stanford - all in a span of five days. The Bears then defeated Stanford (67-55), USC (71-63 OT), No. 14 UCLA (70-65) and No. 20 Colorado (59-56) before closing with Utah (71-54).
RPI: California clocks in at No. 4 in the fourth RPI report of the season, keeping its spot from the previous report. The Bears have played one of the country's toughest schedules and played a balanced mix of home and away games.
IN THE RANKINGS: California moved up one spot to No. 6 in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls, a rise after being in the 7-spot for four straight weeks. The Bears are nearing the highest rankings since the 2008-09 team climbed as high as No. 3 in the country, a program-best mark. That team, led by Alexis Gray-Lawson, went on to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a 27-8 final record. Four teams on this year's schedule - Stanford (4), Duke (5), UCLA (18) and Colorado (22) - are ranked this week in addition to Kansas receiving votes in the AP poll.
BRACKETOLOGY: ESPN.com's Charlie Creme projects California as a No. 2 seed in his latest Bracketology report of the 2012-13 season. Creme anticipates four Pac-12 school making the field of 64.